Jacque Fessel continues her assault on the SEC, this time in the 200y backstroke.

Jacque Fessel continues her assault on the SEC, this time in the 200y backstroke.

Feb. 27, 2004



Sophomore Jacque Fessel (Cincinnati, Ohio) continued an incredible week at the 2004 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga., by setting a new program record in the 200y backstroke and garnering her third NCAA Automatic qualifying time of the week. Additionally, Head Coach Dan Colella's swim squad advanced seven swimmers into eight spots in tonight's final session. Tennessee is now in a position to make a major move up the team leaderboard.

"We picked up where we left off yesterday," Colella said. "We had a nice meeting last night and talked about not letting an opportunity, which we have worked hard for, slip away. We definitely rose to the occasion. As for Jacque [Fessel], we made a strategic change to her 200y backstroke this morning and she had the best second-half swim she has ever had. It was a monster swim."

Starting off the day on a successful note, sophomore Graciela Breece-Rodriguez (Boulder, Colo.) and freshman Julia Lutz (Lilburn, Ga.) guaranteed the squad points in the 200y butterfly as both advanced to tonight's finals session in the event. Breece-Rodriguez took 11th place with a 2:03.89, while Lutz claimed 16th place with a career-best 2:08.76 clocking. In a non-scoring capacity, junior Elizabeth Wueste (Norcross, Ga.) turned in a career-low 2:07.94 in the event as well.

In the 200y freestyle, freshman Megan Tomes (Cincinnati, Ohio) improved her provisional time to a 1:48.25 to place ninth and make it into the finals in the event. Classmate Elizabeth Christy (Indianapolis, Ind.) turned in a 31st-place 1:54.42, while fellow rookie Misty Cain (Marietta, Ga.) took 33rd place with a career-low 1:55.33. Freshman Meghan Keefer (Fort Wayne, Ind.) turned in a career-best 1:55.65 in the 200y free as well. Finally, the fifth Tennessee rookie in the 200y free, Sarah Ridgway (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands), recorded a career-low 1:57.72 as a non-scoring competitor. Cain posted an NCAA Provisional Qualifying time in the 200y breaststroke with a career-best 2:16.82 to claim 10th place and advance to the finals, while sophomore Betsy Brockman (Batavia, Ohio) joined her teammate in the finals with a 16th-place 2:21.70. Junior Kristin McGrath (Durango, Colo.) finished up in 23rd place with a career-low 2:32.81 clocking to round out the UT effort in the event.



Fessel wrapped up the preliminary round for the Big Orange by shattering former Lady Vol Pam Hanson's 200y backstroke record of 1:57.00 set at the 2001 NCAA Championships with a 1:55.53 to finish in third place with an NCAA Automatic Qualifier. Breece-Rodriguez made her second final of the day with a 13th-place career-best 2:02.73, while freshman Ashley Yeager (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) shaved half-a-second off her personal-best with a 16th-place 2:03.68 clocking to gain a berth in the finals as well. Sophomore Randi Vogel (Maineville, Ohio) closed out Tennessee's performance in the prelims with a 27th-place 2:07.03 in the 200y back.

"This is just crazy," Fessel said. "I was just hoping to make it into the top eight today. I was sore this morning after the first two days and I had no idea that I would beat the best time by two seconds. It is nice to see all of our hard work paying off and it is well worth it."

Next up, the Lady Vols return to action at the Gabrielsen Natatorium at 6:30 p.m., for finals competition.

Tennessee at SEC Swimming and Diving
At Gabrielsen Natatorium (Athens, Ga.)

Team Scores:
4.South Carolina146
8.Louisiana State115
UT All-SEC Performers:
3rd1m springboard - Lauryn McCalley290.00
3rd100y backstroke - Jacque Fessel54.03
UT Individual Point Scorers:
31Jacque Fessel
30Lauryn McCalley
9Tiffany Clay
2Misty Cain
UT Relay Point Scorers:
24800y freestyle relay - Elizabeth Christy, Abbi Terveer, Jacque Fessel, Megan Tomes
22400y freestyle relay - Abbi Terveer, Taryn Ternent, Meghan Keefer, Megan Tomes


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