Minnesota Surges into First Place on Day Two of Big Ten Championships

Feb. 18, 2010

Big Ten Swimming & Diving Champoinships Central

Day Two Results

Minnesota surged into first place on the strength of two top finishes during the second day of competition at the Big Ten Championships inside the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Through seven completed events, the Gophers have compiled 204.5 team points and sit just slightly ahead of Michigan (193.5) and Indiana (192) in the team standings. With 182 points Purdue occupies the fourth place position in the team race while Wisconsin maintained its ground in the top five with 150.5 overall tallies.

After entering the day in second place, the Golden Gophers wasted no time in gaining ground as Ashley Steenvoorden claimed top honors in the 500 free (4:39.47). In the last event final of the evening, Kelci Bryant posted a 348.20 mark off the one-meter springboard, besting runner-up  Bianca Alvarez of Ohio State by more than 20 points to win the event in convincing fashion. Her score marked a new meet record, bettering the previous standard set by Indiana's Christina Loukas in 2006 by three full points.  

The Badgers also swam away with two conference titles during Thursday competition. Sophomore Becca Thompson was the common denominator in both championships, leading off the Badgers' winning effort in the 200 free relay (1:28.97) before defending her individual crown in the 50 free.

"It’s very rewarding," Thompson said. "I worked so hard all year long for this and getting into the race and being the defending champion for 50 freestyle just really means a lot to me. It means a lot to represent Wisconsin.”

Michigan's Margaret Kelly captured U-M's lone championship on the day in the 200 individual medley. The victory marked the sixth Big Ten title for the Wolverine senior. Kelly's time of 1:56.01 is a new Big Ten Championships record and automatically qualifies her for the NCAA Championships. The time also broke the two-year-old conference championships record, which she owned, of 1:56.80, set at the 2008 Big Ten Championships.

“I sat down with the team today. We just wanted to come in and leave all that we had in the pool and swim for Michigan as fast as we could," Kelly said after winning the race. "I think we did a great job tonight and everybody really stepped it up. I just tried to do the same that I was preaching to the team.”

Action continues Friday with a preliminary session set for 11 a.m. ET to be followed by finals at 6:30 p.m. A complete schedule of events, as well as live results and live video from the championships, can be found at purduesports.com.