Illini Conclude Day Three at Big Ten Championships
Feb. 17, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team remained in 10th place (66 points) at the Big Ten Championships after Friday's action. Senior Brittany McGowan was the only Illini to qualify for an individual final on the day, earning a second swim in the 100 fly.
"We had a pretty good day overall," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "We had a lot of swimmers with personal and season-best times. They went in and really performed. Different people along the way contributed. There are still places where we can continue to get better, but it was great to see them respond and fight for those positions today. It's going to take people putting together great races to get second swims tonight, which we are very capable of. We had a lot of people right there, and we're still looking for that breakthrough."
After 14 events, Minnesota leads the standings with 456 points, followed by Indiana (416), Ohio State (401), Wisconsin (289), Penn State (260.5), Purdue (174.5), Michigan (173), Northwestern (164) and Iowa (164), Illinois (66), Nebraska (59) and Michigan State (55).
The 400 medley relay team of freshman Alison Meng, sophomore Erica Lynn and seniors Kristen Manias and McGowan, posted a season-best time of 3:45.34, the second-fastest performance in Illini history, adding 14 points to the team's total. The relay was led by Meng, who's leadoff split of 55.71 improves her time as the third-fastest Illini to swim the 100 back.
McGowan highlighted the day for the Orange and Blue with her performance in the 100 fly and collected the only individual points for the Illini, finishing 15th in the event. The Beverly Hills, Mich., native recorded the second-fastest 100 fly performance in Illinois history during prelims (54.61) and the third-fastest performance in school history with her finals time of 54.74. Her prelim leadoff split of 25.77 was the sixth-fastest 50 fly in Illini history. McGowan earned an NCAA provisional B time with her prelim performance, which makes her eligible for a possible invitation to the NCAA Championships.
In prelims, Meng (55.80) led the Orange and Blue in the 100 back with a 25.64 leadoff split which was the seventh-fastest 50 back performance in Illini history. Jessica Holz swam a personal-best time of 56.39, making her the fourth-fastest individual to swim the event in school history, while Manias (56.83) and freshmen Alexa Chavez (58.81) also posted personal bests in the event.
In the 100 fly prelims, Meng became the sixth-fastest individual in school history to swim the event (56.02), while her 25.64 leadoff split was the third-fastest 50 fly performance in school history. Freshman Hailey Booth (56.95), sophomore Emma Williams (57.60) and junior Kathleen Knight (57.42) all swam personal-best times, while senior April McKee (56.64) and junior Alyssa Petruzzello (56.79) recorded season bests in the event.
A trio of Illini swam personal best times in the 200 free during prelims, including sophomore Alyssa Toland (1:56.65) and freshmen Megan Marchuk (1:52.00) and Kayla Dlugopolski (1:57.34). In the 100 breast, sophomore Erica Lynn led the Orange and Blue with a season best (1:04.65), while senior Rachel Japp Joyce captured a personal best (1:04.67), making her the ninth-fastest Illini to swim the event.
In 400 IM prelims, junior Erin Rodriguez led the Illini with a season-best 4:24.57, while classmate Sarah Coady recorded a personal best (4:27.62) and sophomore Marin Thompson swam her fastest time of the season (4:36.54).
On the boards, Britni Fisher was the top finisher for the Illini with a score of 286.30 in the three-meter dive prelims.
"Tomorrow is about being tough and coming back for the third day of individual events," Novitsky said. "They get tired, so they have to make sure they're focusing in. They need to relax and get up and race. We're looking forward to a good last day. We have lots of opportunities for good swims tomorrow."
The Orange and Blue will return to action tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT.
Schedule of Events
Trials will begin at 11 a.m. CT, Finals at 6:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, Feb. 18 // Trials & Finals