AKRON, OH, December 8. TULANE University announced its swimming and diving team posted three wins and a pair of runner-up finishes as the Green Wave overcame a 48.5-point deficit to claim the women’s crown in the 2004 Giant Eagle Zips Invitational championship Sunday at Ocasek Natatorium.
Sophomores Leslie Christian and Linda McEachrane posted wins in the 1650 free and 100 free, respectively, and the quartet of freshmen Sarah Dicharry, Tiffany Brown and Cara Davidoff joined forces with McEachrane in the 400 free relay to clinch the Zips Invitational title with a first-place showing.
The Green Wave let a day-one lead slip away on Saturday, but that was not the case on Sunday as Tulane scored 460 points on the final day to post a three-day total of 1344.5. Tulane finished 55.5 points ahead of runner-up Ball State (1289.0), and 254 points ahead of third-placed Illinois State (1090.5).
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for this team, and I couldn’t be prouder of the way we swam today,” head coach Daniella Irle said. “We knew we did not swim up to our potential yesterday, and we went to bed last night trailing a very good Ball State team. We knew we would have to swim well if we were to be able to come back, and we were nothing short of outstanding all day.
“This was a total team win. Everyone had to be on top of their game, and they did what we as coaches expected of them. For a second-year team to come into a meet like this, and win by such a convincing margin says something about the character of the young women who represent Tulane University.”
Christian, who set the Zips Invitational record in the mile last year with a 17:20.44, was even better on Sunday in leading a 1-2-3 Green Wave sweep in the event with a meet-record 17:06.36. McEachrane, meanwhile, won her third individual event of the weekend with a 51.89 in the 100 free, and the 400 free relay team posted a time of 3:31.62 to edge runner-up and host Akron by over a second.
“Leslie got things going for us in the mile, and things just got rolling from there,” Irle said. “Today was a lot of fun. We said going into the weekend that this was going to be our dress rehearsal for the conference meet in February. If we can perform like this again in two months, I really like our chances.”
Following Christian’s lead in the mile were sophomores Jessica Hughes (17:32.96) and Nicole Taheri (17:35.75), who finished second and third, respectively. Brown paced the Tulane effort in the 200 back with a time of 2:05.45, to finish second, and sophomore Lauren Patterson was just 49-one hundredths behind to finish third.
McEachrane paced the field in the 100 free, and Dicharry finished fourth with a time of 52.92. In the 200 breast, Berdine won the B-Final with a time of 2:26.53, and sophomore Maureen Quinn was right behind with a mark of 2:27.25. Sophomore Taylor Emerson led the Tulane charge in the 200 fly, finishing eighth with a 2:11.56, and the quartet of Berdine, Taheri, Katherine McCoy and Devlyn Quinn combined for a 3:35.67 in the 400 free relay to finish eighth.
Tulane returns to action on Thursday, Dec. 30, when the Green Wave travels to Miami, Fla., to take on Florida International. Three days later, Tulane will join FIU and several other programs in the FIU Invitational before returning to The Big Easy for a Jan. 7 showdown at the UNO Invitational at the Lakefront Arena Natatorium.