Hugh Webster, The Miami Student
This weekend, the Miami University swim and dive program will host the 23rd Annual Miami Invitational, getting back to work after a loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 12th in Columbus. MU will face off against eight other universities Thursday through Saturday. The teams they will compete against are Bowling Green, Denison, Emory, Indiana, UW-Milwaukee, Missouri-St.Louis, Urbana and Washington University in St. Louis.
The Miami women have posted a record of 5-2 on the season while the men have gone 2-2. Both teams fell to the Buckeyes in mid-November, the women falling 182-115 and the men losing 211-84. The swimmers look to recover from this loss with a big performance in their own pool.
The Invitational will feature a variety of divisions and teams, including very highly ranked Division I and III programs.
For the men, Denison ranks number one in Division III after winning the national championship last year. Right behind Denison in the Division III rankings is Emory, who is off to a 2-0 start in dual meets so far this season. Likely the stiffest competition for the RedHawks, however, are the Indiana Hoosiers, who are currently ranked second in the nation in Division I and are red hot, starting 8-0 this season with wins over four top-25 teams.
For the women, Emory and Denison rank again in the top one and two spots in Division III. This will give MU women good competition, not to mention the Indiana women, who are the 13th ranked team in Division I. Both the men and women will have their work cut out for them this weekend as they face these swimming powerhouses.
One Lady RedHawk who has really stepped up this season is redshirt junior Pei Lin, who earned MAC Diver of the Week in her meet against Ohio State. Lin has yet to lose an event this season and looks to continue this success through the weekend.
The preparation will be different this week than normal one-day meets for Lin. “It is actually easier preparation for me, in the one-day dual meets I have the 3-meter and 1-meter in the same day, but now they will be on separate days,” Lin said.
Senior Hutch Blackstone also had a very successful meet against OSU, finishing in the top three in three of his events. He placed third with his team in the 200 medley relay, placed second in the 100 breaststroke and third again in the 200 breaststroke. Blackstone is looking forward to the tough competition that is coming his way this weekend as he prepares for his events.
“I am actually really excited, it’s cool to have other teams come in that are better than you and give you the opportunity to not necessarily race someone, but go after someone,” Blackstone said. “I have a personal drive for when someone is out in front of me, I like to go get them.”
The Miami Invitational will be the last meet for the ‘Hawks in the next month, so building momentum for the rest of the season will be critical this weekend.
This three-day invitational will start each day at 10 a.m. with the prelims, and finish off at 6 p.m. with the finals for the events on that day. Thursday will include the 200 freestyle relay, 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle and 400 medley relay. On Friday, the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and the 800 freestyle relay. Finishing up the invitational on Saturday will be the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, 400 freestyle relay and 1650 freestyle.