March 18, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind..-- The No. 22 Lady Vol swimming team proved its mental toughness at the 2005 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday evening by claiming 11th place in the 800y freestyle relay after a challenging preliminary session. The quartet of freshman Christine Magnuson, senior Julia Stowers, junior Jacque Fessel and sophomore Megan Tomes each earned All-America certificates with a school record-setting performance of 7:16.75, toppling the standard (7:19.39) which had stood since 1989 by almost three seconds.
"We regained our composure with Christine (Magnuson) leading off with a lifetime best," Head Coach Dan Colella said. "To set a school record by more than three seconds and take 11th place is a great way to close out the second day and give us a fresh start for tomorrow.
Tennessee, which entered the meet with the 19th-best qualifying time, shot off the blocks in blazing fashion behind the powerful stroke of Magnuson. The Tinley Park, Ill., native cruised to an opening-leg time of 1:48.59, the ninth fastest in school history. Next up in the water was the 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist, Stowers, who maintained UT's lead at the halfway point of the race.
Fessel, swimming in her fourth event on the day, held off a push from Indiana and Hawaii before giving way to fellow Cincinnati, Ohio, native Tomes for the final 200 yards. Tomes would pull away down the stretch, and set off an eruption from the Tennessee faithful upon touching the wall.
As a result, Tomes claimed her third All-America certificate of the meet,
while Fessel, Magnuson and Stowers were honored for the second time while
competing at nationals. It is the fifth-career All-America laurel for Fessel.
Additionally, Tennessee snagged 12 team points.
The outstanding effort reeled in the 10th top-16 finish in the event in program history at the national meet and the first such since 1996. Coupled with the record-setting swim of the 400y medley relay on Thursday, it marks the initial time since 1999 that multiple UT relay squads have netted All-America honors. Moreover, the Big Orange has now claimed 10 All-America certificates, the most since 1999.
Heading into the final day of the championships, UT is in 24th place with 20 points. On tap for Saturday is the 200y backstroke, 100y freestyle, 200y breaststroke, 200y butterfly, platform diving and 400y freestyle relay. Also, the 1650y freestyle will be held in a timed finals format during the evening session.
Tennessee All-America Performers:
11th 800y Freestyle Relay Christine Magnuson (7:16.75)
11th 800y Freestyle Relay Julia Stowers (7:16.75)
11th 800y Freestyle Relay Jacque Fessel (7:16.75)
11th 800y Freestyle Relay Megan Tomes (7:16.75)
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
12- 800y Freestyle Relay
4- 400y Medley Relay
3- Julia Stowers
1- Megan Tomes
LADY VOLS CONTINUE COMPETITION AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind..-- The No. 22 Lady Vol swimming team continued competition at the 2005 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday morning with preliminary action at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center.
The first event of the day was the 200y medley relay. There were flashbacks to the Southeastern Conference Championships as four squads were disqualified for an early start, including the Lady Vol quartet of Jacque Fessel (Cincinnati, Ohio), Tiffany Clay (Mason, Ohio), Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.) and Megan Tomes (Cincinnati, Ohio). UT's unofficial time of 1:41.13 would have propelled the Big Orange to the consolation final.
Fessel and Magnuson then hit the water for the 100y butterfly. The junior clocked a time of 54.84 to take 30th place while the freshman snared 38th with a final marker of 55.50. The times were the fourth and sixth best in the event, respectively, on the year.
Julia Stowers (Knoxville, Tenn.) turned in a solid performance in the 200y freestyle with the second-fastest time of her career, touching the wall in 1:49.70. The senior tied for 35th, which improved on her seeding of 52nd entering the meet.
Clay returned to the water for the 100y breaststroke and turned in a time of 1:03.80 en route to winning the heat and taking 32nd overall. It ranks only behind her swim at the Bulldog Invite (1:03.41) for establishing a personal best. The sophomore had entered the meet at the No. 45 slot.
In the 100y backstroke, the final swim of the morning, Fessel finished in a time of 54.98 to take 24th place overall. The other UT entrant in the event, Tomes, was deadlocked at 35th with a marker of 56.05.
The championships continue Friday evening with finals in the 200y medley relay, 400y IM, 100y butterfly, 200y freestyle, 100y breaststroke, 100y backstroke, three-meter diving and the 800y freestyle relay on tap.