CHICAGO, Illinois, January 23. DANIELLE Wenger set a league and school record in the 1000 freestyle and senior Kristina Hansen and freshman Sarah Wardecke each won two events to lead the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's swimming & diving team to a 169-120 victory over the University of Chicago Friday night. The Panthers, swimming for the first time since December 6th, won their 12th-consecutive dual on the year to set a record for most wins (now 12-2 overall) in a single season.
Wenger won the 1000 free in a time of 10:14.43, easily eclipsing the former school mark of 10:17.43 she set last season, while also toppling the Horizon League mark of 10:16.60 set by Catalina Martinez of Wright State back in 2005. It also set a new pool mark at the Ratner Athletics Center.
"It was great for us to finally be back in the water for an actual meet," UWM head coach Erica Janssen said. "We had some very solid swims all across the board which was great to see. We are definitely where we want to be at this point in the season."
Wenger nearly had two school records in one swim, as her 500 split of 5:04.36 during the 1000 free almost broke the Milwaukee record in the event (5:04.27), missing by just nine-hundredths. In addition to the swim in the 1000, Wenger put up a time that would have won the 500 free by over eight seconds (5:06.87), but ended up exhibitioning the race.
"For Danielle to be at this point and swimming times like this is incredible," Janssen said. "But, she works extremely hard and wants to prove to the Horizon League that last season [Wenger won league titles in the 1,000 and 1,650 free last year] was not a fluke."
Hansen and Wardecke each touched the wall first in two events, with Hansen winning the 200 free in 1:58.01 and the 100 free in a time of 54.47.
Wardecke claimed victories in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.66) and 200 breaststroke (2:24.95), with the clocking in the 100 breast setting a new pool record as well. Her time in the 200 IM of 2:10.76 would have also been a winner if not for her exhibitioning the race.
The diving team dominated, taking the top five spots on both boards while setting pool records on each board. Senior Ashley Hall won the three-meter event with a point total of 269.63. Sophomore Kelsey George topped the field on the one-meter with a record total of 254.18. Hall also placed second on the one at 262.10.
In addition to those performances, senior Molly Finn, sophomore Ellie Gross and the 400 medley relay team all posted victories.
Finn won the 200 butterfly in 2:08.32 and also had the lowest time in the 100 fly – which she swam as an exhibition – at 58.67. Gross topped the field in the 50 free with a time of 25.24 and the foursome of Wenger, junior Kerry Rossow, Finn and Gross opened the night with a victory in the 400 medley relay in 4:01.43.
UWM will be right at it, as it looks to tie the school record of 13-straight dual wins when it hosts Western Illinois tomorrow. Action gets underway at the Klotsche Natatorium at 1 p.m.
Special thanks to UWM for contributing this report.