Illini Conclude Big Ten Championships
Feb. 23, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team ended the Big Ten Championships tied for 11th place (56 points) with Michigan State. During the four-day competition, the Orange and Blue broke four school records and induced several other changes to the all-time fastest individuals lists.
"We finished with a great relay to catch Michigan State," Illini head coach Sue Novitsky said. "Once again, we just missed final swims in a couple of events. Overall, the team improved in many areas, and we continue to take steps forward. They never quit and kept fighting until the end. Courtney Pope, Alison Meng and Megan Marchuk were the workhorses for the team this week. They are all back next year, and with the continued improvement of the team, they are hungry to move up."
Minnesota won its second consecutive Big Ten title with 831.5 points. Indiana finished second (671.5), followed by Penn State (498.5), Ohio State (384), Purdue (363), Michigan (309), Wisconsin (249), Northwestern (203.5), Nebraska (195), Iowa (113), Illinois (56) and Michigan State (56).
Junior Courtney Pope led off the 400 free relay for the Illini with a 50.58 split, which moved her into third place on the all-time fastest individuals list in the 100 free. The 400 free relay team of Pope, sophomore Alison Meng, junior Jessica Holz and sophomore Megan Marchuk clocked a season-best time of 3:22.01, the third-fastest time in school history.
In prelims, junior Erica Lynn led the 200 breast (2:17.75) with the fastest time by an Illini swimmer this season. Senior Sarah Coady improved her time as the 10th-fastest individual at Illinois by clocking a 2:19.86. Four Illini freshmen swam personal-best times in the 200 breast prelims, including Isabella Schamber (2:21.95), Hollie Smith (2:23.18), Stephanie Hein (2:23.89) and Jennifer Coady (2:25.48).
Freshman Sarah Sykstus moved into sixth place on the all-time fastest individuals list after securing a personal-best time of 2:02.52 in the 200 fly prelims. Senior Kathleen Knight (2:03.00) and sophomore Hailey Booth (2:06.08) earned season-best times in the event, while senior Alyssa Petruzzello (2:06.44) captured a career-best mark.
In the 200 back prelims, freshman Lori Lynn secured a personal-best time of 2:01.58, placing her fifth on the all-time fastest individuals list in that event. Holz earned a season-best time of 2:02.14 in the event.
In the 100 free prelims, Pope led the Illini by swimming a season-best time of 51.11, while Marchuk (51.58), senior Kimberly Kalenda (52.01) and sophomore Sabrinne Gibson (53.78) each earned personal-best times. Senior Erin Lamb added a season-best time of 52.10 in the event.
In the 1650 free prelims, sophomore Kayla Dlugopolski posted a season-best time of 17:15.64.
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 2.