Barbie Viney fell just short of defending her 100 free crown.
Feb. 10, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Defending Big Ten 100 free champ Barbie Viney improved her Saturday prelim time by two-hundredths of a second and just missed on her bid to repeat as champion, coming in second (49.26) to Michigan's Lindsey Smith (49.04) on the last day of the 2007 Big Ten Championships at the University Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Illinois senior Meghan Farrell took seventh in the same event, while the Illini finished this season's conference meet in ninth place with 176.5 points. Indiana (715.5) won the conference crown by more than 150 points over second-place Michigan.
Sophomore Marissa Clapp made her second-straight appearance in the 200 breast and took 15th place, following her sixth-place standing in the 2006 Big Ten Championships. The Orange and Blue 400 free relay consisting of seniors Farrell, Becca Poetz, Michelle Grandcolas and Viney came in sixth with a time of 3:22.13 and recorded an NCAA "B" cut.
"Overall we competed well," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "We had some good swims and people that were able to step up. Obviously it was a very fast championship. With all the season and lifetime bests put together, I was very pleased with how they kept themselves going for three days."
Viney and teammates agreed.
"I think we did awesome," Viney said. "I think starting out from the very get-go, our teammates were closer than we've ever been, and it only helped us."
Viney, selected to the 2007 All-Big Ten second team, swam her second NCAA "A" cut of the season in Saturday's 100 free prelims and put herself in the lead position heading into the evening final session. The Illinois senior's prelim time of 49.28 narrowly missed the school-record 49.12 she swam in the 2006 Big Ten Championships to capture the top place in school history, but the time was nearly a second better than the 50.13 seed time she earned by placing fifth in the A final at the Texas A&M Reveille Invitational in November 2006.
"I'm pleased," Viney said. "I would have liked tonight to go a little different, but I can't complain - I went in, I gave it all I had and left everything in the pool - I got second and I can't complain at all. Any little thing can make the difference. It just happened that my third turn wasn't as great as it should have been. Maybe, if I had a better turn, then things would have been different."
Last season Viney swam the fastest Big Ten Championships seed time and got by Northwestern's Andrea Hupman to win the 100 free crown in Columbus, Ohio. Victorious, Viney became the first Illinois Big Ten champion since Laurie Peterson won the 100 free in 1982.
Farrell swam an NCAA "B" cut (50.18) in Saturday's initial session, which was almost two seconds better than her seed time.
Following her second consecutive seventh-place finish in the Big Ten 100 free, Farrell was satisfied and glad for the opportunity to make her final conference swim with Viney.
"I've always looked up to Barbie so much," Farrell said. "She's such a competitor and she always pushes me in practice. You can just tell just being around the blocks, she's so focused and she's knows what she's going for. I really respect that about her. I feel special being able to race with her."