Jan. 9, 2014
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Having just recently returned from their multiple-week training trips in Honolulu, there's little time for rest for the Purdue swimming and diving teams as they begin the home portions of their spring-semester schedules with back-to-back co-ed dual meets against Michigan and Michigan State.
The Wolverines visit the Boilermaker Aquatic Center Friday evening for a 6 p.m. meet. Saturday's action against Michigan State is set to get underway at 1 p.m. This weekend marks the only time this season Purdue will compete against different opponents on consecutive days. It's also the first weekend since the November Quad meet on Friday, Nov. 8, in which the Purdue men and women will compete together at home.
The Michigan men are the defending Big Ten and NCAA champions and were ranked No. 1 in the latest (Dec. 12) CSCAA Top 25 poll. The Purdue women were No. 20 and the Michigan women No. 24 in the last (Dec. 10) CSCAA Top 25 poll. The Purdue men have been ranked as high as No. 12 this season, but were only receiving votes in the last poll before teams went on their holiday breaks.
The standard 16-event dual meet format will be in use for much of the weekend, with only a few event variations per gender. The women will race in the 200 medley and 400 free relays Friday vs. Michigan, while the men will compete in the 200 free and 400 medley relays. Both genders will race the 200 medley and 400 free relays Saturday vs. Michigan State. Individually, the women will race the 1000 free again Saturday but the men will compete in the mile. The 400 IM is on the schedule for Friday and the 200 IM for Saturday.
Michigan was represented by a few student-athletes at the 2012 Purdue Invitational and had a full women's team at the 2010 Purdue Invite. But the Boilermakers have not hosted U-M for a true dual meet in quite some time. The last Purdue-Michigan women's dual in West Lafayette was in February 1997. The Purdue men last hosted the Wolverines at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in January 2004.
The Purdue men have visited Ann Arbor for a dual meet three times since 2004, including January 2011 and January 2013. Michigan was also the top-ranked team in the nation at the time of last year's meet. Michigan's Canham Natatorium will serve as the host pool of the men's Big Ten Championships later this season. Selected members of the Purdue men's team will also compete against the Wolverines at next weekend's Classic @ SMU as well as the Michigan First Chance Meet in February.
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. The Spartans have also been a regular head-to-head opponent on the Purdue men's schedule over the last 40 years.
In their first team meets since November, the Boilermakers posted a dual meet sweep of Hawaii Jan. 4 in Honolulu. The Purdue women remained undefeated (5-0) in dual meet action and the men improved to 5-1.
Danny Tucker took home Big Ten Swimmer of the Week honors for his performances at Michigan State and Michigan last year. He won three individual events and contributed to three relay winners on the road trip. His new MSU pool record in the 100 free as well as his 100 free victory at Michigan highlighted the performances.
For the Purdue women, Nika Karlina Petric (500 and 1000 free) and Rhiannon Sheets (100 and 200 fly) were two-time winners at Michigan State last year. Carly Mercer (200 free), Francesca Marr (400 IM) and Casey Matthews (1-meter diving) also contributed event victories in the Boilers' win.
Among the Purdue men, Alec Back (diving sweep) joined Tucker as a two-time event winner at Michigan State a year ago. Manuel Gutierrez (200 free), Jan Karel Petric (1000 free) and Eduard Galdeano (200 fly) also chipped in individual victories. Layne Rogers (3-meter diving) was the only other Boiler to win an individual event against Michigan.
Two years ago, Purdue posted a dual meet sweep of Michigan State at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Among the event winners that day included active Boilers like Jamie Bissett (diving sweep), Guillermo Blanco (400 IM), Luke Trimmer (1000 free), Marr (200 breast), Sheets (500 free) and Tucker (50 and 100 free). Blanco and Marr both made their Purdue debuts that day after joining the programs during the semester break.