The Illini have claimed 11 relay event victories this season
Dec. 7, 2013
OXFORD, Ohio - The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team completed the final day of competition at the Miami (OH) Invitational finishing second out eight teams with 1704.5 points. Host team Miami (OH) finished in first with 2332 points, followed by Denison (1388), Emory (1374.5), Cincinnati (856), Ball State (711), Wright State (454) and Urbana (97).
"The team stepped up and had another strong day in the pool," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "I was impressed with the ladies overall level of toughness mentally and physically each session. The athletes continued to make adjustments from race to race and that is a big improvement for us and shows that we are maturing as athletes and as a team."
The Illini claimed two more event victories and added 11 more lifetime best swims on the day, totaling 31 lifetime bests accomplished by the Orange and Blue at the Nixon Aquatic Center.
Highlighting the day was a first-place finish in the 200 Medley Relay by Alison Meng, Erica Lynn, Lori Lynn and Courtney Pope. Their season best time of 1:42.71 was the third fastest in Illini history.
Alison Meng claimed her ninth event victory on the season, taking first in the 100 fly with a time of 55.25 - placing her second on Illinois' all-time fastest individuals list.
Continuing their relay success at the invitational, the Illini took second in the 400-freestyle relay with the seventh fastest time in Illini history (3:23.69) by Alison Meng, Courtney Pope, Jessica Holz and Megan Marchuk. The Orange and Blue claimed an impressive three victories and two second-place finishes in relay events at the invitational.
Jessica Holz also swam a second-place finish in the 200 back with a time of 2:00.64.
Third place finishers for the Illini included Gabbie Stecker in the 500 free, with at time of 4:55.45 that placed her sixth on Illinois' all-time fastest individuals list, and Courtney Pope in the 100 free with a time of 51.09.
Alison Meng took fourth in the 100 free with a time of 51.28, while prelim time of 50.81 moved into sixth on the all-time fastest individuals list. Other fourth-place finishers for the Illini included Lori Lynn in the 100 fly (56.21) and 200 IM (2:05.74).
"We are in a good place heading into the second part of the season," Novitsky said. "Now we will get back to work in the pool and continue to work on making improvements."
The Illini will return to the pool on Jan. 10 as they host Rutgers at 10 a.m. CT at the ARC Pool.
ILLINI IN THE RECORD BOOK
The Illini had several competitors enter the school's top-10 individuals list at the Miami (OH) Invitational over the last three days. A summary is below.
Day One -- Thursday
800 Free Relay (Stecker, Marchuk, Schilling, Pope) -- 7:19.05 (1st)
200 Free (Mary Beth Howard) -- 1:50.54 (10th)
1000 Free (Gabbie Stecker) -- 10:10.11 (6th)
1650 Free (Gabbie Stecker) -- 16:55.75 (8th)
Day Two -- Friday
200 Free Relay (Pope, Gibson, Meng, Marchuk) -- 1:33.02 (8th)
200 Fly (Sarah Sykstus) -- 2:01.94 (2nd)
200 Fly (Gabbie Stecker) -- 2:02.46 (6th)
200 Free (Courtney Pope) -- 1:49.25 (6th)
200 Free (Gabbie Stecker) -- 1:50.29 (10th)
100 Back (Alison Meng) -- 54.55 (1st)
400 Medley Relay (Meng, E. Lynn, Sykstus, Pope) -- 3:44.77 (3rd)
Day Three -- Saturday
200 Medley Relay (Meng, E. Lynn, L. Lynn, Pope) -- 1:42.71 (3rd)
500 Free (Gabbie Stecker) -- 4:53.37 (6th)
100 Fly (Alison Meng) -- 55.20 (2nd)
200 breast (Erica Lynn) -- 2:16.44 (4th)
100 Free (Alison Meng) -- 50.81 (6th)
400 Free Relay (Meng, Pope, Holz, Marchuk) -- 3:23.69 (7th)