Illini Conclude Big Ten Championships
Feb. 22, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team ended the Big Ten Championships in 12th place (79 points) eight points behind 11th place Michigan State. During the four-day competition, the Orange and Blue broke six school records, recorded two NCAA B standards and made over 20 changes to the top ten all-time fastest individuals list.
"We probably had our strongest morning of the meet," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "As a team we were looking to move up in the standings, so we will go to work to keep improving. The team as a whole competed strong with 38 total lifetime best times over the course of the championship."
Minnesota won its third consecutive Big Ten title with 760 points. Indiana finished second (649), followed by Penn State (484), Ohio State (374), Michigan (361), Wisconsin (338), Purdue (334), Iowa (199), Nebraska (145), Northwestern (110), Michigan State (87) and Illinois (79).
Senior Erica Lynn earned the first points for the Illini in the evening session with an 11th place finish (2:14.71) in the 200 breaststroke. Her performance in the prelims, with a time of 2:14.38, moved her third on the all-time fastest individuals list and was a NCAA B qualifying time.
Freshman Gabbie Stecker earned her first points in a Big Ten Championship final with her 15th place finish (2:01.19) in the 200 butterfly. Her prelim time of 2:00.50 broke the school record by over one second, smashing the previous record set by Erin Rodriguez (2:01.72) in 2012.
Stecker wrapped up an impressive weekend at her first Big Ten Championships earning second swim opportunities in the 200 fly, 200 free and 500 free.
"Lynn had an outstanding swim in the 200 Breast to score some points," Novitsky said. "Stecker capped off a great first championship with a school record in the 200 fly.
In the 1650 free prelims, Amelia Schilling moved into seventh on the all-time fastest individuals list with a time of 16:53.20.
Sloane McDermott moved into sixth on the all-time fastest individuals with her time of 2:01.24 in the 200 back prelims.
On the boards, Olivia Kassouni was the only Illini to compete in the platform diving event. She totaled a score of 176.90.
Two Illini qualified for finals events on Saturday. The Big Ten Championships marked the final full-team competition of the season for the Orange and Blue.
Individual swimmers will return to action next weekend at the Last Chance Meet, hosted by Purdue on Saturday, March 1.