WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Already one of the most anticipated swimming and diving dual meets of the season, live television coverage by the Big Ten Network Saturday afternoon elevates the profile of this year's Indiana-Purdue double dual to another level.
Action at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in Bloomington begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with platform diving. The BTN's first live telecast of a swimming and diving meet is set for 11:30 a.m. ET. The swimming events will begin at 11 a.m. Platform diving, the women's 200 medley relay, men's 400 medley relay and 1,000 freestyle for both men and women will be shown via tape-delay throughout the telecast. The meet runs through 2 p.m.
Bernie Guenther, Rowdy Gaines and Cynthia Potter will provide the commentary and conduct on the on-deck interviews Saturday for the BTN. Gaines, a U.S. Olympics Hall of Famer, is perhaps the most well-known swimming commentator for his work on NBC's Olympics coverage. Potter is an IU athletics Hall of Famer who represented USA Diving at the 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics. Guenther swam collegiately at Florida.
While Indiana and Purdue annually square off for head-to-head duals, seldom do the men and women compete together for the rivalry meet. It has been at least two decades since the four programs have been present at the same pool on the same day for head-to-head competitions.
Conversely, last year's chapter of the Indiana-Purdue rivalry in the pool was spread over three days at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Men's and women's diving was contested the evening of Friday, Jan. 21, the women's swimmers squared off the next day and the men's swimmers closed out the dual meet schedules for both teams Feb. 5.
The Purdue women's head-to-head victory against IU highlighted the competition a year ago. It was the Boilers' first win against Indiana since November 1999, a year in which the rivals also squared off in Bloomington. The divers staked the Purdue women to a 22-16 lead entering the swimming events Saturday.
With Indiana having hosted the 2011 Women's Big Ten Championships and a high percentage of the newcomers for the Purdue women being Indiana natives, the majority of the travel roster has competed at IU's Aquatics Center before. The Indiana women are the three-time defending Big Ten champs.
The upperclassmen among the Purdue men's program also have favorable memories of Counsilman-Billingsley, having won the head-to-head dual with the Hoosiers in 2009, their first victory in Bloomington since 1998. Indiana returned the favor last year in West Lafayette.
Meanwhile, the Purdue divers will compete in platform diving for the first time this season at a team meet. Platform will take the place of the 3-meter springboard competition Saturday. Maddie Miskulin did compete individually in the 10-platform last month at the USA Diving Winter Nationals, reaching the semifinals after placing third of 22 divers in the preliminaries. She successfully qualified for the Zone C Diving Championships with her third-place finish in the platform last season against Indiana.
This year's Zone C meet is slated to be hosted by Indiana March 8-10, meaning many of the Purdue divers will return to Bloomington in about six weeks looking to qualify for NCAAs.
Remarkably, both Indiana teams have yet to compete at home this season. The Hoosiers dropped a double dual meet at Michigan Jan. 7 in their first competition of the 2012 calendar year.
Saturday's meet represents the final true head-to-head dual of the season for both Purdue teams. The Boilermakers travel to the Twin Cities next weekend for the Big Ten Quad, which is set to feature Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Illinois women.