Allison Meng broke two school records and one two events on Sunday.
Nov. 18, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team captured a second-place finish on Sunday at the Northwestern Invitational with a three-day total of 949.5 points. Northwestern claimed first place with a score of 1,056.5 points, while Bowling Green took third with 644 points. The Illini led through the first two days of competition, keeping the Wildcats in a close second, but the Orange and Blue could not maintain that lead in the final day of action.
"We are disappointed that the meet slipped through our fingers," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "We were not as sharp as we needed to be this morning, and Northwestern had their best prelim session. We missed out on moving into the top heat in multiple events by fractions of a second and needed to come out on the winning side of more of those races. I am proud that the team stayed aggressive all the way through the finals this evening and did not quit. We showed a lot of grit throughout the weekend and need to keep working on closing the deal. I love the mentality that we showed as a team to do what is necessary to compete and not dwell on possible excuses."
Sophomore Alison Meng led the Illini once again with wins in the 50 fly (25.23) and 50 back (25.61), breaking school records in both events. Meng was also part of the second-place 400 relay team that finished with a time of 3:25.99. Junior Courtney Pope, senior Kimberly Kalenda and sophomore Megan Marchuk rounded out that team.
The Orange and Blue turned in a solid effort in the 200 fly final, where senior Kathleen Knight claimed sixth place (2:04.01), freshman Lori Lynn captured seventh (2:05.55) and freshman Sarah Sykstus earned eighth (2:05.60). Freshman Sloane McDermott captured eighth-place finishes in both the 200 back (2:07.56) and 50 back (28.29).
The Illini competed in four other championship event finals on the day, including sophomore Kayla Dlugopolski, who captured seventh place in the 1650 free (17:18.01), Erica Lynn, who swam to an eighth place finish in the 50 fly (26.04), Megan Marchuk, who claimed seventh in the 100 free (52.08) and senior Sarah Coady, who finished eighth in the 200 breast (2:23.82).
"There were a lot of breakthroughs over the weekend and people validating the work they have put in thus far this season," Novitsky said. "Every athlete on the trip scored points for the team this weekend. That speaks volumes about our depth and hints at the potential for improvement that we have as a team."
The Illini will return to action against the Iowa State Cyclones on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. CT at the ARC Pool.