Alison Meng has claimed 5 individual event victories in three meets over the past four days.
Jan. 20, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In the last home meet of the season, the Illinois swimming and diving team (8-5-1) continued its home dominance this season defeating Southern Illinois, 199.50-96.50, and Olivet Nazarene, 245.00-50.00, Monday afternoon in the ARC Pool.
Despite dropping two of the first three swimming events to Southern Illinois, the Illini proved to be too fast for SIU and Olivet Nazarene. Illinois claimed 12 of the 14 swimming event victories.
"I was very pleased with how the team came in after a long weekend on the road and they stepped up and performed really well, head coach Sue Novitsky said. "It was good to see them step up and perform and just race and just fight to the finish. There were a lot of close finishes. It was great to see our girls scrap it out there at the end."
The Illini wrapped up their home season with an impressive 4-0-1 record in the ARC Pool. Illinois has dominated the swimming events at home, claiming an event victory in 44 of 56 swimming events.
The Orange and Blue were led by the talented duo of Courtney Pope and Alison Meng who each totaled two individual event victories, while contributing to one relay victory. Meng touched first in the 200-backstroke (2:01.93) and the 50-freestyle (24.05), while Pope took first in the 200 IM (2:09.09) and 100-freestyle (51.96).
Meng, Isabella Schamber, Lori Lynn and Pope led off the meet with a victory in the 200-medley relay (1:45.57). The Illini also won the second relay event, the 200-freestyle relay, as Megan Marchuk, Sabrinne Gibson, Jessica Holz and Anne Goering finished with a time of 1:37.71.
Other individual first-place finishers included Jessica Holz in the 100-backstroke (58.22), Erica Lynn in the 100-breaststroke (1:06.15), Lori Lynn in the 200-butterfly (2:04.38), Isabella Schamber in the 200-breaststroke (2:24.58) and Gabbie Stecker in the 500-freestyle (4:56.96) and Sarah Sykstus in the 100-butterfly (58.10).
Nine Illini had second-place finishes on the day, including Amelia Schilling in the 1000-freestyle (10:19.61), Mary Beth Howard in the 200-freestyle (1:53.04), Hollie Smith in the 100 (1:08.64) and 200-breaststroke (2:29/42), Stecker in the 200-butterfly (2:06.91), Goering in the 50-freestyle (24.98), Holz in 100-freestyle (52.49), Lori Lynn in the 200-backstroke (2:07.17), Erica Lynn in the 100-butterfly (59.01) and Rachel Burke in the 200 IM (2:11.74).
On the boards, the Illini were swept in the both the one-meter and three-meter dive by Southern Illinois.
In addition to the meet, the Illini has a strong showing at the sixth annual Splash Bash, where fans could enjoy free food and carnival games while watching the meet. 1,142 fans attended Splash Bash, over 300 more than last year's event.
"Just having that many people come out ant support the team and support the Illini, it just means so much to our athletes who don't always get as much publicity as some other sports." Novtsky said. "So its great to have them come here and see those little kids excited and beating down the doors ready to get in at 1:00 pm and stay throughout the meet and cheer loud. That's just exciting."
The Illini travel to Lincoln, Neb., Saturday Jan. 25 to face off against Big Ten foe Nebraska beginning at 11 a.m. CT.