Illinois Swimming & Diving Takes Down Nebraska in Lincoln

Photo Courtesy: University of Illinois Athletics

The University of Illinois swimming and diving team defeated Big Ten foe Nebraska (0-2) Saturday afternoon by a score of 164-136.


Illinois Swimming & Diving Press Release

The victory marks the first conference dual meet win on the road since October 23, 2015 at Michigan State. Freshman Cara Bognar earned three individual first place finishes, while junior Abigail Cabush and freshman Lily Olson received two top finishes apiece on the day.

“It was a tremendous effort from the entire team to get a win against a tough and talented Nebraska team,” said head coach Sue Novitsky. “We were relaxed heading into the meet and got a great shot of energy from the first relay. From that first event all the way to the end, everyone was stepping up and competing. We stayed together as a team and that helped us keep fighting when the pressure was on us. Now, we have to take what we learned from this meet and keep taking steps to get better each week.”

Bognar led the way for the Illini winning all three of her events. Those included the 200 butterfly (2:03.62), 500 freestyle (4:59.26) and 400 individual medley (4:27.75). She won the 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle last week at Purdue as well. Cabush grabbed her own victories in the 100 and 200 freestyles with times of 51.91 and 1:52.11, respectively. She also won both of those events at Purdue a week ago. Olson rounded out the group of girls winning their individual events. She claimed first place in the 50 freestyle (24.36) and 100 butterfly (57.05), while also placing third in the 100 freestyle (52.56).

Juniors Emily Bolger and Sidney Kennedy placed in multiple individual events too. Bolger brought home second place in the 200 breaststroke (2:23.97) and third place in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.37). Kennedy secured second place in the 1000 freestyle (10:34.48) and 500 freestyle (5:10.76).

Illinois (1-1) also grabbed first place in both the 200 medley relay (1:46.20) and 400 freestyle relay (3:30.85). The 200 medley relay team started the day off for the Orange and Blue and consisted of sophomore Athena Salafatinos, Bolger, Cabush and freshman Laurel Bludgen. The 400 freestyle relay team of Olson, Cabush, sophomore Isabelle Guerra and Bludgen capped off a victorious meet.

Nebraska Release

The Husker senior class was honored before the meet was kicked off. Gabby Baratta, Madison Coughlen, Autumn Haebig, Abi Knapton, Izzie Murray, Jessica Pentlarge, Mira Rhodes and Grace Tiernon were all congratulated on successful years as members of the team.

Audrey Coffey got the meet started off hot, with a pair of top two finishes in the long distance freestyle races. In the 1000 yard freestyle, Coffey swam to a first place finish time of (10:18.47). Molly Rosenthal swam to a good third place finish (10:37.12) in the race. In the 500 freestyle, Coffey grabbed second place (5:05.03) in what was a solid day for the junior swimmer. Taylor Acheson came in fourth place for the Huskers (5:13.21).

Coffey would also take third place in the 400 IM, finishing with a time of 4:35.35. Madison Coughlen would land in fifth (4:38.33) for the Huskers as well.

In the sprint freestyle races, Autumn Haebig performed well in both the 100 and 200. She finished in second place in both events with good times, timing 52.54 in the 100 and 1:52.58, with both races coming down to the wire.

In the 50 freestyle, Alexa Kucera was the first Husker to finish, taking third place (24.75). A pair of Huskers, Kim Lanaghen and Caitlin Cairns, drew for fifth place (24.96), sharing the points.

Madesyn Ronquillio had a great day in the pool, winning both of the backstroke races. The junior transfer from Boise State won the 100 with a time of 57.09, while freshman Gabby Donahue swam to a third place finish (58.34). Ronquillio also won the 200 with a four second gap between her and second place, finishing 2:02.46. Sarah Barton’s good swim gave her third place (2:07.49) in the event.

Freshman Ella Stein had a breakout day for the Huskers as well. The swimmer from Hudson, Wisc. took victories in both breaststroke races for Nebraska. In the 100, Stein swam to a great finish of 1:06.05, while in the 200, won her second race of the day in a close battle, 2:23.88.

In the 200 butterfly, Maggie Berning and Shannon Stott finished in the top three for the Huskers. Berning finished as the runner-up (2:05.92) in the race, while Stott came in third (2:07.21) for the Huskers.

Alexa Kucera and Izzie Murray would both finish in the top four, with Kucera taking second (57.41) in a good swim and Murray finishing in fourth (57.85) in the close race.

On the boards for the Huskers, it was a clean sweep of the top three spots in both the one meter and the three meter in what was really a perfect day in the deep water. Abi Knapton won the one meter with a score of 314.63, while Sara Troyer came in second place (289.28) and Hallie Roman in third (271.57).

In the three meter, Sara Troyer took the top spot for the Huskers with a score of 331.80. Abi Knapton came right behind in second place (315.00) and Hallie Roman took third (272.63) once again for Nebraska.

The relays played a big factor in the close battle. The Huskers opened up the day with a second place finish in the 200 yard medley relay, swam by Autumn Haebig, Ella Stein, Izzie Murray and Alexa Kucera (1:46.66).

The final event of the day was the 400 yard freestyle relay, where Nebraska took second place (3:31.80) once more. Alexa Kucera, Gabby Donahue, Caitlin Cairns and Autumn Haebig swam the race for the Huskers.

Coach Pablo Morales had good things to say of the Huskers in the meet, especially with the seniors, on their final meet in the Devaney Natatorium.

“It was really a great day overall,” Coach Morales said. “Great meet, good atmosphere and racing. Our event staff and supporting staff put together a really great meet, even though it’s just the one meet here this year and it was a fitting tribute for our seniors. Talk about legacy when seniors start their careers, because they have four years to leave a lasting imprint on a program and each senior class does something positive with the program in their own way, and this class is no exception. We’ve got some amazing leaders and great talents in this class. All the great things about our program now, as a team, are due in large part to this senior class. They’ve certainly been through a lot in terms of the team and working on improving our culture each and every year. They’ve played a huge part in the positive building process and they are so special in how they’ve helped this program.”

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