Mountaineers set to take on Penn State
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 02:10
West Virginia head coach Vic Riggs and his Mountaineer swimmers will return to the WVU Natatorium today to compete in the swimming portion of their dual meet against Penn State.
The West Virginia diving team dominated the Nittany Lions in the first half of the meet, taking first place in each event, with freshman Christian Parker and sophomore Haily Vande Poel leading the way for the men’s and women’s teams, respectively.
The Mountaineers come off a record-breaking weekend in which the men’s and women’s swimmers broke four pool records on the first day of the West Virginia State Games in Huntington, W.Va.
Senior swimmer Rachel Burnett led the way for the Mountaineers in the State Games as she tallied six individual first-place finishes as well as four first-place finishes in relay events.
"(Rachel’s) motivation to be a top-10 swimmer in the nation was rekindled last year when she went to the NCAA championships," Riggs said. "She’s got a lot of work to do to get to that point, but there is no doubt that she is capable of it. She’s a tremendous swimmer."
As they enter the pool Friday, the Mountaineers will look to Burnett to lead the WVU women to redemption as they try to do their part to break a three-year losing streak against the Nittany Lions.
"I worry about my own swimmers and preparing them," Riggs said. "I’m not focused on anyone’s players but my own. We work on what we need to work on."
One of the focuses for Riggs is sophomore swimmer Daeton Davenport, who is coming off several strong performances in the State Games, including a first-place finish in the men’s 1,650-meter freestyle event.
Davenport did well to support the Mountaineers in last year’s match against Penn State with a first-place finish in the 500-meter freestyle event, but it would not be enough to propel the Mountaineers to a victory, as they fell to PSU 143-98.
"Daeton has done a great job," Riggs said. "He’s in his second step here as a distance swimmer. He has a world of talent at his disposal, but he’s got to do a good job of challenging himself in order to get better. He’s made some pretty good strides early in the season."
In addition to Davenport, the West Virginia freshmen have added a great deal of depth as they accounted for five victories for the men during the State Games at Marshall University.
The West Virginia women also saw strong contributions from their freshmen as Jaimee Gillmore and Kelsey Frantz both aided in the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle relays, which helped them net first-place finishes in each event.
After a strong showing by the divers, the Mountaineer swim team will need Burnett and Davenport to continue their dominance in the pool, as well as continuing strength from their freshman swimmers, as West Virginia looks to redeem itself against Penn State today.
The event is set to begin at 5 p.m. in the WVU Natatorium.