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Missouri swimming and diving team wins first event of season

Saturday, October 8, 2011 | 8:53 p.m. CDT; updated 12:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, October 13, 2011
Front to back, junior Ryan Sellers, senior John Higgins, and senior Adam Abernathy prepare for the 150-yard backstroke at the Show-Me Showdown Invitational at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

An earlier version provided incorrect results for the Missouri men's swimming and diving team. The men's team finished second in the invitational.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri women's swimming and diving team finished first at the Show-Me Showdown Invitational on Saturday, while the men's team placed second.*

The event was the first of the year for Missouri's swimming and diving team. The teams went on to defeat several Missouri schools, including William Jewell College, Lindenwood University, Drury University, Missouri S&T and Washington University. Missouri State University placed first in the men's division.

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Even though the Tigers placed first and second, head coach Greg Rhodenbaugh wasn't satisfied with their performance.

"We looked pretty sluggish today," said Rhodenbaugh. "I think swimming five times last night and then getting up this morning and trying to come back and swim again made us pretty tired as a whole."

The training regimen for the Missouri swim team started this week as it prepares for its major events in December, including the Mizzou Invite and the World Cup trials.

But transfer swimmer Shara Stafford, who finished first in the 150- and 75-yard freestyle, hopes that her experience at the University of Florida will help the team's fatigue problems going forward.

"I just transferred in here from Florida, which is known for swimming a lot of yardage. So coming in here I have the experience of racing when you're dead tired. I hope that's something that I can bring to the team and show everybody that even though we're all tired, we still have to push through it."

One positive the Tiger's swimming and diving team took away from the event was the exceptional swimming by the freshman class. The freshman class was led by Lithuanian swimmer Igor Kozlovskij, who finished first in the 150-yard freestyle in his first Missouri swimming meet.

"It was awesome," Kozlovskij said. "Not only was it my first college meet, but it was also my first meet swimming yards. So it was different and fast, but I'm satisfied with my results."

Junior swimmer Dominique Bouchard, who finished first in three of her individual races, has been expecting this kind of performance out of the freshmen.

"I've been impressed with the freshman class since they got here," said Bouchard. "They are ready to work, and they are ready to make this team better, and that showed today. Especially on the men's side, the freshman guys really stepped up by winning some of their events."

Although this was the first meet of the season for Missouri, Rhodenbaugh is using these beginning meets to work toward harder competition in December.

"This is the first step to go in and see what we need to work on," he said. "And then with our three meets at the end of the month, we'll try to get sharper in each one. After that, we'll get some rest, and I think we'll be pretty good going into December."

The Missouri swimming and diving team will start three weeks of travel on Oct. 28 at the Southwest Plunge in Dallas.


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