Illini Begin Action at Big Ten Championships
Feb. 20, 2013
Minneapolis - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team finished the first day of action at the Big Ten Championships tied with Michigan State for 11th place (22 points) Wednesday night. The Illini relay teams set two school records in addition to posting season-best times and securing spots on Illinois' all-time fastest relays list.
"It is always great to set some school records, and that shows that we are ready to have some good performances," Illini head coach Sue Novitsky said. "Courtney Pope had two great anchor legs for us this evening, which were both career-best times. I thought there were some nerves out there and getting the first swims under their belt should help them relax a bit more heading into the individual events. We can definitely keep improving and make that choice to be strong."
Minnesota and Indiana ended the day tied for first place with 74 points, followed by Penn State (58), Michigan (56), Ohio State (56), Wisconsin (54), Purdue (50), Nebraska (42), Northwestern (36), Iowa (36), Illinois (22) and Michigan State (22).
Sophomore Alison Meng started the championships off strong for the Illini, leading off the 200 medley relay with the fastest 50 back time in school history (25.57). The 200 medley relay team of Meng, junior Erica Lynn, senior Alyssa Petruzzello and junior Courtney Pope clocked a season-best time of 1:42.07, the second fastest time in school history.
Meanwhile, the 800 free relay team of sophomore Megan Marchuk, senior Erin Lamb, sophomore Mary Beth Howard and junior Courtney Pope set a new school record after securing a time of 7:20.87. Marchuk led off the relay with a 200 free time of 1:49.63, giving her sole possession of sixth place on the all-time fastest list for that event.
The Orange and Blue will return to action tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT.