Feb. 10, 2007
Indiana wasted no time jump starting the day by placing three Hoosiers into the 200-yard backstroke championship finals tonight. Freshman Presley Bard cruised to first place, putting together one of the best races of her career. She beat the rest of the field by a full second and earned the top seed in the finals as well as an A-standard qualifying mark with a time of 1:55.61. Her teammates Leila Vaziri and Ashley Jones placed fourth and sixth, respectfully. After missing last year's championship cut by .61, Wisconsin's Susan Johnson returns as a two-time champion in the event. Johnson claimed the No. 2 spot in the finals in a prelim time of 1:56.79. Keeping a low profile was defending title holder Kaitlyn Brady (MICH) who finished fifth. Brady is joined by teammate Hannah Smith who will advance to the finals after a 1:57.26 time for third while also securing a spot back in Minneapolis for the NCAA Championships.
The 100-yard freestyle field should know each other quite well. Seven of the eight swimmers return to the championship finals lead by defending title holder in Illinois' Barbie Viney. Michigan's Lindsey Smith touched the wall next with a provisional qualifying time of 49.50 for second. Last year's runner-up Andrea Hupman (NU) clocked in at 50.01 for third, barely edging Indiana's Annica Lofstedt.
Viney's teammate Meghan Farrell finished next with a time of 50.18 followed closely by two Minnesota swimmers in the sixth and seventh spots. Stacy Busack timed a 50.35 finish, and Meredith McCarthy notched a 50.24 time for the Gophers. Freshman Emily Wong (NU) rounds out the championship final lineup with an eighth place time of 50.50.
Wisconsin freshman Yi Ting Siow came into the Big Ten Championships already with a ticket to the NCAA meet. Her seed time of 2:11.24 was a little over second seconds faster than the A-standard time. Siow breezed to a first place performance in the preliminary race, passing the field by more than two seconds, finishing at 2:13.10. The Hoosier's took a two-three finish with Sarah Stockwell clocking in at 2:15.96 for second followed by freshman teammate Amilee Smith in 2:16.00. 2006 runner-up, Justine Mueller reached the wall .01 seconds later in 2:16.01 for fourth.
Penn State secured the next three spots with Caitlin Meehan (2:16.45), Clare Clemens (2:17.01) and Kaitlin O'Brien (2:17.03) taking fifth, sixth and seventh place finishe,s respectfully. Indiana's Abby Cooper rounds out the eight-swimmer championship race with her time of 2:17.43.
Carlene Takaki pulled ahead of the field in the final stretch to secure the coveted lane four and the possibility of Purdue's first title in tonight's 200-yard butterfly final. The reigning conference champion, Takaki clocked in at 1:58.72 for first place and NCAA `A' cut time.
Penn State increased the number of swimmers in tonight's finals to seven after taking consecutive finishes once again. Penn State's Kelly Nelson touched the wall for second at 1:59.35 while teammate Kailey Morris edged out Karie Haglund by .01 seconds to take third in 1:59.36. Michigan's Payton Johnson claimed fifth in 1:59.85 and two Buckeyes took sixth and seventh places, respectfully. Grie Buelens touched the wall in 2:00.09 and Gulsah Gunenc followed in 2:00.40 for Ohio State. Indiana's Allison Kay completes the lineup for tonight's championship final.
The platform diving preliminary competition is currently underway at the University Aquatic Center. The 1650-yard freestyle finals competition will begin at approximately 4:30 CT and will continue throughout the afternoon. The competition has been dominated by Minnesota all season. The Gophers' Yuen Kobayashi ranks first in the event with a time of 16:18.83.
The championships grand finale begins at 7:00 p.m. CT when, in addition to these events, conference-swimming champions will be crowned in the 400-yard freestyle relay and 1,650-yard freestyle. Check back to BigTen.org for live results and continuing coverage of the 2007 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.