NORMAL, Illinois, November 12. THE Illini swimming and diving team continued its best start since 1997 with a 175-123 victory over Illinois State (2-1) Friday to improve to 6-0 on the year. Illinois claimed 13 events on the night and captured two new Horton Pool records in the 200 medley relay and three-meter dive.
“I thought overall it was another full team effort,” head coach Sue Novitsky said. “We had multiple contributors and multiple event winners. I thought we did a nice job of maintaining our focus and competing well. A lot of the girls swam in different events than what they normally swim, but they all stepped up and got the job done.”
In the first event of the night, the 200 medley relay team of Cara Chuang, Rachel Japp Joyce, April McKee and Kristen Manias set the tone with a pool-record time of 1:47.78 to secure the top spot. The finish shattered the previous time of 1:49.14 set by the Illini in 1999.
Illinois went on to claim the next four events, as Courtney Pope won the 1000 free (10:30.72), McKee captured the 200 free (1:52.93), Chuang was victorious in the 100 back (58.63) and Erica Lynn placed first in the 100 breast (1:07.08).
Also posting wins on the night were Kimberly Kalenda in the 50 free (24.78), Caitlin Conroy in the 100 free (53.19), Erin Lamb in the 200 back (2:06.99), Erin Rodriguez in the 400 IM (4:30.77) and Japp Joyce in the 200 breast for her first individual win of the season (2:25.11). The Illini’s 200 free relay team of Manias, Kalenda, Lamb and Pope also was victorious, clocking in at 1:37.45.
On the boards, Lauren Wismer’s pool-best first-place score of 303.75 in the three-meter dive ranks second all-time in school history, while Britni Fisher’s first-place score of 285.30 in the one-meter dive ties her personal best and ranks tied for fourth all-time for the Illini.
In addition to event winners, 12 different Illini finished in the top three in 10 different events, including second-place finishes by Elizabeth Bell in the 50 free (24.82), Kalenda in the 100 free (54.02), Jessica Holz in the 200 back (2:07.13), Torrey Loper in the 500 free (5:07.66) and Alyssa Petruzzello in the 100 fly (58.77).
The Illini will be back in action at the Hawkeye Invitational, Dec. 3-5 in Iowa City.
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