On Senior Day, seniors Jessica Holz and Cara Chuang led the first two legs for the Relay B team that secured a tie with a second-place finish.
Jan. 10, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill - In a nail-biting finish, the Illinois swimming and diving team took the top two spots in the 400 free relay to secure a 150-150 tie against Rutgers at the ARC Pool Friday morning on Senior Day.
With the meet victory on the line in the final event, the 400 free relay, the Illini took first with a time of 3:29.79 swam by Alison Meng, Megan Marchuk, Gabbie Stecker and Courtney Pope. The Illini also needed their second relay team to beat Rutgers in order to secure the tie.
The group of Jessica Holz, Cara Chuang, Sabrinne Gibson and Mary Beth Howard stepped up to the challenge, beating Rutgers top relay group by over five seconds, as they finished with a time of 3:32.29.
"Rutgers came out and they swam really well," assistant coach Alec Hayden said. "They got out to a pretty good lead right away and our girls weren't quite ready to go those first couple of events."
Coming off short rest, the Illini started slow, giving a lead to Rutgers for a majority of the meet. Going into the 12th event, the 500 free, the Orange and Blue were down 21 points. The Illini fought back claiming three event victories in the last four swimming events.
"I think we did a really nice job of battling back getting the one-two in the final event to get the tie," Hayden said. "A tie is kind of a rare event in swimming."
Individually, two Illini secured multiple event victories on the day, as Alison Meng took the 100 back (56.62) and the 100 fly (56.34), while Gabbie Stecker took the 1000 free (10:16.44) and 500 free (4:57.70).
The Illini finished second in the 200 medley relay as Alison Meng, Erica Lynn, Lori Lynn and Courtney Pope finished with a time of 1:47.39. Six other Illini secured second place finishes including, Megan Marchuk in the 200 free (1:54.12), Courtney Pope in the 50 free (24.80), Erica Lynn in the 200 breast (2:21.14) and Amelia Schilling in the 500 free (5:06.74).
The Illini also finished in third in seven events. Amelia Schilling took third in the 200 free (1:54.14) alsng with Jessica Holz in the 100 back (58.22), Sarah Sykstus in the 200 fly (2:08.92), Megan Marchuk in the 100 free (53.79), Jessica Holz in the 200 back (2:06.22) and Lori Lynn in the 100 fly (57.99) and 200 IM (2:08.77).
On the boards, Olivia Kassouni led the Illini with second place finishes in the one-meter (246.21) and three-meter (2:62.49). Erika Murphy took third (2:44.72) in the one-meter, while Emily Fung followed finishing fourth (2:40.82).
The Illini recognized six seniors after the meet for their time spent in the pool and the classroom at Illinois. Seniors Cara Chuang, Anne Goering, Jessica Holz, Courtney Pope and Alyssa Toland were recognized, escorted by family members and received flowers in front of the home crowd.
UP NEXT: The Illini will return to competition next Friday, Jan. 17 at 4:00 p.m. when face Iowa State on the road in Ames, Iowa.