Lions Near Clinching of Women’s Big Tens; One Point Separates IU & Wisconsin for Second

BLOOMINGTON, IN, February 19. THE 14th-ranked Penn State women’s swimming and diving team won three events, and placed 19 different individuals in seven events Friday to take a commanding lead heading into the final day of the Big Ten Championships.

No. 18 Indiana women's swimming and diving moved up to second place on Feb. 18 after the divers notched four of the top eight spots, and sophomore Leila Vaziri seized the 100-yard backstroke title. With a haul of 340 points, Indiana stands in second behind Penn State's tally of 485 points at the 2005 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center, per host reports.

At the completion of the evening session, Penn State owned a commanding over the Hoosiers with Wisconsin a close third at 339 points, while Michigan held fourth place with 308. Purdue placed fifth with 255, while Minnesota was sixth with 211 and Northwestern was seventh with 191. Iowa opened up the lower tier of teams with an eighth-place tally of 174 points, with Ohio State in ninth at 141, Illinois in 10th with 137 and Michigan State in 11th with 62 points.

In the opening event of the evening's swims, Penn State's quartet of junior Sarah Haupt, senior Kristen Woodring, junior Amberle Biedermann and sophomore Lauren Preyss claimed the relay championship in the 400-yard medley relay with a B-cut time of 3:38.79, which narrowly missed breaking the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center record by .01. Wisconsin's contingent of sophomore Susan Johnson, junior Amalia Sarnecki, freshman Jenny Gelden and junior Sarah Hernandez took second with a 3:39.21, while Purdue's squad of freshman Jenae Gill, freshman Jennifer Lavers, sophomore Carlene Takaki and sophomore Susan Hentschel placed third in 3:43.73. Meanwhile, IU's team of junior Sarah Bugden, sophomore Susanna Ernst, senior Erin Smith and sophomore Annica Lofstedt finished in ninth with a 3:48.21.

At the end of the event, Penn State took a commanding lead with 278 points, while Wisconsin stood in second with 215. Indiana remained in third with 201 points to round out the only squads to reach the 200-point plateau at this point.

In the 400-yard IM, IU junior Kristen Bradley took runner-up honors with a B-cut 4:17.50 to finish behind Michigan freshman Justine Mueller's first-place A-cut time of 4:12.37 that also eclipsed the pool record. Penn State sophomore Claire Hawley took third with a 4:17.56. Additionally, IU junior Lauren Lubus earned 14th place with a 4:26.95.

At the completion of the multiple-stroke event, Penn State vaulted to a 326-point tally, while Wisconsin remained in second with a 241-point haul. Michigan edged out IU for third with 226 points compared to the Cream and Crimson's 221.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Biedermann claimed her second title of the evening with a B-cut time of 54.10. Michigan sophomore Kaitlyn Brady came in second with a 54.20, while Wisconsin sophomore Susan Johnson wound up in third with a 54.23. IU's Smith finished the highest for the Hoosiers with a fifth-place 54.89 that also cleared the NCAA provisional qualifying standard. In the earlier consolation heat, Lofstedt finished in 14th place with a 55.53 to claim points for Indiana.

Heading into the 200-yard freestyle, Penn State led by 100 points with 374, while Wisconsin sat in second with 274 points. Michigan remained just ahead of Indiana with 244 points compared to IU's 238.

In the 200 free, a Big Ten school, meet and pool record was set when Michigan sophomore Lindsay Smith clocked a time of 1:45.26 to clear the A-cut threshold. Her teammate, senior Amy McCullough, finished behind her with a 1:46.53, while Northwestern freshman Andrea Hupman notched a third-place 1:46.73. All three times eclipsed the NCAA automatic standard. IU junior Doherty Colgin took fifth in 1:48.28 to improve her B-cut time, while sophomore Leila Vaziri finished 13th with a 1:50.17 and sophomore Clarissa Wentworth claimed 15th with a B-cut 1:50.60. Overall, 15 of the 16 event times were better than the provisional time.

Wisconsin chipped away at the Penn State lead, as the Nittany Lions owned 392 points compared to the Badger total of 301. Michigan hung around with 281 points, while the Cream and Crimson remained in fourth with 258 points.

In the 100-yard breaststroke, Penn State swept the top two spots as PSU senior Kristen Woodring finished first with a 1:01.41, while teammate senior Courtney Stanchock placed second in 1:01.55. Wisconsin junior Amalia Sarnecki claimed third in 1:01.72. All three marks stood above the A-cut time. Indiana did not have anyone in either heat.

The Nittany Lion performance pushed them to a healthy 120-point lead with 442 points, while Wisconsin was second with 322 points and Michigan was in third with 292 points. The Cream and Crimson maintained fourth place with its previous 258-point tally.

In the 100-yard backstroke, Vaziri followed through with her plan to hang with the field through the first three lengths of the pool and turned on the jets in the final 25 yards to claim her first conference title and the first since Meghan Medendorp finished first in the 50-yard freestyle last year. Vaziri's time of 53.64 not only punched her ticket to West Lafayette for NCAAs, but also set the pool record. Additionally, the clocking is the second-fastest time in IU history.

"I was pumped for just this race," Vaziri said. "The whole meet, this was building up; this was my best stuff. I had to have it. Oh, (hearing the IU fight song on the podium) was awesome. I trained all year with this specifically in mind. I'm just so happy. I always like to finish my races strong, so when I hit the last wall and felt that I had something left, I thought I'd leave it all in the poll."

Wisconsin's Johnson finished in second with a 54.24, while defending event champion Haupt wound up in third with a 54.31. All three times cleared the NCAA A-cut threshold. Meanwhile, Ernst placed 14th for the Cream and Crimson with a 57.62. At the completion of the event, Penn State built a tally of 479 points to lead the race for the team title, while Wisconsin sat in second with 339 points. Michigan remained in third with 304, while the Hoosiers were in fourth with 281 points.

Ohio State sophomore Julie Broms claimed the three-meter diving title with a pool-record 583.45 tally to out-duel newly-crowned one-meter champion Christina Loukas' second-place effort of 580.65. 2004 Olympian Cassandra Cardinell comprised the top three for IU with a personal-best score of 570.30, while junior Lisa Silvestri finished in fourth with a career-high 551.00. IU sophomore Lindsay Weigle rounded out the championship group with an eighth-place 510.35.

"I was very pleased with our performance," Indiana head diving coach Dr. Jeff Huber said. "Lindsay was a little off, but we had divers finish two, three, four and eight, so we are happy."

Next up, the 2005 Big Ten Championships continue at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in Bloomington, Ind., with the 200y back, 100y free, 200y breast, 200y fly and 1,650y free preliminary heats.

at Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center (Bloomington, Ind.)

Team Scores:
1 Penn State 485
2 Indiana 340
3 Wisconsin 339
4 Michigan 308
5 Purdue 255
6 Minnesota 211
7 Northwestern 191
8 Iowa 174
9 Ohio State 141
10 Illinois 137
11 Michigan State 62

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