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.)
|UT All-SEC Performers:|
|3rd||1m springboard - Lauryn McCalley||290.00|
|3rd||100y backstroke - Jacque Fessel||54.03|
|UT Individual Point Scorers:|
|UT Relay Point Scorers:|
|24||800y freestyle relay - Elizabeth Christy, Abbi Terveer, Jacque Fessel, Megan Tomes|
|22||400y freestyle relay - Abbi Terveer, Taryn Ternent, Meghan Keefer, Megan Tomes|