Junior Courtney Pope became the third-fastest Illini to ever swim the 50 free
Feb. 22, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team fell to 12th place (32 points) Thursday at the Big Ten Championships but trails 11th-place Michigan State by only two points. A total of 13 Illini swimmers posted career-best times, while the 200 free relay team clocked the fifth-fastest time in school history.
"Overall, I thought we had a solid day," Illini head coach Sue Novitsky said. "It was good to see all the lifetime-best times and season bests, so we are swimming well. I expect to see us keep getting better and have those breakthrough swims. We are right there battling to get into the finals, and it will take just one person to be that spark. I was pleased to see the freshmen stay calm and have good first swims. We have a good lineup of events tomorrow, and we will continue to compete for those final swims."
After seven events, Minnesota leads the standings with 303.5 points followed by Indiana (211.5), Penn State (175), Purdue (142.5), Ohio State (132), Wisconsin (116.5), Michigan (116), Nebraska (90), Northwestern (79), Iowa (58), Michigan State (34) and Illinois (32).
Junior Courtney Pope secured third place on the school's all time-fastest individuals list when she led off the 200 free relay with a 23.29 in her 50 free split. The 200 free relay team of Pope, sophomores Alison Meng and Megan Marchuk and senior Kimberly Kalenda secured a time of 1:32.13, the fifth fastest time in school history.
In the 200 IM prelims, a pair of Illini freshmen earned spots on the schools' all-time fastest individuals list. Freshman Sarah Syktus captured fifth on the all-time list with a time of 2:03.80 while freshman Lori Lynn secured seventh on the list by clocking a time of 2:04.51. In the 500 free prelims, sophomores Megan Marchuk (4:57.09), Hailey Booth (4:57.53) and Kayla Dlugopolski (4:59.81) and junior Alyssa Toland (5:00.17) each posted personal bests.
On the boards, senior Darragh McDermott was the top finisher for the Illini with a score of 244.90.
The Illini did not qualify for finals in any individual event on Thursday. The Orange and Blue will return to action tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT.