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Monday, February 13, 2012 | Swimming & Diving
Bears Selected as Swimming & Diving Championship Favorite
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Melissa Oishi (MSU)
Melissa Oishi (MSU)

ST. LOUIS – In a unanimous vote, Missouri State has been named as the pre-championship favorite at the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Swimming & Diving Championships, February 16-18 in Carbondale, Ill., hosted by Southern Illinois University.

The Bears are the favorites by a six point margin over host Southern Illinois, who tallied up 19 points. The Redbirds of Illinois State came in third with 16 points.

Evansville came in fourth place with 9 points, while Northern Iowa rounded out the poll with 6 points.

Missouri State has taken home the Valley Swimming & Diving Championship title eight out of the last nine years. The Bears also top the MVC Best List, leading eleven different swimming event categories and placing in the top five in every swimming category.

Kristen Groome and Hannah Pinion lead the way for the Salukis, both leading two event categories, respectively. Southern Illinois athletes also rank top five in 13 individual swimming and diving event categories on the MVC Best List.

Illinois State dominates both diving categories, leading the MVC Best List in both the one-meter and three-meter dive. Illinois State also ranks top five in the Valley this season in twelve individual swimming categories.

The Aces of Evansville were awarded six Athlete of the Week selections, tied with Southern Illinois for the most selections this season. Sadie Wells, two-time 2012 Valley Diver of the Week, currently ranks second in the Valley three-meter dive category.

Northern Iowa’s Bethany Olson ranks top five in the conference in both the one- and three-meter dive categories.

MVC Pre-Championship Poll
1.    Missouri State (5)
2.    Southern Illinois
3.    Illinois State
4.    Evansville
5.    Northern Iowa

First place votes in parentheses