Illini Swim to Nine Top-Five Finishes at Minnesota Challenge
Feb. 8, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team captured nine top-five finishes Friday at the Minnesota Challenge. Junior Emma Williams led the Orange and Blue with a win in the 200 IM, while Illinois relay teams swam to two runner-up finishes on day one of the two-day competition.
"Overall, I was pleased with the first session," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "The two 200 freestyle relays started off the session with a solid effort. There were some jitters for the first race, but the girls calmed down, stepped up and performed."
Williams finished first in the 200 IM, clocking a career-best 2:09.06. The Naperville, Ill., native led off the 200 free relay with a personal-best 24.97 to help her teammates, sophomores Andrea DeAngelis, Katie Roeing and Callan McDermott, to a third-place finish with a time of 1:40.92. Williams also was part of the second-place 400 medley relay team, which finished in 3:59.25 and also included juniors Cara Chuang and Marin Thompson and freshman Kirsten Zborek.
Meanwhile, Thompson placed second in the 200 IM with a time of 2:11.40, just edging third-place finisher Roeing (2:11.68) and fifth-place finisher DeAngelis (2:13.03).
Junior Anne Goering swam to a fourth-place finish in the 200 free with a personal-best 24.41 and helped her relay team, Chuang, Zborek and sophomore Alexa Chavez, to a runner-up finish in the 200 free relay (1:38.16).
Chavez helped end the day on a high note, leading off Illinois' third-place 400 medley relay team with a career-best 58.80. She and her teammates, DeAngelis, Roeing and McDermott, clocked a 4:00.54 in the final race of the night.
"They came in with their race plans set and were able to execute and make the adjustments needed in the moment," Novitsky said. "We have been fine-tuning and practicing those race plans, so seeing them put those plans into action was great. Now we have to come back tomorrow and stay focused."
The Orange and Blue will hit the pool tomorrow at 11 a.m. for the second session and will return again at 6 p.m. for the final.