BUFFALO, March 12. DRURY'S Lady Panther women's swimming and diving team maintains a narrow margin over the three-time defending national champions Truman State after two days of competition at the 23rd NCAA Division II Championships.
Drury leads the TSU Bulldogs, its intra-state Missouri rival, 291-286, with U Cal San Diego in third place with 251 points. On the men's side the Panthers, defending champs, trail Cal. State University-Bakersfield, 381-286. The University of North Dakota is in third place with 274 points.
"We are still holding on on the women's side. It will probably go back and forth the rest of the weekend between us and Truman State. On the men's side it looks like CSU-Bakersfield is beginning to pull away and we are in a good fight with North Dakota for second place," said Panther head coach Brian Reynolds.
"We are swimming well with a lot of best times so far and we will be swimming some of our stronger events in the next two days. We hope to hold off Truman on the women's side and make a run at Bakersfield and hold off North Dakota on the men's side."
The day's action was highlighted by a pair of Panther wins in the same event as sophomore medleyist Jakub Jiracek, who just missed the Dib. II record in the 200 IM opening night with his 1:48.48 victory (.03 off the mark) won the 400 IM tonight in a record 3:50.67.
Were he eligible to compete in the Div. I championship at Long Island in two weeks, his time would have met the qualifying standard. But he'll have to be content with a record-breaking Div. II swim, smashing the old mark of 3:52 by former Panther Macin Malinski — a Polish Olympian — from 1999.
Not to be outdone by her male counterpart, Drury freshman Skye Bloffwitch, a native of Terrigal, Australia, claimed top honors with a time of 4:24.51. Cindy Ong, a junior from Malaysia, finished second in the 100 butterfly with a school record 55.33. Alexis Perdoma, a sophomore from Caracas, Venezuela took third in the men's 100 butterfly with a Panther record 48.82.
Bloffwitch has "been making a name for herself" in New South Wales swimming according to Aussie Hall of Fame coach Forbes Carlile. She'll have an opportunity to try for a spot on her country's Olympic team when the Trials begin March 27 at the Sydney Aquatic Centre, site of the last Olympic swim competition.
North Dakota's Fernando Alves was winner of the 100 fly in 47.77, off his pr and Fighting Sioux school record of 47.11 from last season. Alves is a Brazilian native who'll be after a spot on his country's team for Athens at their trials in May in Rio.