Megan Tomes

Megan Tomes

March 17, 2005

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind..-- The No. 22 Lady Vol swimming team concluded an outstanding performance at day one of the 2005 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships by claiming six All-America certificates during Thursday evening's finals. Sophomore Megan Tomes and senior Julia Stowers picked up individual laurels, while the 400y medley relay squad garnered four additional accolades. To put the day into perspective the six citations are the most compiled by UT during a national meet since 2001, when they grabbed seven in the three-day competition.

"We came away with all five of the individuals who came to NCAAs earning All-America certificates tonight," Head Coach Dan Colella said. "We feel good about where we are at going into tomorrow and just need to a little better job at night."

In the 500y freestyle, Stowers claimed her initial All-America certificate with a 14th-place showing in a time of 4:45.69. It is the program's ninth certificate in the event and the first since the 1999 campaign when Sarah Nichols claimed 15th place. The effort ties as the sixth-best finish in the event in program history and snared UT three team points.

Tomes' 16th-place finish gave her the first-career All-America honor of her collegiate career. It marks the fifth time a UT swimmer has been so honored and is the initial event certificate since the 1989 national meet when Jenny McGrath, Tracy Ignatosky and Stephanie Brinser all finished in the top 16. Her performance improves from last year as a freshman when the Cincinnati, Ohio, native took 20th in the 200m IM.

The evening ended with the 400y medley relay where the quartet of junior Jacque Fessel (Cincinnati, Ohio), sophomore Tiffany Clay (Mason, Ohio), Tomes and freshman Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.) each received All-America status with a 15th-place showing, touching the wall in 3:41.43. With the effort, Fessel claimed her fourth-career certificate while Tomes netted her second of the evening. For Magnuson and Clay, it marked the initial All-America laurels in their collegiate careers. The citation is the first such honor for a Tennessee relay squad since 1999 and the 11th-time overall in the event.



Heading into day two, Tennessee is in 23rd place with a total of eight points.

The championships continue on Friday with the 200y medley relay, 400y IM, 100y butterfly, 200y freestyle, 100y breaststroke, 100y backstroke, three-meter diving and the 800y freestyle relay on tap.

Tennessee All-America Performers:
14th 500y Freestyle Julia Stowers (4:45.69)
15th 400y Medley Relay Jacque Fessel (3:41.43)
15th 400y Medley Relay Tiffany Clay (3:41.43)
15th 400y Medley Relay Christine Magnuson (3:41.43)
15th 400y Medley Relay Megan Tomes (3:41.43)
16th 200y IM Megan Tomes (2:01.58)
Tennessee Point Scorers
4- 400y Medley Relay
3- Julia Stowers
1- Megan Tomes

Two school records fall in outstanding session for No. 22 Lady Vols

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind..- The No. 22 Lady Vol swimming team had a sensational start to the NCAA Championships at Thursday morning's preliminary session. UT swimmers will be returning for evening consolation finals in three of the four events in which they entered. Sophomore Megan Tomes qualified in the 200y IM while Julia Stowers went through in the 500y freestyle and the 400y medley relay squad posted a school-record time to advance. Additionally, Jacque Fessel reset her program standard in the 100y backstroke with the leadoff leg of the relay.

"This was the best first-session results we have had in some years," Head Coach Dan Colella said. "We have two individuals coming back tonight along with the 400y medley relay. We are thrilled with the start of the meet and are looking forward to tonight."

In the 500y freestyle, Stowers blazed to a career-best time of 4:45.64 to become the first Lady Vol finalist in the event since 1999. During the early stage of the swim, the 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist stayed close to the leaders before overtaking them down the stretch to win her heat with the sixth-best marker in program history. The Knoxville, Tenn., native had entered the meet with the 26th-best time in the nation.

Tomes also took aim at the record books with a scintillating clocking of 1:59.84 in the 200y IM, the third-best performance in Tennessee's storied history. With the effort, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native finds herself in elite company as she becomes the fifth Big Orange swimmer in the event to advance to an evening session.

Freshman Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.) then took to the water for the 50y freestyle. She blazed to a career-best effort of 22.93 en route to taking 21st place.

After a short break, action resumed with the 400y medley relay. Tennessee did not rest on its laurels for the day, as the quartet of Fessel, Tiffany Clay (Mason, Ohio), Magnuson and Tomes blistered the 400y medley relay to a time of 3:40.17, becoming the first UT group to secure a top-16 showing in the event since 1999.

The national meet continues on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. with the finals in the 200y freestyle relay, 500y freestyle, 200y IM, 50y freestyle, one-meter diving and the 400y medley relay.



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