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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Purdue swimming and diving teams begin their new seasons with a busy weekend of action at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center, featuring a women's dual with Miami (Ohio) Friday and six in-state schools visiting campus for the annual co-ed Indiana Intercollegiates meet Saturday.
Friday's 6 p.m. women's dual meet against Miami (Ohio) will also feature the men's divers competing for both teams. The points earned by the men will carry over to next weekend's Purdue-Miami men's dual meet in Oxford.
Action begins at noon Saturday. IUPUI, the University of Indianapolis and Rose-Hulman will have men's and women's teams in attendance. Ball State will be represented by its women's team, while DePauw and Wabash will have men's competitors participating.
Ball State, DePaul, Rose-Hulman and Wabash are all new to the meet this year. The Indiana Intercollegiates meet annually gives Purdue the opportunity showcase its facilities at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center to the large groups of Indiana residents that make up rosters of the visiting teams, along with their friends and families in attendance.
In seasons past, both coaching staffs have utilized the Indiana Intercollegiates as an opportunity to allow their swimmers to compete in a diverse collection of events besides just their specialties. Even with the variety among Purdue's entrants in certain heats, the men and women managed to win all 10 swimming events at the 2010 Intercollegiates and all but three of the 24 events last year.
Alec Back, Colleen Drew, Danny Tucker, Amy Katz, Brian Kiel, Manuel Gutierrez, Emily McIlrath, Carly Mercer, Maddie Miskulin, Lauren Nichols and Rhiannon Sheets were among the individual winners at the 2011 Indiana Intercollegiates that are back this season. Kiel was a two-time winner, capturing the 100 backstroke and 200 IM, while Back and Katz garnered individual weekly honors from the Big Ten conference office for their performances. Back was selected the men's Diver of the Week after sweeping the springboard events. Katz was the named the women's Swimmer of the Week after winning the 100 back, finishing second to Mercer in the 200 IM and swimming the leadoff leg on the victorious 200 medley relay.
The Purdue women have competed against Miami in dual meet action in each of the last five seasons dating back to 2007-08. The Miami dual has been an annual home-and-home part of the schedule along with other regular head-to-head opponents like Notre Dame, Northwestern, Michigan State and Indiana.
A number of Purdue freshmen are expected to make their college debuts this weekend, possibly as many as 11 for the men and seven for the women. The freshman class for the Purdue women was ranked as the 11th-best recruiting class nationally by CollegeSwimming.com.
The women will also welcome back four other competitors to the active roster this season. Swimmers Caitlin Hamilton and Tracy Glaser are ready to compete again after redshirting last season due to injury. Divers Michelle Cabassol and Mary Beth Dunnichay will make their official Purdue debuts this weekend after exercising Olympic waivers a season ago to focus on training for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Cabassol and Dunnichay have four years of eligibility remaining and should really strengthen the women's diving corps.
Meanwhile, Hamilton returns to action as a redshirt junior. She is a two-time NCAA Championships qualifier as as a school-record holder and the team's top performer in the distance freestyle events.