Nelson Rebreaks School Record in 200 Free; Nittany Lions in Fourth Place After Second Day of Big Ten Championships
Feb. 22, 2008
Columbus, Ohio - Penn State's women's swimmers swam more fast times in Friday night's finals session but when the swimming was over for the night, the Nittany Lions found themselves one spot lower than they did after last night, in fourth place. Penn State has 325 points but trails third place Indiana by just 10 points. Michigan is in second with 407 points and Minnesota leads the competition with 420.5 points. The Nittany Lions will have three of their strongest events contested tomorrow.
On the day, the Nittany Lions swam to two new NCAA `A' times as both Daphne Skelos and Kelly Nelson swam `A' times in the morning prelims and then each lowered them in the evening. Penn State's swimmers also swam to four new NCAA `B' times and lowered three other previous `B' times.
The best performance of the night for the Nittany Lions was by Nelson, who, after finishing first in the morning prelims with a new school and pool record, placed second in the finals of the 200 free. Her new pool record was short-lived as it was broken by Andrea Hupman of Northwestern, who finished first with a new Big Ten meet record time but Nelson knocked a few more hundreths of a second off her new school record time by finishing in 1:46.29, exactly 1.01 seconds better than her own previous school record.
In the `B' finals of the 200 free, Sarah Baker knocked almost two seconds off her prelim time, leading the field in that heat by finishing ninth in 1:47.59, just half a second off an NCAA `A' time and putting her in good shape for an NCAA invitation. Molly Crispell finished 11th in a time of 1:48.94, her fastest time of the year. Stephanie Roop rounded out the Nittany Lion quarter in the 200 free as she placed 15th in 1:50.78.
Kaitlin O'Brien's two-year run at the Big Ten individual champion in the 400 IM came to and end as despite swimming the best Big Ten's finals time of her career on Friday. She placed fourth in 4:11.41, quicker than any of her two previous finals times at Big Ten's in the 400 IM and the third-fastest time of her career in the 400 IM. Only her two swims at the Princeton Invitational earlier this year were fastest in her career. Still the Big Ten record holder, O'Brien will head to NCAA's next month as one of the top seeds in the 400 IM.
Skelos finished just in front of O'Brien in third place in 4:11.14, lowered her `A' time from the prelims by .41 of a second. Clare Clemens finished eighth, the same place she finished in prelims. Karie Haglund finished 11th, swimming her fastest time of the year of 4:19.70. Kailey Morris placed 14th in 4:20.96.
In the finals of the 100 breaststroke, defending champion Lyndsey Smith finished eighth while Abby Hoisington finished 11th and Caitlin Meehan placed 13th. All three swam slightly slower times in the evening than they had in the morning. Meehan and Hoisington have already qualified for NCAA's while Smith put herself in a good position to do the same with her morning swim in that event.
Michelle Myers put up a sixth place finish in the 100 back. Already owning an NCAA `A' time in that event from earlier this year, Myers swam a pair of `B' times in the event today, finishing the finals in :54.69, faster than her time in last year's finals but one place lower. Kaitlyn Ferguson placed 13th in the consolation final, finishing in :55.51 in what was her third swim of the night.
Earlier in the night, Ferguson also placed 16th in the finals of the 100 butterfly, giving Penn State points in an event that it did not score in last year. Ferguson also swam on the 200 medley relay team with Hoisington, Nelson and Myers that placed sixth in a time of 1:40.79, just .01 of a second behind fifth place Northwestern. The time lowered Penn State's previous `B' time from earlier this year.
The 800 free relay team wrapped up the night for the Nittany Lions as Baker, Crispell, O'Brien and Nelson swam to a fourth place finish in 7:13.96, almost two seconds better than the team's time from last year and nearly four full seconds better than the team's previous NCAA `B' cut from earlier this year.
Despite falling a spot in the team standings on Friday, the Nittany Lions remain in good shape heading into the final day of the championships on Saturday. Penn State will have the 1650 free, the 200 breast and the 200 fly, three events in which they are very strong in. The 100 free, 200 back and 400 free relay will also be contested tomorrow along with platform diving, although Penn State does not compete in that event.
Live scoring of all of Saturday's action is available here.