Prelims Heat Up Day Two

Feb. 9, 2007

Championship Central



Minneapolis, Minn. - Outside it was 4 degrees with a wind chill of -11 degrees, yet inside the University Aquatic Center things were heating up in this morning's preliminaries on the second day of Big Ten Championship action.


Fourth-place overall after day one of competition, two-time defending team champion Penn State came out ready to make a surge up the leader board. Three Nittany Lions qualified for the 400-yard individual medley finals as sophomore Kaitlin O'Brien touched the wall first in 4:14.14. O'Brien was followed by teammates Megan Palera in third and Karie Haglund in sixth. Hoosier freshman Ashley Jones finished second, bettering her seed time by four seconds (4:18.46).


The next event featured another Kaitlyn pacing the field as defending title holder Kaitlyn Brady of Michigan touched the wall first in the 100-yard butterfly event with a time of 53.47. Following closely behind her was freshman teammate Margaret Kelly who garnered a NCAA A-standard time on the swim. The finals showcase three other swimmers from last year's finals including: Purdue's Carlene Takaki, Michigan's Payton Johnson and Indiana's Annica Lofstedt.


In the 200-yard freestyle prelims, Michigan once again touched the wall first, as the 2006 title holder and Big Ten record holder Lindsey Smith controlled the pace with a time of 1:47.66. Nittany Lion Kelly Nelson came into the event with the seventh-fastest seed time, but came out with a second-place finish and an improved 1:48.36 time. Last year's bronze medalist, Yuen Kobayashi (MINN) maintained a solid pace and will advance to the finals after placing third in a time of 1:48.64.


New faces littered the top of the 100-yard breaststoke prelim standings as Hoosier Sarah Stockwell finished first in 1:02.52. Freshman Lyndsey Smith (PSU) finished second in 1:03.04 and Wildcat Jessie Bailis finished third with a time of 1:03.23.


After leading her team to a first-place victory in the 400-yard medley relay last night, Leila Vaziri proved she had a lot more in her as she gave the Hoosiers another swimmer in lane four in tonight's finals. Vaziri sprinted to her first NCAA A-standard time in the event (53.78) while freshman teammate Presley Bard tagged along, claiming second and also punching her ticket to the NCAA Championships in March.


The 200-yard medley relay kicks off finals action tonight at 7 p.m. CST sharp. Along with the preliminary events swam this morning, the 800-yard freestyle relay will also take place tonight.


Three-meter diving prelims begin shortly at 1 p.m. CST.