KEY LARGO, Fla., December 20. UNIVERSITY of Tennessee Women’s Head Coach Dan Colella’s swim squad broke from a week of intense training in Florida with a competition at the inaugural Orange Bowl Classic Swimming Invitational (formerly known as the Key West Relay Extravaganza) in the Forida Keys today.
The orange-clad contingent won the invitational by claiming nine of the 12 event titles. Meanwhile, former Lady Vol Pam Hanson captured the remaining three crowns. The meet featured squads from Alma College, Florida International and Youngstown State in addition to the Orange and White.
“These meets are typically low key,” Colella said. “The Orange Bowl Classic is a meet that the student-athletes tend to swim through because it falls in the middle of a week of hard training. Since there was a reception last night and an awards presentation with the new tie-in to the Orange Bowl, everyone on the team perked up. They did a really nice job of hosting the invitational. We were pleased with the results, especially after the week of training.”
Tennessee opened up the invitational in dominating fashion as it went one-two in the 200m short-course medley relay. The Big Orange captured the event title with a 2:00.97, while the second-place squad swam to a 2:08.07 finish.
In the initial individual competition of the day, freshman Misty Cain (Marietta, Ga.) captured the 400m freestyle with a 4:30.03, while sophomore Randi Vogel (Maineville, Ohio) took second with a 4:30.15. Junior Elizabeth Wueste (Norcross, Ga.) rounded out the UT effort in the event with a fifth-place 4:50.22.
Tennessee loaded up in the 50m butterfly by capturing the top-seven spots. Sophomore Jacque Fessel (Cincinnati, Ohio) won with a 29.80, while senior Taryn Ternent (Edenvale, South Africa) took second with a 30.80 and freshman Julia Lutz (Lilburn, Ga.) claimed third with a 31.18. Freshman Tiffany Clay (Mason, Ohio) finished in fourth with a 31.22, while sophomore Betsy Brockman (Batavia, Ohio) took fifth with a 31.54 and Wueste finished in sixth with a 31.60. Sophomore Abbi Terveer (Lima, Ohio) claimed seventh place with a 31.76, while freshman Meghan Keefer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) took 11th with a 32.93 and freshman Sarah Ridgway (St. Croix, Virgin Islands) finished in 13th with a 33.94.
The 50m fly also marked the debut of the first two-sport Lady Vol student-athlete since 1999-2000, when Mandy Bergey competed for the volleyball team in the Fall of 1999 and finished out the competitive season as a pole vaulter on the track & field team in the spring of 2000, as junior Kristen McGrath (Durango, Colo.) swam to a 16th-place finish with a 34.55.
Hanson claimed the next event title with a 1:04.12 in the 100m backstroke, while freshman Elizabeth Christy (Indianapolis, Ind.) took second with a 1:08.91. Freshman Ashley Yeager (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) took third with a 1:08.92, while junior Jessica Blevins (Bluefield, W.Va.) finished in eighth place with a 1:20.23.
In the 50m breaststroke, Clay dominated with a 34.35, while Brockman was the runner-up with a 35.80. Freshman Megan Tomes (Cincinnati, Ohio) claimed third place with a 36.18, while Terveer finished in seventh with a 39.56.
Terveer rebounded in the 100m freestyle by claiming the event crown with a 59.17. Fessel took third place with a 1:02.69, while Cain took fifth with a 1:03.12 and Keefer turned in a 1:03.28 to finish in sixth place. Ridgway posted a 1:06.15 to claim 12th place to close out the UT presence in the event.
In the 100m butterfly, Fessel raced to a 1:06.39 to win the event in front of teammate Yeager, who turned in a 1:08.74. Lutz took sixth place with a 1:10.94 followed by Wueste in eighth with a 1:12.50.
Hanson returned in the 50m backstroke to claim her second title with a 30.61. Meanwhile, Ternent was the runner-up with a 31.54 and Christy claimed third place with a 32.55. Blevins finished in fourth with a 33.31, while Clay claimed sixth place with a 34.54.
In the 100m breaststroke, Brockman captured the title with a 1:17.24, while Vogel ended up in fourth with a 1:21.42 clocking.
In the next event, the 50m freestyle, Tennessee entered nearly its entire roster as Tomes claimed the crown with a 27.77. Yeager finished in second with a 28.27, while Christy tied for third with a 28.30. Keefer claimed fifth place with a 29.02, followed by Blevins with a 29.06 for sixth place. Lutz posted a 30.20 to tie for 10th place, while Cain clocked a 30.69 for 14th place and Ridgeway turned in a 30.70 to claim 15th place. McGrath took 16th place with a 31.26 to close out UT’s effort in the event.
Hanson concluded her personal trifecta with a title in the 200m IM with a 2:18.60, while Tomes took second with a 2:26.57. Vogel came in third with a 2:30.16, while Ternent claimed fourth with a 2:33.76 clocking.
Tennessee concluded the day with a relay win in the 200m freestyle relay with a 1:50.57 clocking, while its second squad took fourth with a 1:59.45.