The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Blugolds look to steal WIAC

    If the past is any indication of what the future holds, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will be in contention to win another WIAC title this weekend.

    The Blugold men have won 25 of the last 29 conference titles, including 19 in a row from 1978 to 1996.

    The women have been equally impressive, winning 19 of the last 21 championships, which included a streak of 18 in a row from 1980-1997.

    The teams are ready to do well again at this year’s championships, which got underway today at the Albee Hall Aquatic Center in Oshkosh.

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    “Everybody’s ready to swim their minds out,” junior Liz Halbur said.

    The men’s and women’s teams will see tough competition from UW-Stevens Point and UW-La Crosse. Both teams defeated the Blugolds earlier in the season.

    Stevens Point is the defending men’s and women’s champion and is the favorite to repeat, Halbur said.

    “We’re hoping to get close to Stevens Point,” senior co-captain Derek Wallen said. “We want to make sure we beat La Crosse. We’ve never lost to them before (at conference).”

    Halbur said the team is young and when it first swam against Stevens Point, its members didn’t even know who they were as a team yet.

    The women’s team is led by senior Brianna Crowley. She is the two-time defending WIAC champ in the 400-yard individual medley and has the top time in the conference this year at four minutes and 53.90 seconds. Her time of 4:41.71 is the WIAC record.

    Crowley also has the second-fastest time in the 200 yard backstroke.

    Leading the way for the Blugold men is junior Matt Oglesby. He is the two-time defending champ in the 100 butterfly. Oglesby also won the 200 butterfly at the 1999 championships and has been a member of many winning relay teams.

    In addition to holding the WIAC record in the 100 butterfly at 50.53, Oglesby owns the pool record in the 200 butterfly at 1:57.48.

    Oglesby said he expects to do fairly well at this year’s competition, but won’t perform like he did last year because he is not tapered for this meet.

    While the Blugolds may be underdogs in these championships, both teams have history on their sides.

    “We always want to take first,” Wallen said. “We have a really strong history here at Eau Claire.”

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    Blugolds look to steal WIAC