Women Pick up Six New NCAA ¡®B¡¯ Times on Day One of Bell Grand Prix
Kaitlin O'Brien swam the first NCAA 'A' automatic qualifying time of the year for the women's swimming team as she finished fourth in the 400 IM.
TORONTO, Ont.; November 24, 2006 ¨C The Penn State women¡¯s swimming team put up six new NCAA ¡®B¡¯ provisional qualifying times and also put up its first NCAA ¡®A¡¯ automatic qualifying time of the year and nine swimmers placed in the top eight of seven respective events that were contested on the first day of the Bell Grand Prix swimming meet. Pat Schirk (Pottstown, Pa.) put up the first NCAA ¡®B¡¯ cut of the year for the men¡¯s team in the 200 backstroke to lead the men¡¯s team on the first day. The men also had at least one top eight finisher in five of the seven men¡¯s events that were contested.
As a team, the women are in second place out of a field of 33 teams with 151 points, trailing only the UBC Dolphins, who have 221 points. The Nittany Lions lead third place University of Calgary Swim Club by 37 points. The men sit in fourth place with 139.5 points, which trails the first place University of Calgary Swim club by 38.5 points. There are 37 teams competing on the men¡¯s side.
The three-day meet, which is being hosted by the Etobicoke Swimming Club Team out of Toronto, features mainly club teams from around Canada as well as several members of the Canadian National Team and a few world record holders. It is being held in a short-course meter pool as opposed to the usual short-course yard pool that most NCAA events are contested in.
In just her second swim of the year in the 200 backstroke, Daphne Skelos (Rockville Centre, N.Y.)put up the first NCAA ¡®B¡¯ cut of the meet for the women. Also putting up ¡®B¡¯ cuts for the first time this year were Karie Haglund (Marietta, Ga.), Kelly Nelson (West Chester, Pa.), Kailey Morris (Lewisburg, Pa.) and Megan Palera (Santa Maria, Calif.) in the 400 IM, as well as the 400 freestyle relay team. Kaitlin O¡¯Brien (Caldwell, N.J.) swam the first NCAA ¡®A¡¯ automatic qualifying time of the year for the women¡¯s team as she punched her ticket to the NCAA meet in the 400 IM.
The best swims of the day for the women¡¯s team took place in the 1500 free, the 200 back and the 400 IM. The distance events for the women, which have been the program¡¯s bread and butter during its recent run of dominance at the Big Ten Championships, got off to a rousing start for the Nittany Lions. In the first event of the day, four swimmers placed in the top 13 of the 1500 freestyle. Although the event carried no significance with regard to potential NCAA cuts since the NCAA contests the 1650-yard freestyle and not 1500 meters, it was still the longest event swam so far this year for the Nittany Lion distance swimmers. Returning All-American Nikki Collins (Carmel, Ind.) led the way for Penn State with a third place finish in 16:35.09 while Claire Hawley (Barnstable, Mass.) was just behind her at 16:41.89 in fourth. Jaime Keily (Houston, Tex.) placed ninth and Sarah Baker (Fairfax, Va.) finished 13th.
In the 200 backstroke, Skelos swam the fourth-fastest time in the prelims and then also finished fourth in the finals, coming in at 2:11.72 and improving her prelim time by over 1.5 seconds. She also just missed an NCAA ¡®A¡¯ cut by only .25 of a second. Erin Morris (Fort Wayne, Ind.) finished 15th in 2:16.29.
Penn State dominated the 400 IM, as it had four of the top eight finishers and six of the top 16. O¡¯Brien, also a returning All-American in this event, swam the top prelim time of 4:45.83 in the morning, just .52 of a second off an NCAA ¡®A¡¯ cut. She then came back and made that ¡®A¡¯ cut with a 4:43.86 time in the evening finals, placing her in fourth place. Haglund, Nelson and Morris finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, as they all swam NCAA ¡®B¡¯ provisional times. Palera (13th) and Clare Clemens (Staten Island, N.Y.) (16th) rounded out Penn State¡¯s top 16 finishers in the 400 IM. Palera also put up an NCAA ¡®B¡¯ cut.
In other events, Lyndsey Smith (Westminster, Md.) and Caitlin Meehan (West Chester, Pa.) finished 13th and 16th, respectively, in the 100 breaststroke. Michelle Myers (Boalsburg, Pa.) just missed out on an NCAA ¡®B¡¯ cut by just .07 of a second in qualifying for the finals of the 100 free, where she finished seventh. Also, the 400 freestyle relay team of Nelson, Genie Cheng (Oak Park, Calif.), Myers and Molly Crispell (Boalsburg, Pa.) finished sixth in an NCAA ¡®B¡¯ time of 3:47.96 after swimming the third fastest time in the morning prelims.
Schirk, who has won three backstroke events in his last two meets, swam Penn State¡¯s first NCAA ¡®B¡¯ cut of the year on the men¡¯s side as he finished third in the 200 backstroke in 1:57.26, just under three seconds behind world record holder Ryan Lochte. Schirk had also swam the second-fastest time in the prelims. Two other Nittany Lions in Dan Fimbianti (Mahwah, N.J.) (13th) and Ryan DeWeese (Midlothian, Va.) (16th) also placed in the top 16.
Kyle Miranda (Louisville, Colo.) tied for fifth place in the finals of the 100 breast, narrowly missing an NCAA ¡®B¡¯ cut by just .28 of a second. In the final event of the day for the men, the 400 freestyle relay, the team of Dan Kaiserian (Radnor, Pa.), Basil Kaaki (Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia), Sean Bidermann (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Sean Swanepoel (Lincoln Mead, So. Afr.) finished second in 3:22.12, beating out the third place team by just .02 of a second and improving their prelim time by exactly four seconds.
Elsewhere for the men, Swanepoel placed seventh in the 100 free and Kaiserian placed 10th. Tim Williams knocked nearly eight seconds off his prelim time in the 400 IM as he finished ninth in 4:25.75 while Brian Spittler (Woodstock, Ill.) also earned a second swim in the 400 IM and placed 14th in the finals. The men also swam in two events that are not contested by the NCAA: the 800 free and the 50 butterfly. In the 800 free, Chris Sullivan (Naples, Fla.) led the way with a fifth place finish while Ben Ryan (State College, Pa.) and Max Ettore (Medford, N.J.) finished 11-12. In the 50 fly, Kaaki finished 15th.
Action will get underway on Saturday morning with preliminary heats in seven events each for the men and women. Tomorrow night¡¯s finals will begin at 6:30 p.m. Live scoring is available at the Etobicoke Swimming Club Team¡¯s website www.eswim.ca.
Women - Team Rankings - Through Event 14 1. Ubc Dolphins 221 2. Penn State University 151 3. Univ OF Calgary Swim Club 114 4. Toronto Swim Club 98 5. Club Natation Piscine Parc Oly 91 6. Etobicoke Swimming 90 7. Ernestown Barracuda Swim Club 61 8. Rouge et Or/Universit¨¦ Laval 54 9. Club de natation Beaconsfield 50 9. Calgary Patriots 50 9. Uvic-Pacific Coast Swimming 50 9. Nose Creek Swim Association 50 13. Vernon Kokanee Swim Club 46 14. Simon Fraser Aquatics 44 15. Region Of Waterloo Swim Club 31 16. Club de natation M¨¦gophias 30 17. Cascade 21 18. Club Natation Boucherville 18 19. Club natation Montr¨¦al 17 20. Mount Pearl Marlins 15 21. Langley Olympians Swim Club 14 22. Whitehorse Glacier Bears 12 23. Ohio State University 11 24. North Bay "y" Titan Swim Club 6 25. Scarborough Swim Club 5 25. Club de natation Samak 5 25. Pickering Swim Club 5 25. Newmarket Stingrays 5 29. Red Deer Catalina Swim Club 4 30. Pointe-Claire Swim Club 3 31. Club de Natation Les Riverains 2 31. Club de natation C.S.Q. 2 33. Olympian Swim Club 1 Men - Team Rankings - Through Event 14 1. Univ OF Calgary Swim Club 178 2. Ubc Dolphins 174 3. Club Natation Piscine Parc Oly 163 4. Penn State University 139.5 5. Island Swimming 122 6. Datona Beach Swimming 95 7. Rouge et Or/Universit¨¦ Laval 88.5 8. Pointe-Claire Swim Club 50 9. Region Of Waterloo Swim Club 41 10. Etobicoke Swimming 40 11. Simon Fraser Aquatics 22 12. Edmonton Keyano Swim Club 21 12. Toronto Swim Club 21 14. Unattached Quebec 20 14. ¨¦.N St Lambert 20 16. London Aquatic Club 15 17. Cranleigh 14 18. Barrie Trojan Swim Club 13.5 19. Guelph Marlin Aq Club 13 20. Cascade 12 20. Unb Varsity Reds 12 22. Ddo Swim Team 11 22. Uvic-Pacific Coast Swimming 11 22. Newmarket Stingrays 11 25. Nuevo Leon 10 26. Hamilton Aquatic Club 9 27. Trent University 6.5 28. Dalhousie University Swim Team 5 28. Club de natation C.S.Q. 5 30. West Vancouver Otters 4 31. University of Alberta Pandas a 3 31. Unattached Alberta 3 31. University of Manitoba Bisons 3 31. University of Guelph 3 35. Langley Olympians Swim Club 2 35. Club de natation M¨¦gophias 2 35. Laurentian University 2