Aspiring at the SPIRE, would be a good way to describe the Ashland University swimming and diving teams this week.
The Eagles will be competing at the 2014 GLIAC Swimming and Diving Championships this week. The GLIAC meet will run from Wednesday, Feb. 12 through Saturday, Feb. 15. Preliminaries each day begin at 10:30 a.m., and the finals will take place each evening at 6.
The conference meet will be held at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Approximately one month from now, the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships will be staged at this same venue.
Ten women's teams and seven men's teams make up the GLIAC field. The field has a different look from last year. Two schools - Indianapolis and Lewis - no longer participate in GLIAC swimming.
The Wayne State men have captured the last two conference titles. The WSU women have won four straight GLIAC championships. A year ago the Ashland men placed fourth and the women were sixth.
The AU men feature one of the league's top swimmers in freshman Philipp Sikatzki. He has the best time in the GLIAC in the 100 backstroke (48.45) and 100 butterfly (48.0). He's second on the GLIAC list in the 50 (20.54) and 100 (45.34) freestyle. Senior Alex Sheil has the second best time in the 200 freestyle (1:39.91).
For the women, sophomore Hannah Mattar owns the conference's best times in the 200 (2:06.46) and 400 (2:07.74) IM. Mattar has the second best clocking in the 200 breaststroke (2:17.29).
Kaylyn Murphy is second in the conference in the 100 (51.56) and 200 (1:54.20) freestyle.