Jessica Aveyard will swim in the NCAA Championships this weekend for the Illini.
March 13, 2000
Junior Anna Christiansen and sophomore Jessica Aveyard will represent the Fighting Illini at the NCAA Championships March 16-18 at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Setting the school record in the 200 back with a time of 1:57.90, Aveyard became the first Illini to automatically qualify for the championships. While Aveyard made the NCAA A standard cut, Christiansen provisionally qualified and will participate in the 400 IM and 200 breast, clocking times of 4:18.47 and 2:16.34, respectively. Christiansen and Aveyard mark the sixth straight year under head coach Jim Lutz that UI has sent athletes to the NCAA Championships. Lutz has had eight NCAA qualifiers in his tenure at Illinois.
"I think they have a legitimate shot of scoring," Lutz said. "The short-course meters favors Jessica and Anna, and they are both swimming better than they were going into Big Tens."
Placing the highest for the Illini at the Big Ten Championships, Christiansen finished third in the 200 breast, in 2:16.34. The West Newbury, Mass., native owns the school record in the 200 breast with a mark of 2:17.43. She ranks second at Illinois in the 200 IM (2:04.70) and 400 IM (4:19.85). Christiansen will be making her second trip to the NCAA Championships, where she placed 19th in the 400 IM and 38th in the 500 free as a freshman.
Coming into the season on the Illini's all-time list in the 200 back, Aveyard went on to set the school record at the Big Ten Championships and finished fifth in the finals, in 1:59.21. Aveyard, of Shamong, N.J., placed second in the 200 back over the summer at the United States Northeast Junior National Championships.
In addition to making the NCAAs, Christiansen and Aveyard are two of six Illini swimmers to qualify for the 2000 Summer Olympic Trials.