CARBONDALE, Illinois, February 8. FOLLOWING the first day of action at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, Southern Illinois University currently sits atop the leaderboard with a score of 224.
Missouri State is currently in second place with a team total of 195.5, followed by Illinois State in third with 176.5. Rounding out the scoring is Northern Iowa in fourth with 123 and Evansville with 74.
The Salukis started off well with a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay. SIU's team of Julie Ju (23.97), Tovah Gasparovich (24.02), Isabel Madeira (22.58) and Therese Mattsson (22.58) finished with a team time of 1:34.96, which is a new season best for the foursome.
In the second finals' event of the day, the 500-yard freestyle, Matana Wellman of Missouri State finished in first with a time of 5:04.73. Illinois State's Jamie Haseman finished second overall with a time of 5:07.98. SIU's Lisa Jaquez followed up in third place with a new personal best time of 5:09.21.
Other Salukis competing in the 500 free were Kasey Fernandez (5:14.80), Keli Kramer (5:13.02), Karin Mullendore (5:15.33) and Jenna Helm (5:23.55). Both Fernandez and Mullendore surpassed their previous best times in the event.
In the 200-yard individual medley Andi Rojas of Missouri State took first place with a time of 2:05.73. Rojas' teammate Kyla Meuer followed her in second place with a time of 2:06.19. SIU's Abby Blank finished in third with a season-best time of 2:08.77, which displaced her previous best of 2:10.46.
Danielle Quarry (2:11.33), Rachel Winius (2:12.21) and Liz Navitsky (2:17.18) also competed in the 200-yard IM finals for SIU.
The Salukis took four of the top eight spots in the 50-yard freestyle finals. Mattsson finished second overall (23.84), Ju came in third (23.93), Madeira finished sixth (24.27) and Gasparovich took eighth place (24.63). Gabriela Flores also competed for the Salukis, finishing second in the C final and 18th overall. Jordan Hawkins of Missouri State won the event with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 23.42.
In the final event of the first day, Missouri State broke the MVC record in the 400-yard medley relay. The Bears touched the wall at 3:48.78, breaking both the MVC record at 3:49.48 and the MVC meet/SIU pool record at 3:50.84, which were both set by teams from MSU. The Salukis' team of Kelly Dvorak, Ju, Samantha Dvorak and Madeira finished second behind Missouri State with atime of 3:52.27.
The MVC Championship continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. with preliminary heats of the 200 Medley Relay, 400 Individual Medley, 100 Butterfly, 200 Freestyle, 100 Breaststroke, 100 Backstroke, 1-Meter Diving and the 800 Freestyle Relay.