Freshman Alison Meng became the fifth-fastest Illini to swim the 100 back on Saturday
Nov. 19, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. - The Fighting Illini swimmers and divers completed their second day of competition at the Northwestern Invitational on Saturday and remain in second place with 445 points through 15 events. Northwestern retained first place with 567 points. Two Illini moved into the all-time fastest individuals list, while 20 swimmers - four in two events apiece - and four divers represented the Illini in the finals session.
"I thought we came back well this morning and had some good swims," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "They competed well and gave themselves a lot of opportunities for second swims, as did the divers on the boards. I thought we got better as the night went along. I thought we established our positions in the heats very well. Courtney Pope had a great day; she was a warrior today. Alison Meng also stepped up and did a lot for us. It's good to see a lot of people contributing to second swims and taking advantage of them to get faster."
The Illini got off to a quick start for the second-straight night, capturing a fifth-place finish in the 200 medley relay, as freshman Alison Meng, seniors Rachel Japp Joyce and Brittany McGowan and sophomore Courtney Pope posted a season-best time of 1:44.69. Illinois continued its relay success with a second-place finish in the 800 free relay, as seniors Kelly Kunkel and Kristen Manias, Pope and junior Erin Lamb posted a time of 7:30.74.
In individual races, Meng finished third in the 100 back (56.78) after posting a 56.76 in prelims, which tied the fifth-fastest individual in the 100 back in school history. Meng also captured 14th in the 100 fly (57.98) after posting a personal-best time (56.96) in prelims.
Pope posted a third-place finish for Illinois with a lifetime best of 1:49.78 in the 200 free, making her the seventh fastest Illini to swim the event. She was closely followed in the 200 free by Lamb, who finished fifth with a time of 1:51.87, and Manias, who finished in eighth (1:53.57) after securing a personal best (1:52.65) in prelims.
Junior Erin Rodriguez put together a solid sixth-place finish in the 400 IM with a time of 4:29.12 after racing to a season-best time of 4:26.77 during prelims, while McGowan placed seventh in the 100 fly (56.84) after setting a new season-best time (56.39) in prelims.
The Illini were also aided by sophomore Erica Lynn, who swam to an eighth-place finish in the 100 breast (1:05.02), junior Alyssa Petruzzello, who finished ninth in the 100 fly (57.06) and Kunkel, who earned 11th in the 200 free (1:52.92).
Also contributing points were senior April McKee in the 100 fly (57.43), freshman Mary Beth Howard, who swam a personal best in the 200 free (1:53.27), sophomore Jessica Holz in the 100 back (57.90) and Japp Joyce in the 100 breast (1:06.44).
The Illini will conclude action on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. CT. Live stats will be available HERE. Visit fightingillini.com for complete results and recap.