Posted Online: Feb. 08, 2013, 11:18 pm
Western Big 6 swimming preview
Comment on this story
By Chris Steele, firstname.lastname@example.org
When & where: Galesburg High School swimming begins at noon.
Storylines:With diving conducted on Monday at United Township High School, the Panthers will begin the conference meet with an edge.
UT's Jordan Witherspoon won gold in the 11 dive competition with a score of 314 points, and Panther Mark Cervantes was runner up with a season best 302 points.
The start of the swimming championship season begins with a road trip to Galesburg.
After finishing the dual meet season undefeated, Rock Island is seeking to take that momentum into the swim post season seeking the schools first conference title since 1991.
Moline is the defending champion, but lacks the depth of last seasons team. United Township has improved dramatically in the past few weeks and will keep the team title competitive with a solid all around team performance.
Rock Island's Josh Fleming is favored to win the 200 freestyle, and comes in with a seed time of 1:48.13 which put him in the neighborhood of the conference mark set by Fermann Flowers last season (1:45.71).
Rocky's Daniel Rodriguez is favored in the 50 freestyle (22.29), and will be a part of the days most heated event the 100 yard butterfly.
Rodriguez a state qualifier in the butterfly a season ago will match up against teammate George Pappas who comes in with the events best time this season (53.88).
It could be a significant day for Pappas who's seed time (2:00.54) in the 200 individual medley is near the conference mark of 2:00.54 held since 1996 by Rock Island's Brett Lohmeier.
Moline's Flowers is favored in the 100 backstroke, and fellow Maroon Alec Michna should be in the mix in for the 50 free and 100 free.
The Panthers' Austen Willhite has improved dramatically this season, and finds himself favored in the 500 free (5:13.11).
Moline senior Matthew Roche re-aggravated a knee injury, and will be unable to swim for his fourth straight gold in the 100 breaststroke.
Roche is still set to compete in the Maroons relays, but his status remainsuncertain going into next weeks sectionals.