Ibuprofen is a crucial part of Shannon Guy's practice routine.
She takes some before every workout due to shoulder, back and knee problems that have dogged the junior swimmer since her freshman year. She had been injury-free in winning seven individual titles while helping Millard West to three state championships.
“I'm not in pain all the time anymore,” Guy said. “It's gotten better. I think my body has given up on hurting.”
Guy said that had she gone anywhere but Nebraska, she likely would have given up on her swimming career.
Instead, thanks to the work of the Husker staff, she's one of the mainstays for NU heading into the Big Ten championships beginning Wednesday.
Guy is signed up for the 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and the 100 and 200 butterfly. She'll have to trim that list to three for the four-day competition at the Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
She's won six races this season. Guy's best times came at the Iowa Invitational, when she had a 1:03.71 in the 100 breaststroke, a 54.42 in the 100 fly and a 2:03.26 in the 200 fly.
Her goal at the Big Ten championships is to make the top 16 in each of her events. She'd have to drop a second or more from her specialty, the 100 butterfly, which she swam at last summer's Swim Trials, to qualify for nationals.
“There is a small chance, not a very big one,” she said.
The Huskers (12-3) have big goals and a new attitude for the championships after setting a school record for dual meet wins. They were a disappointing 11th last season.
Patrick Rowan, the new conditioning and sprint and breaststroke coach, has been part of the change. He's brought more structure to workouts, Guy said, and has challenged the swimmers to chase what they had thought were crazy times for the Big Ten finale.
Guy said it's also important to send out the nine NU seniors on a high note. Katie Davis, Ellan Dufour, Kailey Harmon, Amy Herman, Kelsey Larson, Hayley Martin, Ashley Reiter, Ariel Weech and Sara Weinberg have contributed to 25 dual victories and 67 individual event wins.
The Huskers saw how well they could do at their midseason taper meet, performing at a much higher level than last year. Guy said they've stepped up to the challenge at every event.
“We weren't supposed to do anything against any of those teams. We were supposed to go and say we were there,” she said. “We really showed people what we are about.”
Nebraska in pink for Masters Classic
The ninth-ranked Nebraska women's gymnastics team will host the Masters Classic at 6 p.m. Friday at the Devaney Center.
The tournament featuring the Huskers (5-1), No. 16 Boise State (6-1) and Iowa State (3-5) will also serve as NU's Power of Pink event for breast cancer awareness.
The Huskers are 3-0 at home, averaging a team score of 196.541.
Students are invited Friday to take part in the first women's gymnastics student section. Students receive free admission to all Nebraska women's gymnastics events with their N-Card. The designated student seating will be in section A3, by the beginning of the vault run and the uneven bars.
The Huskers earned a 195.625-195.400 win at No. 14 Arizona last weekend. Brittany Skinner picked up a meet-best 9.90 on vault. Emily Wong took home the uneven bars title (9.825) and the all-around title (39.225), and Kassandra Nathe won the beam (9.85).
>> The Nebraska men's track and field team moved up two spots to fifth in the latest USTFCCCA poll. Arkansas is No. 1.
The Huskers will be at the Big Ten indoor championship this weekend.
>> The women's rifle team will be competing at the GARC championships Friday and Saturday in Oxford, Miss. The Huskers will find out Wednesday if they've qualified for the NCAA championships for the first time since 2010.
>> Men's golf will travel to Palm Desert, Calif., for the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate from Friday to Sunday. The women will be at the Westbrook Invitational in Peoria, Ariz., on Sunday and Monday.
>> The Nebraska women's tennis team will host UALR at 4 p.m. Friday and Wyoming at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Nebraska Tennis Center.
The men host Wichita State at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
— Marjie Ducey