YPSILANTI, Michigan, January 27. LED by junior backstroker Leah Thornton (Helena, AL), Miami's women's swimming and diving team topped host Eastern Michigan, 167-132, snapping the Eagles perfect record in Mid-American Conference meets.
Coach Dave Jennings' RedHawks (6-2, 3-1 MAC) got first-place finishes in seven events and took first in both relay races at Eastern's Jones Natatorium to improve their all-time series record vs. EMU to 28-6. On the season, the Eagles' overall mark falls to 4-3 while their MAC record dips to 3-1.
The meet started off well for Miami as RedHawk foursomes took both first and second in the 200 medley relays. The quartet of Thornton, Stacie Clagg (Canton), Maegan O'Connor (Fishers, IN) and Bekka Westrick (Fairfield) topped Miami's team of Katie Bootsma (Eden Prairie, MN), Michaela Scott (St. Charles, IL), Brittney Rohr (Dayton) and Maddie Kete (Bay Village, OH) by just more than a second, 1:45.87 to 1:47.40. That gave Miami a 15-2 lead, one it would never surrender.
Jenny Warmolts (Upper Arlington) and Courtney Collett (Hilton Head Island, SC) placed second and third, respectively, in the 1000 freestyle with times of 10:30.70 and 10:36.17. Warmolts' performance was a season best.
EMU narrowed Miami's lead to 28-26 in the 200 freestyle. MU senior Chelsey Bruington (Mission Viejo, CA) placed second, touching the wall in 1:53.66.
The RedHawks had a 14-point explosion in the 100 backstroke, getting a first-place finish from Thornton and respective third- and four-place times from Bootsma and Mandi Grandjean (Canton).
Scott (1:05.75) barely edged out Clagg (1:05.85) in the 100 breaststroke, but it continued to widen Miami's winning margin.
O'Connor, Kelsey Mallon (Wheaton, IL) and Laura Krueger (Cincinnati) went three-four-five in the 200 butterfly as Eastern closed the team score to 61-50.
Kete registered an impressive victory in the 50 free, edging out teammate Westrick on the clock, 23.98 to 24.07. Cynthia Donovan (Cincinnati) earned three points with her third-place finish (24.24). That put Miami in front of EMU, 77-53.
In the first diving event of the afternoon, Miami's Nikki Craft (Bay Village) beat out an EMU athlete by 32 points on the three-meter board, scoring 318.08. The RedHawks' Lacey Houser (Danville, IN) and COREY BANGS (Monument, CO) placed third and fifth, respectively.
Impressive EMU freshman Jessie Godlewski edged out Miami's Kete at the wall in the 100 free, 52:30 to 52.45. Kete's effort was a season best. Bruington took third place, while Miami's Ellen Barhorst (West Chester) and Annie Marquiss (Solon) tied for fourth.
Miami boosted its lead to 113-74 in event 10, the 200 backstroke, as RedHawk Leah Thornton cruised to a first-place finish with a time of 2:05.65. Bootsma in third and Warmolts in fourth also contributed points.
In the 200 breaststroke, Clagg (2:22.36) and Scott (2:24.00) placed second and fourth, respectively.
Red & White swimmers placed second, third and fifth in the 500 free. Collett (5:09.73) was the runner-up, followed by freshman Whitney Mitchell (Green Oaks, IL) finished third and Tyler placed fifth.
O'Connor (56.30) edged out Westrick (56.42) in a one-two finish by RedHawks in the 100 butterfly event. Miami's Mallon placed fifth, extending the RedHawk team lead to 141-103 with three events remaining.
In competition on the one-meter board, Miami's Craft was edged by EMU's Danielle Hulvey, 295.05 to 296.70. Houser placed fourth for the RedHawks.
The 200 individual medley was captured by EMU. Miami's Clagg and Thornton took third and fourth, respectively.
The final race of the evening was the 200 freestyle relay and Miami's units placed both first (1:35.63) and second (1:38.15). The winning foursome included Westrick, Donovan, Bruington and Kete.
Miami travels to Bowling Green tomorrow (Sat., Jan 28) for a 1 p.m. meet.
Next weekend's final dual meet of the season will be against arch-rival Ohio on Feb. 4. Miami's Senior Day action begins at 1 p.m.
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