Penn State Leads Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships after Two Days of Record-Breaking Competition

Feb. 17, 2005

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BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA - Like the opening night of the 2005 Big Ten Conference Women's Swimming and Diving Championships (Wednesday, February 16), the second evening of finals competition saw more records fall and top times set here Thursday (February 17) at the Cousilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center on the campus of Indiana University.

Defending champion Michigan entered the second day of competition with a one-point advantage over Penn State with 73 and 72 points respectively. Rounding out the standings after the first day of competition was Wisconsin in third place with 67 points followed by Indiana with 58, Purdue with 56, Minnesota with 50, Iowa with 42 points, Illinois at 38, Northwestern at 36 and Ohio State and Michigan State tied with 34.

The morning preliminaries saw several record times set as well as many swimmers qualify for the NCAA Championships with "A" and "B" standards.

In the preliminaries of the 500-yard freestyle to start the day, 13 of the 16 top swimmers posted NCAA qualifying times with three of the "A" standard variety. Michigan sophomore Susan Gilliam notched the top time with a Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center record of 4:43.95, while Penn State sophomore Erin Morris qualified with a second-best time of 4:44.09 and Wisconsin senior Carly Piper turned in the third-best prelim time of 4:45.38.

In the 200-yard individual medley preliminary, another pool record went down as Michigan freshman Justine Mueller had the fastest qualifying swim with an "A" standard time of 1:59.77.  Wisconsin sophomore Andrea Wiesner was second with a 2:01.00 and her teammate junior Anna Trinidad came in third in 2:01.36. In addition to Mueller's "A" standard performance, nine "B" standards were seen in the event.
The final swimming prelim of the afternoon was the 50-yard freestyle. Penn State's Dee Dlugonski set the top qualifying mark, touching the wall in 22.80 to make the "A" standard for NCAA's in March. Also making the "A" grade was Michigan's Lindsay Smith (22.84) and Kaitlyn Brady (22.86) as well as Purdue's Susan Hentschel (22.86).



For the final prelim of the morning teams took to the boards for the one-meter diving qualifications. Indiana moved four divers into the finals - all qualifying in the top six - with freshman Christina Loukas notching the top score of 325.20 for a facility record.

Kicking off the evening of finals competition was the third relay final of the championships - the 200-yard freestyle.  In keeping with the theme of the weekend, the Wolverines set a school record, Cousilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center pool, Big Ten Conference and Big Ten meet record, winning the relay event in 1:29.56. Kaitlyn Brady, Amy McCullough, Abby Seskevics, Lindsay Smith also made the "A" standard for the NCAA Championships with the win as well as boosting U-M's lead to 11 points over Penn State with the score between the two teams now 113-111. Wisconsin maintained third place overall with 101 points and an NCAA "A" standard second place finish of 1:30.73 in the event. The Badger relay team featured Sarah Hernandez, Anna Trinidad, Jackie Vavrek and Hannah McClurg.

Purdue, Penn State, Illinois - with a school record time of 1:31.97 - Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota and Michigan State all made the "B" standard for NCAA's which will be at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in mid-March.

The final of the 500-yard freestyle was the first individual event of the evening. Olympic gold medalist Carley Piper set a pool record, winning the event in 4:42.00. Piper also made good enough time for an "A" standard despite already qualifying the event during the regular season. Penn State's Erin Morris also made an "A" standard with her second place finish of 4:42.17. Additionally, 12 of the other 14 swimmers in the event made the "B" standard for NCAA's (six from the championship heat and six from the consolation heat).

With eight swimmers in the two brackets of the 500-yard freestyle, Penn State was able to jump out to a sizeable lead over the rest of the pack. The Nittany Lions now had 179 points with the Wolverines second at 129 points, the Badgers third at 121 followed by the Golden Gophers, Hoosiers and Boilermakers with 92, 89 and 88 points respectively.

Penn State's lead would increase with the next race on the docket - the 200-yard individual medley. Michigan's Justine Mueller won the event and broke her own pool record with a time of 1:57.78 followed by Wisconsin's Anna Trinidad who clocked in at 2:00.42 for second place. Both swimmers made "A" standard times while the next seven swimmers made "B" standard.

In the event, the Nittany Lions and Badgers each had three competitors which boosted their team scores to 211 and 166 - and first and second place respectively. The Maize and Blue fell to third at 149 points with Indiana (109) and Purdue (102) also boosting its scores above the century mark.

The final swimming event of the evening was also the shortest. The 50-yard freestyle saw Michigan claim the top two spots with Kaitlyn Brady winning it in 22.48 and Lindsay Smith touching the wall in 22.78 for second place. Both times are also NCAA "A" standards. The next 12 swimmers in the event all made the "B" standard for NCAA's

The first and second place finishes bumped Michigan back into second place with 191 points over Wisconsin's total of181.After six events, Penn State remained in command with 238 points with Purdue (fourth place,124 points), Indiana (fifth place, 120 points) and Minnesota (sixth place, 103 points) rounding out the top six.

The final event of the second day of competition was the one-meter springboard. With four divers in the finals, the host Hoosiers looked to bring home some individual hardware as well as jump up in the team standings. The Cream and Crimson did just that with freshman Christine Loukas capturing the Big Ten Conference title with 332.70 points, in the process breaking her school and pool record she set earlier in the day.

The win gave Indiana 183 points to finish out day two in third place. Penn State remained in first with 238 points, 39 ahead of second place Michigan. Wisconsin fell to fourth after the diving event with 181 points followed by Purdue in fifth at 145, Minnesota in sixth at 122, Iowa in seventh at 91 points, Illinois in eighth place with 85 points, with Northwestern (83 points), Ohio State (80) and Michigan State (53) rounding out the team standings.

The penultimate day of competition kicks off Friday (February 18) with preliminaries at 11:00 a.m. eastern time here at the Cousilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center on the campus of Indiana University. Finals tomorrow are set for 7:00 pm eastern time.