WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.- For its first team competition since early December, Purdue swimming and diving welcomes Michigan State to the Boilermaker Aquatic Center Saturday for co-ed dual meet that doubles as the annual Senior Salute meet.
Festivities begin at 11 a.m. Saturday with the first annual Breaststroke 4 Hope swim-a-thon, which serves as a fundraiser for breast cancer education and awareness. The Boilermakers host Michigan State at 2 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear pink for both events.
Additionally, selected members of the 20th-ranked Purdue men's team will be traveling to Dallas this weekend for the Classic @ SMU. The prestigious six-team invitational will also feature No. 13 Florida, No. 4 Michigan, No. 16 North Carolina, No. 5 USC and the host Mustangs. Each team will be represented by eight swimmers and one diver. Action in Dallas is set for 8:30 p.m. (EST) Friday and Saturday evening.
The Purdue swimmers have not competed since the weekend of Dec. 2-4 at the Ohio State Invitational. Their annual winter break training program was held at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center this season. Both teams begin the championship portions of their seasons this weekend. Over the next month and a half, the Boilers are scheduled to compete five times, a stretch that culminates with the Big Ten Championships in late February.
The 18th-ranked Purdue women have one home meet remaining on their schedule, the Feb. 25 Boiler-Make-It NCAA Last Chance qualifier, but Saturday's dual versus Michigan State serves as the final traditional home competition of the season for all involved with Purdue swimming and diving.
At this time a year ago, the Purdue men put together an ambitious weekend schedule that featured three competitions in three different cities. Selected members of the team traveled to Dallas for the Classic @ SMU while the rest of the travel party went to Michigan. The men competed alongside the women for a double dual meet at Michigan State Saturday afternoon and then traveled to Ann Arbor, where they were joined by the guys that had been in Dallas, for another dual with Michigan.
While the women won their dual against Michigan State handily, the men were unable to overcome their lack of depth and dropped their first dual of the season at the time. Ross said that he was more confident in his team being able to outscore the Spartans this year because the Boilers' numbers would not be limited to a travel squad.
Dating back to the 1980-81 season, the Purdue and Michigan State women have competed in a head-to-head dual meet every season but two (1996-97 and 2002-03). The Boilermakers have not lost to MSU since 1987-88.
Beginning with the Michigan State dual, the Boilermakers will compete against five different Big Ten Conference rivals over the next three weekends. Both teams will go head-to-head against Indiana next weekend in a Bloomington in a meet that will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. The final weekend of January, Purdue will travel to the Twin Cities for the Big Ten Quad, which also features Minnesota and Wisconsin. The men will see selected members of Michigan's team this weekend in Dallas and the women will also compete against Illinois at the Big Ten Quad.