WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Feb. 2. THE Purdue men's swimming and diving team came away from the annual Quad Meet with a second place finish and high hopes
for next weekend's meet against Indiana and the 2002 Big Ten Championships.
The 24th-ranked Boilermakers fell to the No. 6 Minnesota Gophers, 246-106, but defeated the No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers, 191-159. Purdue improves to 6-4 (3-3 Big Ten) on the year.
"We came into today knowing the Minnesota, as the sixth-ranked team in the country, would probably be too tough for us to beat," said Purdue head coach Dan Ross. "But, Wisconsin, who's 15th, has been swimming well all year and we thought that if we could beat them, that would be a great win for us – and it is.
"I think they came out a bit sluggish yesterday when we won six or seven events in a row, but today they came after us strong. After the 400 IM, we didn't do so well until senior Jon Duncan, and even freshman Louis Paul, decided that they would take things into their own hands with their races and get us back on track. They did a great job of that and they set the tone for our team for the rest of the day.
"Something else that I think is important for us going into Big Ten's was our performance on the diving board today. Taking first and second places really gives us a lot of confidence going to Big Ten's and even
to IU next weekend."
In the first event of the second day of the double-dual meet, Purdue's relay team of freshman Ignatius Goh, junior Jeremy Wright, senior Jon Duncan and junior Tad Sayce finished third in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:23.72.
Senior Javier Diaz came in sixth in the 400 IM with a time of 4:01.90 and sophomore Tony TenHaagen finished eighth with a time of 4:06.22.
Duncan swam a season-best time of 45.68 in the 100 freestyle, but was beaten by two Gophers for third place. Wright finished in seventh place with a time of 46.58 and senior Ryan Sprengel finished 10th in 47.31.
Freshman Louis Paul continues to rise to the top of the Big Ten in his short tenure on the team, as he finished in fourth place and ahead of all Wisconsin's swimmers in the 200 backstroke. He recorded a
season best time of 1:49.84.
Sayce was the top Boilermaker finisher in the 100 butterfly with a fifth-place finish and a time of 50.29. Senior Donovan Crowley finished seventh, while Goh and sophomore Nick Cenci finished in ninth and 10th
Freshman Rion Epping took fourth place in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:34.83, while sophomore teammate Kyle Jackson was seventh in 4:37.15.
A very close race brought tons of excitement to the final individual event of the day – the 200 breaststroke. Defending 100 breast Big Ten champ Tamas Bessenyei took on Minnesota's Jeff Hackler for the finish, but Hackler got the first and the pool record, as Bessenyei finished in 1:59.91.
Purdue's 400 free relay team set a season-best time with a third-place finish in 3:02.50. Team members were Duncan, Wright, Diaz and Paul.
In the diving well, sophomore Eric Warrick came away with the win for the Boilermakers on the 3-meter board wit ha score of 477.50. Freshman Clay Davis finished second with a score of 459.50 and senior Kevin Young
finished with a season-best score of 404.25 for sixth place.
The Old Gold and Black will return to the water on Saturday, when they face the Hoosiers at Councilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. Meet time is set for 4 p.m. Following Indiana, the Boilermakers will prepare for the 2002 Men's Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships. The Championships too will be held at Bloomington.