COLUMBIA — The Missouri men's and women's swimming and diving teams will take on No. 17 Texas A&M on Friday, the second ranked opponent the Tigers will have faced this season.
The Tigers previously lost in a meet against No. 5 Florida on Oct. 17.
The Missouri men are coming off of wins against Southern Illinois and Kentucky on Thursday and Friday, and the women finished the meet by beating Southern Illinois but falling to Kentucky. Coach Greg Rhodenbaugh knows this meet will be challenging but anticipates that his teams will make it a battle.
"This will be a good test for our men," Rhodenbaugh said. "Our women, we've got a bunch of swimmers that can compete with their best swimmers, they just have a ton of them. We're getting there, but we're not quite on their level yet."
The Tigers found success against SIU and Kentucky, especially in individual performances. Freshman Michael Chadwick won two individual events for the men, the 200 and 100-yard freestyle events. The 200 was the first win of his collegiate career.
"The 200 free is something that has really come along for me," Chadwick said. "Training here, we really emphasize freestyle especially, and I was really surprised with it. It's kind of cool being a freshman and really swimming strong."
Junior Danielle Barbiea also won two event titles for the women, including swimming a season best time in the 50-yard freestyle event.
"We need to learn how to step it up at big meets and how to race and compete against the level that we're going up against," Barbiea said. "I think we've learned, and we're going to apply that to Texas A&M."
On Tuesday, junior swimmer Sam Tierney earned Southeastern Conference Male Swimmer of the Week honors, and senior diver David Bonuchi was named SEC Male Diver of the Week after their performances against SIU and Kentucky.
Rhodenbaugh sees these victories and honors as confidence boosters that will help his swimmers going into the Texas A&M meet.
"They've got a few Olympians on their team," Rhodenbaugh said of the Aggies. "We don't have any Olympians. And yet, I think Dani (Barbiea) will compete very well against their girl, even though their girl has been faster than Dani."
Rhodenbaugh is also excited to see the match-up between Texas A&M senior Breeja Larson and freshman Katharine Ross. Larson, this week's National Collegiate Swimmer of the Week and 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100-meter medley relay, is scheduled to compete against Ross in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke races.
"I'm not thinking Katharine's going to beat her, but Katharine won't be as far behind as most people are," Rhodenbaugh said. "She's going to be up there with Breeja for most of the 100."
Although the Aggies have a lot of talent, Chadwick says his teammates are looking to compete on Friday.
"We're just continuing to train hard," Chadwick said. "I don't necessarily go into a meet expecting to win but if the win comes then I dedicate it to the hard work and the coaching. I'll just give it my best and see how it happens."
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