Nelson Breaks Morris' Hours-Old Record in 200 Fly, Nittany Lions Finish Fourth at Big Ten Championships
Feb. 23, 2008
Columbus, Ohio - After Kailey Morris broke the school record in the 200 butterfly in this morning's prelims, Kelly Nelson broke Morris' record in the finals on Saturday night as she beat Morris' mark by .41 of a second, finishing second in the 200 fly in 1:57.38. As a team, Penn State finished the Big Ten Championships in fourth place, ending their run of seven straight years of finishing in the top three at Big Ten's.
However, despite the end of that run, the Nittany Lions set three new individual school records and saw several other individuals swim lifetime bests. Three more individuals swam NCAA `A' times to automatically qualify for NCAA Championships, giving Penn State a total of eight individuals that have already automatically qualified for NCAAs. Several other swimmers greatly improved their NCAA `B' cuts, putting themselves in a good position to get an NCAA invite with a provisional `B' time.
The Nittany Lions finished with a total of 472 points, 41 points behind third place Indiana and 74 points in front of fifth place Northwestern. Minnesota won the team championships with a total of 660.5 points while Michigan placed second with 609.
Morris had broken a four-year-old school record with her swim in the morning prelims in the 200 fly. But Nelson managed to break it for the second time in a day with her swim, giving her her second second place finish of the championships as well as her second new school record. Earlier in the championships, Nelson also broke her own school record in the 200 free en route to also finishing second in that event. Morris, to her credit, also turned in a solid finals swim, finishing fourth in 1:58.33, slower than her prelims times but still the third-fastest time of her career in the 200 fly. Finishing just behind Morris in fifth place was Karie Haglund in 1:59.64.
Nelson was not the only one to rebreak a new school record that was broken in the morning prelim session. Daphne Skelos shaved nearly another full second off her new record time in the 200 back. After breaking the record this morning with a time of 1:56.57, she took second in the finals and took .93 of a second more off that record with a time of 1:55.65. She also finished third in the 400 IM last night. Skelos was the only Nittany Lion to place in the top 16 of the 200 back.
Stephanie Roop became the eighth different Penn State swimmer to automatically qualify for NCAAs as she swam an `A' time in the 1650 freestyle, finishing fourth place. Roop, who placed fifth in the 1650 free at Big East Championships last year with West Virginia, finished the mile-length course in 16:19.25, the fifth-best time in school history. She was the only Nittany Lion to score in the 1650 free, however, as Sarah Baker just missed out on the points with a 17th place finish. She just missed placing in 16th by .04 of a second, finishing in 16:51.83. Diana Greco also finished just outside of the points in 19th place.
The Nittany Lions had four scorers in the 200 breaststroke, led by Kaitlin O'Brien in third place with a time of 2:14.46. Clare Clemens came in seventh in 2:16.28. In the consolation final, Caitlin Meehan took 12th, improving her time from the prelims by .70 of a second, swimming a time of 2:16.95. Abby Hoisington placed 15th.
The 400 free relay team of Myers, Nelson, DeForrest and Molly Crispell finished sixth in 3:21.51, improving on their previous NCAA `B' time.
Following the conclusion of the championships, both Nelson and Skelos were named to the second team All-Big Ten. Nelson was the high point scorer for the Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions will find out how many more swimmers beyond the eight automatic qualifiers have qualified for NCAAs in two weeks when the NCAA field is announced.