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NCAA Div. II Champs: Truman State, Cal-Bakersfield Still Lead With One Day To Go -- March 16, 2002

ORLANDO, Fla., March 15. TRUMAN State's lady Bulldogs
continued their march towards a second consecutive NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championship here tonight, while on the men's side double-defending champ Cal State Bakersfield is on the verge of an
unprecedented threepeat.

The meet, underway at the Central Florida YMCA Aauatic Center here, concludes Saturday evening.

Truman State all but clinched its second straight title with another consistent day. TSU nearly doubled the 61-point advantage it held after the second day of competition as the Bulldogs lead second-place Drury -- 1999 and '00 champs -- 556-437.

CSUB doesn't have anywhere near as large a lead over second-place University of North Dakota's Fightin' Sioux, but the Roadrunners did increase their advantage from four points to 19 (404-385) during the third day of competition.

Establishing a DII Championship-record in a relay for the third day in a row, Truman State punctuated its advantage with an 11-second victory in the 800 freestyle. The Bulldogs' team of Liz Hug, Bridget Riley, Sarah Dance and Diana Betsworth shaved more than seven seconds off the previous championship record of 7:30.83 with their 7:23.60 clocking.

Hug also gave Truman State a win in the 500 yard freestyle. Ali Petersen of Nebraska-Omaha won the 100 backstroke in a pr 55.60. Corey Dennis of West Chester posted her second individual victory of the meet in the 200 butterfly; NDU's Beth Morris was champ in the 100 breaststroke; and Amanda Earnest of Clarion completed a sweep of the diving competition as she added the one-meter championship to her previous win on the three-meter board. Her score of 376.37 was 14 points better than second-place Jennifer MacDonald of U Cal-Davis.

* * * * *

On the men's side, Bakersfield continued its reliance on the broad shoulders of junior freestyler Vlasta Burda as it maintained possession of the team race's top spot. Burda, who previously won both the 1000 and 200 freestyles, set a championship and DII national record with his 4:22.58 500 free win tonight.

He later held off North Dakota's Fernando Alves on the final leg of the 800 freestyle relay to power CSUB to victory. Alves helped push Southern Connecticut State's Ben Michaelson to his 100 fly DII record with his pr 47.31 for second.

Michaelson, who won the 50 free in a pr 20.11 opening nigh and then blasted his own 100 fly record (47.77) with a stunning 46.74 last evening, claimed his third individual title with a dominating win in the 200 butterfly (1:45.25).

His winning swim was nearly three seconds faster than his previous championship record of 1:48.21 from last season. Watch out, Michael Phelps, you've got company!

Brian Pursley of Colorado School of Mines won the 100 breaststroke to become the men's other individual victor.

If veteran Coach Bob Steele's Roadrunners make it three-for-three Saturday, that will give the Baersfield boss four championship rings, as he also won in 1998. Too bad he couldn't have had these kinds of teams when he had recent Masters world record-setter Roger von Jouanne as his mainstay when the duo
were at Southern Illinois University in the late '70s and early '80s at the NCAA Division 1 level.

Von Jouanne set an American/NCAA record in the 200 fly at the Saluki Invitational in Carbondale in December of '80 but never went faster and never won an NCAA title either. However, he was arguably Steels's greatest swimmer -- that is, until Mr. Burda came along.

-- Bill Bell



2002 WOMEN'S AND MEN'S NCAA DIVISION II SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
SOUTHEAST REGIONAL YMCA AQUATIC CENTER
ORLANDO, Fl., March 15



WOMEN'S TOP 10 TEAM STANDINGS (After Day 3)

Place School Points

1 Truman State University TSU 556
2 Drury University DU 437
3 West Chester University WCU 314
4 University of North Dakota UND 259
5 University of Cal San Diego UCSD 246
6 University of Nebraska Omaha UNO 234
7 Clarion University CU 165
8 University of Tampa UT 146
9 University Northern Colorado UNC 123
10 Northern Michigan University NMU 96

MEN'S TOP 10 TEAM STANDINGS (After Day 3)

Place School Points

1 Cal State University - Bakersf CSUB 404
2 University of North Dakota UND 385
3 Drury University DU 268
4 University of Tampa UT 234
5 University of Missouri Rolla UMR 218.50
6 West Chester University WCU 206
7 Southern CT State University SCS 189.50
8 Truman State University TSU 148
9 University Cal Davis UCD 116
10 Delta State University DSU 97.50