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    Illini Fall to Iowa in Close Meet
    The Illini fought hard in a tough meet against Iowa Saturday, in front of a packed ARC pool.

    The Illini fought hard in a tough meet against Iowa Saturday, in front of a packed ARC pool.

    Jan. 17, 2009

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini dropped their first dual meet of the season Saturday, in a 157-143 loss to Iowa. The Orange and Blue were down early but closed the gap with several strong performances in front of a packed ARC pool. The meet went down to the wire with Iowa leading by a mere four points heading into the final race.

    "In the beginning of the meet we were getting our clocks cleaned," head coach Sue Novitsky said. "But we kept swimming hard and our momentum really changed with the 100 fly. In the last few races we showed a lot of character, heart and strength and it became really exciting."

    Early in the meet junior CeCe Marizu took second in the 100 back with a time of 58.18, while senior Marissa Clapp finished third in the 100 breast (1:05.75).

    Junior Jen Ivarson, senior Ali Keehn and junior Ann Miller continued fighting hard for the Illini to take the top-three spots in the 200 fly with times of 2:06.92, 2:07.36 and 2:09.20, respectively.

    In the second half of the meet Marizu and senior Katie Theissen took the top spots in the 200 back, Marizu finishing in first (2:03.71) with Theissen close behind (2:05.59).

    In the next event, Clapp finished first in the 200 breast with a time of 2:18.95 to help the Illini close in on the Hawkeyes.

    Later, the Illini pulled ahead 123-122 after sweeping the top-three spots in the 100 fly. Keehn took first with a time of 57.78. Finishing in second was freshman Brittany McGowan (58.31) and in third was Ivarson (58.76).

    With two swimming events to go, Clapp took second (2:05.96) and Marizu took third (2:08.06) in the 200 IM to help the Illini tie the Hawkeyes 132-132.

    At the conclusion of the 200 IM, the scores of the one-meter diving were added to the overall scores to make them 144-139 in favor of Iowa heading into the final event.

    Iowa took first in the 400 free relay to clinch the win while the Illini relay team swam by Keehn, junior Anna Johnson and freshmen Kristen Manias and Meghan Mason took second (3:32.00).

    "We just have to continue fine tuning the details, sharpening our skills and racing tight," Novitsky said.

    The Illini jump back into the pool next Saturday, Jan. 24 at 12 p.m. to host Illinois State at ARC pool in Champaign.

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