Jan. 8, 2005
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The No. 23 Lady Vol swimming and diving team lost a hard-fought meet to Northwestern on Saturday, 184-167. The meet came down to the final relay of the night, with the Wildcats narrowly edging UT.
"In the morning we were a little bit flat," Head Coach Dan Colella said. "Tonight (in the evening session) we took it up a notch and really battled. Overall, I'm real proud of the fact that the team came back the way that they did."
The morning session got underway with the 400y medley relay. The Lady Vols' quartet of Jacque Fessel (Cincinnati, Ohio), Tiffany Clay (Mason, Ohio), Megan Tomes (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.) swam the school's fastest time of the year to win the event and earn 11 points. Northwestern's squads claimed the final six points for the relay, giving UT the early lead.
Next up in the pool were the freestylers. Julia Stowers (Knoxville, Tenn.) continued her dominant year, finishing in 4:56.20 to win the event. Misty Cain (Marietta, Ga.) was also solid for the Big Orange, taking third place with a time of 5:04.78 to pick up an additional three points and increase the Lady Vol lead to 23-13.
The sprinters then prepared to hit the water, for the 100y free. Northwestern's Andrea Hupman won the event, edging Magnuson who finished in 51.74 to pick up four points for the Lady Vols. Senior Jessica Blevins (Bluefield, W. Va.) swam well for UT as well, claiming fifth place in a time of 53.89 to pick up an important point in a dual meet that was turning into a classic. After three events, the score was now 28-27 Tennessee.
Slated next on the schedule was the 200y breaststroke. Northwestern's Brielle Bovee won the event to put the Wildcats in the lead but Clay took second place, Betsy Brockman (Batavia, Ohio) claimed fourth and Sallye Hartman (Gates, Tenn.) took fifth for a cumulative seven points to make the score 39-35 in favor of Northwestern.
The lead was short-lived for the Wildcats though, as freshman diver Lauren LeRoy (Oshkosh, Wis.) continued her stellar performance of late. She topped the field in the one-meter competition, tallying a score of 254.93 to snag nine points. Sophomore Brittany Fulmer (Maryville, Tenn.) finished in third place, picking up an additional three points to give the Lady Vols a 47-45 advantage.
Northwestern would retake the lead in the 100y butterfly. Katie Braun edged out Tomes by just .08 seconds for first place. However, the sophomore's time of 56.30 did place her as No. 13 on the all-time performer's list. Senior Tatiana Athayde (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) claimed fifth for the Big Orange, who now trailed, 59-52.
All-American Fessel would do her part to keep the Lady Vols within striking distance, as she won the 200y backstroke to earn an important nine points. Fessel finished in a time of 2:02.33 while Ashley Yeager (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) claimed a fifth-place finish to make the score in NU"s favor, 68-62.
In the 400y IM, Stowers finished in second place for UT to notch four points. She was narrowly edged out by Northwestern's Amy Mueller, who touched the wall in a time of 4:29.43. Brockman picked up points for the second time on the day, taking fifth place.
With the meet slipping away as Northwestern had increased its lead to 82-67, the Lady Vols turned to their 200y freestyle relay squads in need of a big performance. The quartet of Magnuson, Abbi Terveer (Lima, Ohio), Blevins and Tomes were up to the task as they turned in a valiant effort. They finished in a time of 1:35.61, edging out Northwestern's relay quad by just .30 seconds. Laura Fehrman (St. Charles, Ill.), Elizabeth Christy (Indianapolis, Ind.) snagged third place for an additional two points, moving UT to within six, 86-80, as the morning session concluded.
The evening session kicked off with the 200y medley relay. UT would be victorious in the event as Fessel, Clay, Magnuson and Christy touched the wall in a time of 1:44.71 to earn the 11 points. Northwestern took second and third place in the event, though UT had cut the Wildcats' lead down to one at 92-91.
Next up was the 200y butterfly, where Brockman and Lutz swam hard, taking third and fourth place respectively. Brockman finished in 2:07.23, less than a second behind the third-place finisher. Despite the strong efforts, the lead had been pushed back up to 108-93.
The Lady Vols would continue to fight hard as Tomes took home the crown in the 200y freestyle in a time of 1:49.20. Stowers would finish in fifth place, less than .20 seconds behind the fourth-place finisher. The 10 points would pull narrow the gap ever so slightly, as the meet now stood at a 117-103 score.
The breaststrokers then hit the pool for the 100y event. The Lady Vols, led by Clay's second-place finish, would pick up seven points as Hartman and Brockman finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively. With six events remaining, UT trailed NU, 129-110.
The divers then took center stage for the second time on the day for the three-meter competition. LeRoy followed up her victory with a second-place finish, while Fulmer claimed fourth place. The freshman tallied 244.65 points while the Tennessee native totaled 206.63 points.
With the score now at 141-116, the Lady Vols needed to make a strong push in the final five events. First up was the 50y freestyle, where Magnuson swam stride-for-stride with Northwestern's Hupman in a sprint for the wall. In the closest finish of the night, Hupman clocked a time of 23.65 with Magnuson right behind at 23.71. Also scoring in the event for the Lady Vols were Terveer and Blevins who took home third and fourth place, respectively.
Although Northwestern led 151-125, UT was still in striking distance. Fessel would help the cause as she won the 100y backstroke to complete the sweep of the events. The junior finished in 56.65, winning by over two seconds. Christy claimed fourth place while Danyelle Vincent (Rohnert Park, Calif.) took home fifth to put the score at 158-137 in favor of the Wildcats.
In the 1,650y freestyle the Lady Vols would continue to narrow the gap, led by Stowers, who claimed her second meet title. Right behind Stowers was Cain, who finished in 17:08.56 to hold on for second place. Brockman also turned in a great effort, holding off Northwestern's Braun to take home fourth place. The combined effort had netted UT 15 points and suddenly Northwestern's lead had been trimmed to 162-152 with two events remaining.
Tomes would then keep UT's chance of victory alive, as she won her second event of the meet, taking home the 200y IM in a time of 2:03.05, to win by over three seconds. Clay finished in fifth place, to put the score at 171-162 entering the final event of the night, the 400y freestyle relay.
In what was an appropriate ending to the meet, it came down to the wire. UT's quartet of Magnuson, Fehrman, Blevins and Tomes swam extremely well, pushing Northwestern to the end. Despite their efforts, the Lady Vol relay squad was edged by a little over a half of second to secure the meet for Northwestern.
There is no time to rest for UT, though, as they will now head to Fayetteville, Ark., on Monday to battle SEC foe Arkansas.