Jan. 15, 2005

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- The University of Tennessee Lady Vol swimming and diving team went 1-1 on Saturday in double dual meet action, defeating LSU, 143-99, and falling to No. 15 Virginia, 126-111. The highlight of the meet came when Megan Tomes broke a 15-year old school record in the 200y IM with a time of 2:01.07, surpassing the previous mark of 2:01.10.

"It was just like we thought it would go, as it went down to the last relay," Head Coach Dan Colella said. "We would have liked to see a win (versus Virginia), but to do what we did today against the No. 15 team in the country makes me real proud of them."

The meet got underway with the one-meter diving competition. LSU's Jessica Wantz won the event with a NCAA Zone B Qualifying score of 291.05. For the Lady Vols, Lauren LeRoy (Oshkosh, Wis.) claimed third place with a score of 232.55, while Brittany Fulmer (Maryville, Tenn.) took fifth, finishing with 224.25. Heading to the 200y medley relay, UT led Virginia, 13-3, and trailed LSU, 15-4.

The freestylers then hit the pool for the 1000y event. Senior Julia Stowers (Knoxville, Tenn.) snagged first place behind a personal-best time of 9:51.43. The final marker places her as the third-faster swimmer in program history and ranks as the sixth-best overall time. Misty Cain (Marietta, Ga.) finished fifth overall, clocking in at 10:33.26. Behind Stowers and Cain, UT jumped ahead of LSU, now leading, 30-25. The Lady Vols also extended their lead over the Cavaliers, as the tally now stood at, 29-23, in favor of Team Orange.



The 200y freestyle was next up in the pool. Stowers, fresh off her victory in the 1000 free, notched second place in a time of 1:50.02. Laura Fehrman (St. Charles, Ill.), competing in the 200y event for the first time in her collegiate career, snagged fifth overall. UT now pushed its lead out to 42-32 over the Tigers. Although UVA took first and third in the event, the Lady Vols still led the Cavaliers, by a 36-35 margin.

Magnuson and the sprinters then took to the water for the 50y freestyle. The freshman sensation narrowly missed out on an NCAA provisional qualifying mark, as she finished in a personal-best time of 23.57. That time places the Illinois native as the 15th-fastest swimmer in program history. Although Blevins finished seventh overall, the Big Orange's advantage over LSU now stood at 54-39. Against Virginia, Magnuson's nine points, along with Blevins' one point in head-to-head scoring, allowed UT to add a point to its lead. Heading to the 200y IM, Tennessee now had a two-point lead, at 46-44.

It was in the 200y IM that the spectators would be treated a something special as sophomore Tomes broke former Lady Vol All-American Jenny McGrath's school record set in 1990. The Ohio native blazed to a time of 2:01.07, besting McGrath's time of 2:01.10. The final clocking also lowered Tomes' NCAA provisional qualifying mark by over one and a half seconds. The effort netted Tomes first place in the event. Elizabeth Christy had a final marker of 2:12.64 to finish fifth overall. Thanks to Tomes, Christy and Ashley Yeager (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), who combined for 13 points, the Orange and White had pushed the lead out to 67-45 over the Tigers. UT also increased its lead over the nationally-ranked Cavaliers, as they picked up 12 points to UVA's seven. With the 200y butterfly slated next, the score now was 58-51, in favor of the Big Orange.

Virginia would control the event, sweeping the top three positions. The Lady Vols' Betsy Brockman (Batavia, Ohio) turned in a final time of 2:08.49 to finish fourth overall. The Orange and White continued to match up very well against the Tigers, as they picked up 13 additional points and now led, 80-51. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers vaulted to the lead, as they claimed 16 of a possible 19 points and now led UT, 67-61.

Tomes would then continue her outstanding afternoon in the 100y freestyle. The Ohio native notched her second win on the day in an NCAA "B" cut time of 50.77. The time was a personal record for the sophomore and moved her up to the sixth-fastest swimmer in program history. Abbi Terveer (Lima, Ohio) finished fifth overall. Right behind her was Fehrman, who clocked a 53.92 time to take sixth overall. With the 200y backstroke next up, UT continued to lead LSU, now by a 94-56 margin. Team Orange also had cut into UVA's lead, as the tally was now, 74-73, in favor of the Cavaliers.

In the 200y back, Virginia's Katie Gordon was victorious, turning in a time of 2:00.75 to narrowly edge out Fessel, who clocked 2:01.64. UVA swimmers also picked up third- and fourth-place showings. In team scoring, UT continued to control LSU, snagging 10 points to make the score 104-65. However, after cutting UVA's margin to one, Tennessee now trailed, 88-78, with four events remaining.

Stowers would continue a strong afternoon in her final competition at home as the Knoxville native completed the sweep of the distance events. She finished in 4:49.53, taking home the title in the 500y freestyle. Cain finished sixth overall with a final marker of 5:14.04. Thanks to their efforts, the Lady Vols had just about secured victory over their SEC rival LSU, as UT's advantage was now 116-72. Meanwhile, the Big Orange knocked one point off of Virginia's lead, with the score standing at 97-88 as the meet headed into the three-meter diving competition.

With the divers taking center stage, UT needed a big performance out of its tandem of Fulmer and LeRoy and they would provide it. LeRoy finished third overall with Fulmer right behind. More importantly though, they both finished ahead of Virginia's Patty Park, as UT picked up 13 points while UVA notched just three points, vaulting the Big Orange into a 101-100 lead over the Cavaliers. LSU cut into Tennessee's lead, though the Orange and White still enjoyed a comfortable 121-86 advantage.

In the 200y breaststroke, Clay finished fourth overall with a time of 2:19.56. However, Virginia finished one-two, enabling the Cavaliers to retake the lead at 115-105. UT pushed the lead out to 128-97 versus LSU heading into the 200y freestyle relay.

In the final event of the night, the Lady Vols would need to finish one-two to knock off the Cavaliers. However, Virginia's quartet narrowly edged out the Lady Vol group of Terveer, Christy, Fehrman and Magnuson to win the event. Tennessee did claim third overall in the event, to make final tally, 126-111, in favor of UVA. Meanwhile, against the Tigers, UT's winning score was 143-99.

The Lady Vols will now take two weeks off before traveling to Gainesville, Fla. on Jan. 29 to take on the Florida Gators in their final action of the regular season before the SEC Championships.



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