Nov. 10, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - No. 15 Tennessee concluded day one of the two-day tri-meet with third-ranked Stanford and defending national champion Auburn this evening at the Student Aquatic Center. The Lady Vols are currently trailing the fourth-ranked Tigers, 96-71, and the Cardinal, 116-51. Stanford is leading Auburn as well by a score of 102-65.
Highlighting the evening for the Lady Vols was the performance of senior Megan Tomes in the 200y backstroke. Tomes, who already has three NCAA provisional qualifying times this season, earned the first automatic qualifying time of her senior year by posting a 1:57.66 in the 200y backstroke. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native took second place in the event behind Stanford's Julia Smit.
"Megan put together a great swim technically," Lady Vol Head Swimming Coach Matt Kredich said. "She's been excited for this meet ever since she saw it on the schedule. Her excitement and enthusiasm showed in that swim."
Also standing out for the Big Orange was junior diver Lauren LeRoy. LeRoy scored a season-best 279.40 in the one-meter competition, just six points behind first-place Cassidy Krug of Stanford. Krug is a member of the USA Diving national team.
"Lauren was going against one of the most elite divers in the country today," Lady Vol Head Diving Coach Dave Parrington said. "She went head-to-head with her and was even leading going into the last dive. I'm very proud and very pleased that she showed the competitiveness she did competing against someone of that nature."
To start the meet in true Tennessee fashion, the foursome of freshman Michele King, junior Christine Magnuson, Katie Gehring and Tomes won the first event of the night, the 400y freestyle relay, with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:32.74. King's leadoff leg gave the York, Pa., native her third NCAA "B" cut of the year.
The second event of the evening was the 400y IM. Tennessee's success came on the personal level as freshman Keira Heath and sophomores Carly Mathes and Sarah McCall all recorded season-best times. Mathes' eighth-place 4:26.26 was also the best of her collegiate career. The competition was tough for the Lady Vols as Julia Smit of Stanford won the event in an automatic qualifying time of 4:10.09 and the second through fifth finishers each earned NCAA "B" qualifying times.
A technical difficulty caused the third heat in the 100y freestyle to be repeated at the end of the evening. The race provided four swimmers with NCAA "B" qualifying times, while Tennessee's top-scorer King, missed the cut by .03 seconds. Her 51.00 was, however, the best of her collegiate career and earned her a fifth-place showing. Magnuson was eighth (51.39), junior Laura Fehrman posted a season-best 53.42 for 11th-place and sophomore Gehring was 12th with a time of 53.82.
While Tomes was the top Lady Vol point-scorer in the 200y back, three other Lady Vols posted season-bests in the event. Senior Elizabeth Christy finished 10th with a season-best 2:08.03. Swimming in exhibition, but posting top times were senior Ashley Yeager (2:10.95) and sophomore Maria Jugan (2:15.70).
In the last competition before the break, the 200y breast, senior Tiffany Clay led the Lady Vols as she touched the wall in a season-best time of 2:19.27 for third-place. Stanford's Caroline Bruce, a 2004 Olympian in 200y breast, won the race with her second automatic qualifying time of the year, 2:12.16. Tennessee freshman Bryttany Curran (2:21.50) and McCall (2:25.12) also contributed to the team score.
With three events left on day one, the Lady Vols continued to push themselves. Magnuson started off the second half of the evening with a season-best in the 100y butterfly. Her time of 55.15 put the Tinley Park, Ill., native in second, just .13 seconds behind first-place Elaine Breeden of Stanford. It also marked her second NCAA "B" cut in as many meets. Sophomore Betsy Lange joined Magnuson in posting a season-best in the event and placed10th (57.90). Freshman Jamie Saffer finished in 11th with a time of 59.34.
The 500y freestyle saw five NCAA provisional qualifying times from Auburn and Stanford swimmers and a season-best from senior Misty Cain. Sophomore Sam Maccherola led the Lady Vols with an eighth-place 5:02.10, and was followed by Cain in ninth (5:03.73). Also competing for Rocky Top were freshman Ashley Knapik (5:06.10) and Yeager (5:17.67). Auburn's Adrienne Binder received top honors after touching the wall in 4:46.41, her second NCAA "B" qualifying time of the season in the event.
To cap off the evening, Tennessee came out in full force for the 400y medley relay. Tomes, Clay, Magnuson and King made up the squad which finished in a season-best 3:44.92 and earned runner-up honors. Tomes' leadoff leg (55.51) marked her fastest 100y back time of the season. The two other UT foursomes earned seventh and eighth in 3:54.48 and 3:57.16, respectively.
Saturday's competition is slated to begin at 10 a.m. with the 200y medley relay. Seven individual races, two relays and the three-meter diving event will be contested at the Student Aquatic Center.