Finals Set For Day One

Feb. 8, 2007



The 2007 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships kicked off this morning at the University Aquatic Center in Minneapolis with three preliminary swimming events.


In opening preliminary competition, all of the top 16 finishers advancing to the highly competitive 500-yard freestyle finals qualified provisionally for the NCAAs. Wolverine sophomore Emily Brunemann touched the wall first at 4:46.10 to narrowly beat out Gabby Maddalena of Wisconsin by nearly two-tenths of a second. The top eight swimmers, who will be swimming in the championship heat tonight, include a young bunch that consist of six underclassmen (three freshman and three sophomore apiece), as well as two podium finishers from last year's championships. Defending Big Ten champion, Yuen Kobayashi finished third while Minnesota's own Christine Jennings finished fifth in prelims, after a third place finish last year.


In the 200-yard individual medley prelim, the 16 finals-bound swimmers again qualified with B-standard times for nationals. The Wolverines will again take the coveted four lane in tonight's finals as freshman Margaret Kelly set the pace with a blazing time of 1:58.30 to garner a NCAA `A' cut time. Close behind was Badger Yi Ting Siow, who also qualified in NCAA `A' cut. Karie Haglund of Penn State, sixth place finisher in last year's championships, rounded out the top three in the event.


Wisconsin junior Jackie Vavrek sprinted to a season-best time in the 50-yard freestyle prelim, finishing in 22.39 seconds for first. Vavrek, who tied for seventh in the event last year, earned an A-standard NCAA qualification time. The Badger was chased by two-time reigning champion Kaitlyn Brady who took second and last year's runner-up Stacy Busack (MINN) and Lindsey Smith (MICH) who tied for third with a time of 22.75. Northwestern's Andrea Hupman rounded out the top four finishers, all of whom automatically qualified for the NCAA meet.


The 200-yard freestyle relay will kick off finals tonight at 7 p.m. CST, while the 400-yard medley relay will conclude Thursday's competition.


46 divers competed in the one-meter Thursday afternoon and after five dives the top eight advanced to the finals. Senior standout Amanda Miller lead the pack boasting a prelim score of 325.30. Teammate Ashley Karnes made the cut in seventh to place two Boilermakers in the finals. However, it was Indiana who advanced three divers into the championship finals, including defending champion Christina Loukas who took second behind Miller. Lindsay Weigle followed in third and freshman Brittney Feldman finsihed fifth.