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Feb. 23, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; February 23, 2013-- Another evening at the Big Ten Championships produced one Big Ten Champion, one NCAA automatic qualifying time, two school records and a host of NCAA B Cut times for the No. 24 Penn State women's swimming and diving squad at the University Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
The third event of the evening produced the first school record in the pool as Alyson Ackman (Montreal, Quebec) qualified for the 200 freestyle finals in a season-best 1:45.37 before blazing the lanes in the finals to break her second school record of the championships. The rookie clocked a 1:44.83 to win the Big Ten title and break Kelly Nelson's school record in the 200 freestyle. Caitlyn Karr qualified for the B Finals and grabbed a new personal-best in the process, swimming 1:47.35 in the prelims and 1:47.75 in the finals.
Paige Whitmire (Lederach, Pa.) came close to breaking the school record in the 100 backstroke last season, but fell just short of Sarah Haupt's 2006 school standard of 53.03. In 2013, the senior blew away the school record in the prelims of the event on Friday when she touched the wall in 52.80. That mark was an NCAA B Cut and she followed that with a third place showing and a time of 53.17 in the finals.
Casey Fazio (Secaucus, N.J.) and Mackenzie Powers (Sycamore, Ill.) both qualified for the B Finals and placed 12th and 15th, respectively. Fazio swam 54.53 in the prelims and 54.57 in the finals, while Powers clocked a 54.04 in the prelims and swan the finals in 54.80.
The opening event on the third night of finals was the 400 medley relay and the team of Whitmire, Merritt Krawczyk (Kingwood, Texas), Powers and Ackman kicked off the night with a fourth place showing in the event. It was the fourth relay of the event of the championships and the Nittany Lions have claimed an NCAA A Cut time in two of them, touching the wall in 3:34.10 on Friday to post the automatic qualifying time for the national championships.
Powers followed the relay performance with a fourth place finish in the 100 butterfly, while teammate Katie Rowe (Glenville, N.Y.) and Carolyn Fittin (Sea Grit, N.J.) both qualified for the B Finals. In qualifying for the A Finals, Powers swam a season-best time of 52.80 before touching in 53.12 in the finals to collect two more NCAA B Cut times in the event. Rowe finished second in the B Finals and 10th overall with a personal best time of 53.82 in the prelims and 54.19 in the finals, while Fitting also swam a personal best in the prelims, 53.84, before swimming 54.48 in the finals.
The trio of Gabi Shishkoff (Franklin, Mass.), Chelsea Weedman (Poway, Calif.) and Amy Modglin (Fort Myers, Fla.) all qualified for the finals of the 400 IM and scored some major points for the Blue and White to start the individual swimming finals on the third night. Shishkoff boasted the top qualifying time in the group at 4:13.82 and bettered that mark in the finals to finish fifth overall in the finals at 4:12.77. Finishing sixth in the finals was Weedman in 4:13.21, besting her prelims time of 4:14.05, and Modglin swam 4:16.97 to finish eighth in the finals after touting a time of 4:15.06 in the prelims.
The A Finals of the 100 breaststroke also featured a pair of Nittany Lions, as freshman Melissa Rodriguez (Chihuahua, Mexico) and Krawczyk each boasted top seven finishes. Rodriguez swam a team-best time of 1:01.42 in the prelims and followed up that career-best effort with a time of 1:01.44 in the finals to finish sixth overall. Krawczyk boasted a time of 1:01.67 in the prelims and finished seventh in the finals with a mark of 1:01.70.
Minnesota continues to lead the championships with 573.5 points and Indiana held steady in second place with 422.5 points. The Nittany Lions continue to hold down the third spot with 342.5 points, followed by Ohio State's 263 points, Purdue's 238.5 points and Michigan's 221 points. Wisconsin has 195 points to sit in seventh, Nebraska stands in eighth with 137 points and Northwestern's 131 points are ninth. Iowa (98 pts), Michigan State (46 pts) and Illinois (42 pts) round out the team scoring.
The final day of the Big Ten Championships begins with the preliminary at Noon on Saturday, Feb. 23 and the finals will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET.