Team Effort Lifts Penn State to Conference Title at 2005 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships

Feb. 19, 2005


BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA - Entering the final day of competition at the 2005 Big Ten Conference Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, Penn State all but had the title locked up with a 145 point advantage over the rest of the conference. But that didn't curb what turned out to be an exciting finale of the championships on Saturday (February 19) at the Cousilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center on the campus of Indiana University.

Despite having a commanding lead throughout most of the championships, the Nittany Lions didn't let up and used their strength in numbers to claim the 2005 Big Ten crown with 693 team points. The Big Ten title is the second in Penn State history, with the first coming in 2002 - and Nittany Lion head coach Bill Dorenkott's second in his six seasons at University Park, Pennsylvania

"At any championship you have your ups and downs," Dorenkott said. "I just think we had more ups than downs. This (Big Ten championship) is something this group really wanted to do and they came out and did it. We won the championship with a total team effort."

The host Hoosiers used a strong performance in the diving competitions throughout the week to take second place honors for the championships. Wisconsin, Michigan and Purdue closed out the top five with scores of 479, 474 and 399, respectively. Rounding out the team competition was Minnesota (314), Northwestern (293), Iowa (218), Illinois (203), Ohio State (199) and Michigan State (84).

The final award count for the championships had the Wolverines with nine events to lead all schools followed by the champion Nittany Lions with four, the Badgers and Hoosiers with three a piece and Ohio State with two titles.

The 200-yard backstroke was the first event in the preliminary session on Saturday morning. Wisconsin's Susan Johnson recorded a top qualifying time of 1:58.21 followed by Penn State's Erin Morris who clocked in at 1:58.24. Both times are "A" standards for the NCAA Championships in March. Additionally, 11 other swimmers made the "B" standard in the backstroke event.



Two more NCAA "A" standards were made in the prelims of the 100-yard freestyle. Michigan's Lindsay Smith and Northwestern's Andrea Hupman qualified first and second with times of 49.19 and 49.39, respectively. The next 21 qualifiers in the event made "B" standard for NCAA's.

Another Wolverine turned in the top qualifying time in the 200-yard breaststroke. Justine Mueller finished her preliminary swim in 2:14.85 for the Maize and Blue. Wisconsin's Amalia Sarnecki qualified second in 2:15.62 while Minnesota's Julia Quinn was third with a time of 2:15.90. All three swimmers along with eight others made the NCAA's "B" standard.

Penn State's Amberle Biedermann was a force at this year's championships. The junior already claimed three Big Ten titles entering the final day of competition winning two relay events and the 100-yard butterfly. Saturday morning's 200-yard butterfly preliminary saw Biedermann set a Cousilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center pool record and a top qualifying time of 1:58.65.

The final preliminary event of the 2005 championships found Indiana again qualifying multiple divers for the finals of the platform diving competition. Hoosier senior Cassandra Cardinell broke the Big Ten, school and pool record with her score of 588.65. Jessica Livingston on Minnesota qualified second with 495.25 followed by IU's Christina Loukas, Lindsay Weigle, and Jade Summerlin.

The longest event in collegiate swimming began the final night of the 2005 Championships. Wisconsin's Carley piper closed out her Big Ten collegiate career with her fourth consecutive conference title in the event with a time of 16:11.67 and another "A" standard for the senior. Additionally, Penn State's Claire Hawley, Margy Keefe and Michigan's Susan Gilliam all made NCAA "A" standard times.

With seven swimmers finishing in the top 16 of the mile-long event, the Nittany Lions added to their lead even further and now had 568 points - 200 more than any other school. Wisconsin squeezed ahead of Indiana for second place with 362 points. The Hoosiers now had 349 points on the championships.

The Badger's claimed their second win of the night when Susan Johnson won the Big Ten title in 1:56.87 in the 200-yard backstroke. The sophomore made it two-for-two in her collegiate career as she won the event at the 2004 championships. Her time was also an NCAA "A" standard as well as Penn State's Erin Morris's second place time of 1:57.94. With the win, Wisconsin cemented its hold on second place with 403 points. Penn State now had 597 first place points with Indiana still third at 366 and Michigan fourth at 345.

Michigan would leapfrog the Hoosiers following the 100-yard freestyle finals. The Wolverine's Lindsay Smith won the event in 48.80 followed by Northwestern's Andrea Hupman, U-M's Amy McCullough and Purdue's Susan Henstschel in fourth place. All four times were good enough for "A" standard qualifications for the NCAA Championships. After 17 of 21 events, Penn State tallied 618 points, Wisconsin 414, Michigan 381 and Indiana 270.

Michigan's charge toward second place continued after Justine Mueller won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:12.81 for an NCAA "A" standard. The Maize and Blue now stood 18 points away from second with a total of 414 points. Penn State's team total was now up to 637.

Ohio State's Griet Buelens took home the 200-yard butterfly championship to conclude the individual swimming portion of the championships. The freshman touched the wall in 1:59.09 to win the title and make an NCAA "B" standard.

The finals of the platform diving competition saw the Hoosiers climb back into the second slot to stay after IU claimed three of the top four spots in the event. Senior Cassandra Cardinell scored a 539.15 to win first place. Teammates Lindsay Weigle and Christina Loukas came in third and fourth respectively while Minnesota's Jessica Livingston claimed second-place honors.

The grand finale of the 2005 championships and the Big Ten season was the 400-yard freestyle relay. Michigan's highly-honored foursome of Kaitlyn Brady, Amy McCullough, Lindsay Smith and Justine Mueller took the title with a time of 3:19.69 followed by Wisconsin and Purdue in 3:20.41 and 3:20.55, respectively.

At the conclusion of the meet, the Big Ten Conference awarded all-conference honors as well as individual awards to the following individuals; Swimmer of the Year - Carly Piper, Wisconsin; Swimmer of the Championship - Justine Mueller, Michigan;Diver of the Championship - Christina Loukas, Indiana; Swimming and Diving Freshman of the Year - Justin Mueller, Michigan; Diver of the Year - Christina Loukas, Indiana; Swimming Coach of the Year - Bill Dorenkott, Penn State; and Diving Coach of the Year - Dr. Jeff Huber of Indiana.

For the first time ever, the conference gave team sportsmanship honors to one inidividual from every squad as selected by her head coach. Those inaugural recipients were; Kirsten Koepcke, Illinois; Cassandra Cardinell, Indiana; Jennifer Skolaski, Iowa; Alexis Goolik, Michigan; Courtney Ellabarger, Michigan State; Bridget McCoy, Minnesota; Amy Mueller, Northwestern; Kirsten Hetrick, Ohio State; Kerry Smith, Penn State; Carrie McCambridge, Purdue; and Andrea Wiesner of Wisconsin.

All-Big Ten First Team honors went to the following athletes; Cassandra Cardinell, Indiana; Christina Loukas, Indiana; Leila Vaziri, Indiana; Kaitlyn Brady, Michigan; Susan Gilliam, Michigan; Amy McCullough, Michigan; Justine Mueller, Michigan; Abby Seskevics, Michigan; Lindsay Smith, Michigan; Julie Broms, Ohio State; Griet Buelens, Ohio State; Amberle Biedermann, Penn State; Dee Dlugonski, Penn State; Sarah Haupt, Penn State; Erin Morris, Penn State; Lauren Preyss, Penn State; Kristen Woodring, Penn State; Susan Johnson, Wisconsin; and Carly Piper of Wisconsin.

Making the All-Big Ten Second Team were; Kristen Bradley, Indiana; Carolyn Sierra, Michigan; Valeria Silva, Michigan; Jessica Livingston, Minnesota; Andrea Hupman, Northwestern; Christy Olin, Northwestern; Claire Hawley, Penn State; Courtney Stanchock, Penn State; Carrie McCambridge, Purdue; Jenny Gelden, Wisconsin; Sarah Hernandez, Wisconsin; Liz Klanderman, Wisconsin; Hannah McClurg, Wisconsin; Amalia Sarnecki, Wisconsin; Anna Trinidad, Wisconsin; and Jackie Vavrek of Wisconsin.