For the first time ever, the Big Ten conference, as a whole, will compete against the teams of the Atlantic Coast Conference. On Nov. 10 and 11, the best swimmers and divers from each Big Ten college will travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to compete against the best of the ACC.
Representing the ACC will be 12 schools, 84 swimmers and 20 divers. The Big Ten will be represented by 13 schools, 76 swimmers and 20 divers.
“I’m really excited for our student athletes. They have been given an incredible opportunity to participate and to be Big Ten all-stars and represent the conference here,” said Kelly Kremer, the head coach of men’s and women’s swimming and diving. “I’m excited to see them compete in a meet that is going to get this much attention. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
Senior Chantal Nack said she looks forward to competing with the athletes she normally competes against.
“I’m very excited to meet and cheer for some of the other swimmers and divers from other teams in the Big Ten that we’re normally competing against,” said Nack, “I’m excited to maybe be on some relays with them and get to know them.”
Nack said she's excited to spend time with Michigan’s swim and dive team in Indiana, as well as race with them.
“We’ve always had a good relationship,” said Nack, “Even at Big Ten’s, we always do a cheer together and I’m excited to be on a team with them, because I know we have a lot of fun together and there’s a positive atmosphere between both of our teams.”
The Gophers await this weekend with excitement and expect consistency when the chance to get in the pool presents itself.
“This is a two day dual-meet. More than anything, I’d like to see us have two great days of competition. There should be consistency,” said Kremer.
Across all sports, on all levels of competition, coaches and players strive to perform consistently well. Heading into this weekend’s challenge, the expectations are no different from Kremer and his athletes.
“My expectation going into this meet is to help out the Big Ten any way that I can,” said senior diver Alan LeBlang. “Since I’m not working on any new dives in this competition, I’m going to be really focused on my consistency.”
This meet will generate a larger audience than swimming and diving is used to receiving. It also allows the Gophers an opportunity to view their Big Ten competitors before the peak of their season.
“Our biggest meets of the year are in February and March so this is very early season for us,” said LeBlang, “We have the opportunity to see the best divers [and swimmers] in the Big Ten and the ACC, see what kind of dives they’re working on, how they’re progressing, and try to get a feel for what’s to come later in the season.”
The challenge, hosted by Purdue, can be viewed on Big Ten Network beginning Saturday at 5 p.m. ET and again on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET.