March 22, 2004
Wisconsin earned its highest finish in program history last week and was the Big Ten's top team finisher, after the Badgers placed 10th at the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas. Indiana finished the meet 12th, followed closely by Big Ten Champion Michigan in 13th, and Penn State in 15th. Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Purdue also scored points at the Championships.
Big Ten Swimmer of the Year Bethany Pendleton and junior Carly Piper led the way for Wisconsin, as both athletes earned All-America honors. Pendleton finished fourth in the 400-meter individual medley and fifth in the 200. Piper was awarded All-America status for the third consecutive year after she finished sixth in the 400-meter freestyle, seventh in the 200 free, and 11th in the 1,500-meter free. Sophomore Amalia Sarnecki and freshman Susan Johnson swam their way to honorable mention All-America awards. The Badgers top relay finish was in the 400-meter freestyle relay where the quartet of Sarah Hernandez, Anna Trinidad, Piper, and Pendleton placed seventh.
Indiana scored big points at the national meet behind the efforts of freshman diver Lindsay Weigle. Weigle placed 15th on the three-meter board at her first NCAAs, and fourth on platform, an event in which she was the only rookie to qualify for finals. The Hoosiers also flexed their muscle in the 400-meter IM when Brooke Taflinger, Kristen Bradley, and Erin Gorlesky finished ninth, 10th, and 11th, respectively. The team finish marks the fourth consecutive year Indiana has placed in the top-16 nationally.
After winning the Big Ten title last month, the Wolverines came back to finish 13th in College Station. Michigan's best finish came in the 800-meter freestyle relay, an event the Wolverines also won at the Conference meet. The foursome of Lindsey Smith, Susan Gilliam, Emily-Clare Fenn, and Amy McCullough swam their way to All-America status by placing seventh in the event.
Penn State earned 10 All-America and six honorable mention honors, while recording the most points (101) in team history. Sarah Haupt, a two-time Conference champion in the 100 backstroke, won the Lions' top place at the meet, finishing third in the 100-meter backstroke. Penn State also placed as the top Big Ten team in the 200- (5th) and 400-meter (4th) medley relays.
Illinois' Ilkay Dikmen swam a personal best time in the 200-meter breaststroke to finish 15th. Several divers from the Conference also made a splash at the meet as Minnesota's Rebecca Cornthwaite and Ohio State's Ashley Bourland finished 11th and 12th, respectively on platform, while Carrie McCambridge of Purdue placed 12th on the three-meter board.
Auburn University won its third consecutive NCAA championship, scoring 569 points, followed by Georgia (431) and Arizona (369).