PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, February 17. THE BIG EAST swimming action continued Thursday evening at Trees Pool at the University of Pittsburgh with the men’s and women’s finals of the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 400 medley relay. After the evening’s events, Notre Dame continues its hold on first place in the men’s competition with 626 points and Louisville stands atop the women’s leaderboard with 539.5 points.
The Louisville women swept the 400 IM competition, earning the top three spots on the podium. Freshman Tanja Kylliainen led the pack, finishing in a time of 4:10.40, a new Trees Pool and BIG EAST Championship record. She bested the 11-year-old league record set by Maddy Crippen in 2001. Finishing second for the Cardinals was freshman Abigail Chin in a time of 4:15.31. Senior Stephanie Juncker took third with 4:17.88.
The story was the same for the men’s portion of the 400 IM as UofL’s two final participants finished atop the leaderboard. Senior Carlos Almeida touched the wall first with a time of 3:48.33. Senior Michael Pryor finished second for the Cardinals in 3:50.36. Rounding out the top-three was West Virginia’s August Querciagrossa with a time of 3:52.92.
West Virginia junior Amanda Nugent came from behind to win the women’s 100 butterfly in a time of 53.14, more than a second ahead of the competition. Nugent’s teammate freshman Julie Ogden touched in at 54.27 to complete the one-two sweep for the Mountaineers. Coming in third place was Notre Dame junior Kimberly Holden with a time of 54.41.
On the men’s side, junior William Bass was able to outlast the field to take the title for Notre Dame. Bass finished in 47.03. Coming in second was West Virginia senior Taylor Camp with a time of 47.05. Pittsburgh freshman Kourosh Ahani touched third in 47.44.
In the women’s 200 freestyle, West Virginia junior Rachael Burnett held onto an early lead, taking first place with a time of 1:46.23. Notre Dame captured second and third place in the event, with sophomore Kelly Ryan touching second in 1:47.04. Freshman Suzanne Bessire finished in a time of 1:48.02 to take third for the Irish.
Louisville sophomore Joao De Lucca set multiple records and recorded the championships’ first NCAA “A” cut when he won the 200 freestyle, touching the wall in 1:33.44. He beat the previous Trees Pool record of 1:36.15 (set in 2010) and bested the league record of 1:35.35 (set in 2008). De Lucca will be representing the Cardinals at the National Championship after clearing the cut of 1:33.61. Finishing second was Notre Dame’s Frank Dyer with a time of 1:34.00. UofL’s Alex Burtch rounded out the top-three with a time of 1:36.40.
Freshman Emma Reaney took the women’s 100 breaststroke for Notre Dame with a time of 59.85, the only competitor at the championship to break one minute. Reaney is joined at the top of the podium by Louisville sophomore Gisselle Kohoyda in second place with a time of 1:00.20. Cincinnati freshman Helena Pikhartova finished in third place with a time of 1:01.05.
In the men’s 100 breaststroke, 2011 champion Louisville’s Kameron Chastain successfully defended his title, setting a new Trees Pool record in the process. The sophomore touched first with a time of 53.50, beating the pool record of 53.81 set in 2007. Coming in second place was Notre Dame junior Christopher Johnson with a time of 53.79. Cardinal freshman Addison Bray touched third in 54.25.
The women’s 100 backstroke provided some dramatics as the two-time defending champion was overthrown. ND junior Kimberly Holden held a lead for most of the race but was unable to hold on down the stretch and UofL junior Eszter Povazsay touched first with a time of 54.25. Second place went to WVU sophomore Danielle Smith with a time of 54.36. Holden finished in third, finishing in 54.41.
The individual events concluded with Cardinal Brendon Andrews defending his title as the men’s 100 backstroke champion. The senior broke the Trees Pool and BIG EAST Championship records when he touched in at 46.61. The previous pool and league record was 46.77 set in 2010. Pittsburgh’s Adam Maczewski finished second with a time of 47.36 and West Virginia’s Bryce Bohman touched third with a time of 47.93.
The final events of the evening were the men’s and women’s 400 medley relays. On the women’s side, Notre Dame’s backstroker Kelly Ryan gave the Irish an early lead which was never relinquished. Emma Reaney, Kimberly Holden and Amy Prestinario gave ND a 3:36.28 finish for first place. The Louisville relay team of Eszter Povazsay, Gisselle Kohoyda, Tanja Kylliainen and Aileen Cole earned a second-place finish with a time of 3:38.15. West Virginia’s Danielle Smith, Jenelle Zee, Amanda Nugent and Rachael Burnett touched third in 3:40.20.
The Louisville men capped off the evening with a win in the 400 medley relay. Brendon Andrews, Carlos Almeida, Pedro Oliveira and Joao De Lucca pulled ahead of the pack early and maintained a steady lead throughout, touching the wall in 3:08.84, breaking the Trees Pool and BIG EAST Championship records and narrowly missing the NCAA “A” qualifying time (3:08.22). The Cards upended the old league record of 3:10.95 set in 2010. Finishing second was the Notre Dame team of Bertie Nel, Christopher Johnson, William Bass and Frank Dyer with a time of 3:12.67. Pittsburgh’s Adam Maczewski, Pierre-Antoine Meunier, Kourosh Ahani and Hussein Medhat took third with a time of 3:13.41.
For complete results of the 400-yard IM, 100-yard fly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke and the 400-yard medley relay visit the BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championship Central page and check out the results link.
BIG EAST Championship swimming action continues Feb. 18 with the 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard fly, and the 400-yard freestyle relay. Prelims begin at 10 a.m., followed by the finals at 6 p.m.
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