Natalie Strikes at Day 2 Prelims of Women’s NCAA Div. I Champs

AUSTIN, Texas. March 22. G'DAY folks. We're back at the Lee and Joe Jamail Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Texas. The meet began yesterday in balmy spring-like weather, but today it has turned cold, with a hard, biting wind.

Inside the Aquatic Center, the conditions are ideal, a the women gathered here prepare to continue their assault on the record book.

As always, we'll give you real-time stories and results of the events, as they happen. We're ready o go now.

At the end of Day One, pre-meet favorite Stanford found itself in fourth place, 61 behind Auburn, the surprise leader. The cardinal need to be at their best today to make up ground.

200 yard medley relay
In the 200 medley relay, Stanford qualified first in 1:38.68, 3-hundredths faster than Auburn. cal was third (1:39.55), followed by Georgia (1:39.56), Texas (1:39.88), Arizona (1:40.14), Pacific (1:40.77) and Florida (1:40.79).

Natalie Coughlin's leadoff backstroke leg — 24.14 — was more than a second faster than anyone else. Florida's Renate DuPlessis was second fastest at 25.37.

Five women had breaststroke splits in the 27s, the fastest being Auburn's Laura Swander at 27.40. Tara Kirk, Stanford, was 27.47.

Five women swam 23s for the fly leg. Stanford's Shelly Ripple was fastest at 23.31, followed by Texas' Sarah Wanezek's 23.66.

Auburn's Eileen Coparropa swam the only sub-22 second anchor, 21.98

B finalists:
9. USC (1:40..83), 10. ASU (1:41.25), 11. SMU (1:41.66), 12. No. Carolina (1:42.19), 13. Indiana (1:42.43), 14. Purdue (1:42.44), 15. Alabama (1:42.49), and 16. UCLA (1:42.57).

400 yard IM
Defending champion Maggie Bowen eased into the final with a 4:10.16. The time puts her second — the same spot she occupied yesterday in the 200 IM prelims, before she came out and ripped her former American/NCAA record in the finals.

Top qualifier is SMU's alenka Kejzar at 4:08.91. Virginia's Mirjana Bosevska is third at 4;11.41, followed by USC's Kaitlin sandeno, 4:11.92. sandeno, a 2000 Olympian, has been swimming with shoulder or back injuries all season, so this was a major marker for her as she regains her former form.

ASU's Agnes Kovacs is fifth (4;12.46), followed by Florida's Sara McLarty (4;12.51), a niece of Masters swimmer June Krauser; Georgia's Katie Yevak (4:13.77); and 2000 Olympian Maddy Crippen (4:14.24) of Villanova.

B finalists; 9. Jaime Ellis (Florida), 4;14.52; 10. Kyoko Yokouchi (Calif.), 4:14.93; 11. Emily Mason (Arizona), 4:14.95; 12. Artemis Daphnis (Arizona), 4:15.80; 13. Amy Baly (Virginia), 4:16.31; 14. Michala Kwasny (USC), 4:16.48; 15. Alisa Schuknecht (Texas0, 4;16.60; and 16. Andrea Cassidy (SMU), 4:16.82.

100 yard butterfly
Can you spell N-A-T-A-L-I-E? If you're going to write about the 100 fly, you better know how.

In the final heat of the 100 fly prelims, Cal's Natalie Coughlin skipped to an incredible American and NCAA record in the 100 yard butterfly — 50.67.

Splitting 24.04, and seemingly just cruising, Coughlin devastated the American mark set by Jenny Thompson at 51.07 in 1998, and her own NCAA mark of 51.18 set last year.

Shelly Ripple, Stanford, qualified second in 52.12, with Texas' Joscelin Yeo third in 52.52.

Auburn placed two women in the big Final; Demarae Christianson, fourth (52.52) and Margaret Hoelzer, fifth (53.36).

USC's Jana Krohn was sixth (53.52), Texas' tanica Jamison seventh (53.64) and Pacific's Shannon Catalano eighth (53.78).

B finalists: 9. Mandy Leach, LSU (53.79); 10. Rebecca Harper, Florida (53.85); 11. Renate duPlessis, Florida (53.88); 12. Sarah Marshall, Pacific (53.89); 13. Georgina Lee, SMU (53.94); 14. sarah baham, ASU (54.12); 15. Anne Weilbacher (Michigan), 54.13; and 16. Sarah Wazenek (Texas), 54.14.

200 yard freestyle
Defending champion Sarah Tolar, of Arizona, asserted her right to lane 4 tonight. Swimming in the final heat, she came from behind in the second half of the race, to overtake Georgia's Maritza Correia and qualify first in 1:45.97

The qualifying was very tight, with only 59-hundredths separting first from eighth.

Auburn sophomore Heather Kemp was the second qualifier at 1:46.18, followed by Georgia's Stefanie Williams (1:46.24), North Carolina's Jessi Perruquet (1:46.29), Texas' Lauren Thies (1:46.43), Miami (Florida)'s manon Van Rooijen (1:46.50), Georgia's Correia (1:46.53) and SMU's Lotta Wanberg (1:46.56).

B finalists; 9. Chantal Gibney (Florida), 1:46.66, 10. Jessica Foschi (Stanford0, 1:46.99), 11. Malin Svahnstrom (UCLA), 1:47.16; 12. Lisa Wanberg (SMU), 1:47.19; 12. Janelle Atkinson (Florida), 1:47.19; 4. Magda Dyszkiewicz (Auburn), 1:47.36; 15. Casmera Wick (Rutgers), 1:47.60; and 16. Maria Oberg (Cincinnati), 1:47.74.

100 yard breaststroke
Captain Kirk rules outer space,a nd another Captain Kirk rules the waves.

Stanford's Tara Kirk swam the only sub-one minute 100 yard breaststroke in prelims this morning, clocking 59.73. But the rest of the field is tightly bunched.

Alabama's Anne Poleska is second at 1:00.26; ASU's Agnes Kovacs i third at 1:00.47; Cal Olympian Stacianna Stiits is fourth at 1:00.59; Georgia's Ashley Roby is fifth, 1:00.74; Auburn's maggie bowen sixth (1:00.83); Georgia's Lindsay Errter seventh (1:01.02); and USC's Kriten MacGregor eighth (1:01.18).

B finalists: 9. Marcy warriner (Alabama), 1:01.30; 10. Jessica Wagner (Arizona), 1:01.30; 10. Elvira Fischer (UCLA), 1:01.30; 12. Laura Swander (Auburn), 1:01.48; 13. Katie Hathaway (No. Carolina), 1:01.51; 14. Lindsay lange (Purdue), 1:01.61; 15. Kristen Woodring (Penn State), 1:01.84; 16. Birte Steven (Oregon State), 1:01.94.

100 yard backstroke
Natalie Coughlin cruised to the top qualifying spot, touuching in 52.44–much slower than her American record 50.71. Going 14 meters underwater on the start and each turn, Coughlin took 5 stroks on her first three laps and six on her final lap.

The rest of the field was clustered in the 53 – 54 range, with scond through 14th separated by only 1.2 seconds.

Beth Botsford (Arizona), the 1996 Olympic champ, qualified second in 53.74, followed by Indiana's Susan Woessner (54.02).

Two Auburn freshmen grabbed the fourth and fifth spots with Kirsty Coventry (54.12) and Jenni Anderson (54.39).

Pacific's Sarah Marshall was sixth (54.51) with USC's Joanna fargus (54.55) and Georgia's Neka Mabry (54.580 rounding out the field.

B finalists: 9. Christine Keller (Georgia), 54.59; 10. Amy Wagner (Stanford), 54.63; 10. Katie Meyer (USC), 54.63; 12. Miranda Shald (ASU), 54.71; 13. Alice Henriques (Cal), 54.75; 14. Julie Manitt (Arizona), 54.94; 15. Renate DuPlessis (Florida), 55.05; 16. Bethany Lindberg (Texas) 55.09.

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