Swimming: Tigers end year-long dual meet drought

Matt North’s win in the 200 IM helps the Tigers’ men’s team defeat SIU.
Sunday, November 7, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:59 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Streaks have been ending in bunches of late.

The New England Patriots’ winning streak is finished. The World Series drought for the Boston Red Sox is done, too.

Add another one to the list.

Saturday at the MU Natatorium, the Missouri men’s swimming and diving team won its first dual meet in more than a year, defeating Southern Illinois 150-93.

“It’s been a long time,” coach Brian Hoffer said. “They deserve it.”

The women’s team continued to swim strong after its win against Kansas a week ago, beating the Salukis 171-72.

Besides winning its first dual meet since Oct. 20, 2003, the men’s team set two records.

Junior diver Evan Watters totaled 385.87 points in the 3-meter event to top Jamie Sweeney’s school and pool record of 368.9 set last year.

“He’s got a young team behind him, and today he showed them how to do it,” Hoffer said.

A couple of hours earlier, the men’s 400-yard medley relay team swam a pool-record 3:23.85 to best the 6-year-old mark of 3:24.77.

The men also had a team finish third in the relay as the Tigers took a 13-4 lead after the first event.

The Salukis won the next two events to keep it close, but the Tigers took the top two spots in the 50-yard freestyle to take a 41-33 lead.

Hoffer said that the next event, the 200-yard individual medley, marked the turning point.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen in the individual medley,” Hoffer said.

What happened was what helped the Tigers take control of the meet.

Missouri took two of the top three spots with senior Matt North winning in 1:52.83 to increase the lead to 15 going into the first break.

“We didn’t expect to be leading at the first break,” Hoffer said. “The guys got a little confident.”

The Tigers then dominated in the 1-meter dive, taking four of the top five spots.

“If they (Southern Illinois) would’ve won that (the 200 IM), we would’ve been more even,” Hoffer said. “They’re very good in the backstroke and the fly. Not that we’re not good there. They just have more experience.”

Missouri lost the butterfly and the backstroke, but a sizeable lead going into those events kept Southern Illinois from getting back into the meet.

The women followed a similar path as the men. They took an early lead after the first relay before the Salukis controlled the 1000-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle.

The meet broke open, though, starting with the 50-yard freestyle.

The Tigers outscored Southern Illinois 96-18 in the next six events to secure the win.

Both the men’s and women’s teams were dominant in the diving events.

The men took 34 of the 38 points in the diving events while the women took 36.

The only area where the Salukis outdid the Tigers was the long-distance events.

“We’re not in shape yet,” Hoffer said. “We’ve only had a couple of meets so we’re not race sharp yet, but we’re definitely getting better.”

The men and women will have plenty of time to increase their fitness in the next two months.

The Tigers don’t compete again until Jan. 14 when they will travel to Kirksville to swim against Truman State and South Dakota.

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