Men's Swimmers Gear Up for Minnesota, Wisconsin
Gophers present toughest challenge of season.
Jan. 28, 1998
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue's men's and swimming and diving team travels to Madison, Wis. this weekend to face perennial power Minnesota and Wisconsin in a double-dual meet.
Ranked 22nd in the latest College Swim Coaches Association poll (Jan. 15), the Boilermakers are coming off wins last weekend against Northwestern 173.5-123.5 and Michigan State 195-104. They own a 10-0 record in dual meets on the season, including wins over ranked opponents Harvard, Nebraska and Miami (Fla.). But 13th-ranked Minnesota presents a difficult challenge. "We've battled top 20 teams almost every week and we feel Minnesota is the best team we will face all season," head coach Dan Ross said. Minnesota has several swimmers atop the Big Ten charts in every event. "They are the yardstick that we measure ourselves by," Ross continued.
The Boilermakers also have several swimmers at or near the top of the Big Ten Top Times list. Junior All-American Vilmos Kovacs owns the top times in both the 100 breaststroke (55.12) and 200 breaststroke (1:59.36). Kovacs also posted the second-best Big Ten time in the 200 individual medley (1:49.46) last weekend at Northwestern. Fellow junior Dan Kleber climbed the Big Ten list in the 200 butterfly last weekend after posting a time of 1:49.42. Seniors Frank Smardo and Mike Ullom rank in the top eight in the 50 and 100 freestyle, respectively. Junior Kirk Larsen is in the top ten in both the 100 and 200 freestyle and freshman Matt Martin ranks in the top ten in both the 1000 and 1650 freestyle. Purdue's top time in the 200 freestyle relay (1:21.73) is second only to Minnesota's (1:21.13)
Minnesota is not unaware of Purdue's success so far this season. "I know their coach has talked to them about this meet," said Ross. The Boilermakers are poised and ready to swim against one of the premiere programs in the country. "This is a big step for us, this is what you compete for," Ross added. The action begins Friday at 6:00 p.m. CST and continues Saturday, starting at noon.