Nov. 19, 2006
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The 15th-ranked Lady Vols ended their final day at the Minnesota Invite in Minneapolis, Minn., with a second-place 805 point total. Highlighting the weekend were a pair of victories from junior diver Lauren LeRoy, four championship titles from junior Christine Magnuson and two Lady Vol relay wins. The squad will have a break from competition until January when the divers head to Athens, Ga., for the Bulldog Diving Invitational (Jan. 3-5), and the rest of the team to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern on Jan. 6.
"The best thing we got out of this meet, was more of a sense of who we are as a team," Lady Vol Head Swimming Coach Matt Kredich said. "When you spend this much time together over four days, you get to know each other better. You get to know what each other's challenges and goals are. We are able to focus more on each other, rather than just ourselves as individuals. That is a huge step for this team because the next six weeks are all training."
The first event of the afternoon was the 1650y freestyle, in which two freshmen scored points for Tennessee. While the Lady Vols have competed in the 1000y free in all three meets thus far this year, the team had yet to swim the 1650y until today. Keira Heath clocked a 17:04.75 to place eighth, while Ashley Knapik was ninth with a time of 17:09.87. Seniors Ashley Yeager and Misty Cain came in 21st and 24th, respectively.
Three Lady Vols qualified for the consolation finals in the 200y backstroke after finishing in the top 16 in preliminary action. Senior Elizabeth Christy swam the race in 2:08.15 and was quickly followed by Lady Vol junior Danyelle Vincent who clocked a 2:08.36. Yeager rounded out the top 16 with a time of 2:08.87. Knapik was scheduled to make an appearance in the "C" final after posting a 2:09.50 in her first collegiate 200y back, but was moved up to join her teammates in the consolation finals.
In the finals session of the 200y back, Vincent won the "B" final by blazing past the competition in 2:03.90, 3.4 seconds ahead of runner-up Jaclyn Gazvoda of Minnesota. Christy was fourth in the heat, 12th overall, with a time of 2:08.45, while fellow senior Yeager, was sixth in the heat after touching the wall in 2:08.80. Knapik rounded out the top 16 with a 2:13.82 readout.
Orange-clad swimmers took over the 100y freestyle morning session as four Lady Vols ranked in the top eight to make it to the championship finals. Junior Christine Magnuson placed second in the prelims with a time of 51.42. Freshman Michele King, who will represent the U.S. in the 100m freestyle at the 2007 Pan- American games, clocked a 51.48 in the prelims. Sophomore Carly Mathes posted a 51.67, while classmate Brittany Nauta shaved 1.27 seconds off her season-best time to take seventh in the prelims with a time of 51.86. Junior Laura Fehrman was the only UT swimmer in the consolation finals after she touched the wall in 52.58 in prelims. Sophomore Katie Gehring and Maccherola advanced to the "C" finals with readouts of 52.89 and 53.43, respectively.
The finals of the 100y freestyle saw UT swimmers earn 65 points, and Magnuson record her fourth individual title of the weekend. The Tinsley Park, Ill., native earned her first NCAA "B" cut of the year in the 100y free and the top Lady Vol time of the season when she stopped the clock at 50.47. Mathes (51.35) and Nauta were not far behind in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Nauta's 51.63 clocking was the best of her career. King came in seventh with a time of 52.04.
"Christine won every individual event that she swam," Kredich said. "However, the part that was impressive to me was that every swim was very competitive. She's really learned from her races extremely well and she doesn't have the off races. She's always on and always consistent. It's very important for our team to see that, especially the freshmen."
Fehrman, UT's only entrant in the consolation final, earned points for her squad by placing 13th overall in 52.36. Gehring won the "C" final in 52.27, while Maccherola was 19th overall with a 52.93 readout.
The 200y breaststroke saw four Lady Vols advance to the final sessions as senior Tiffany Clay (2:18.21) and McCall (2:23.03) finished in the top 8 in prelims, while freshmen Jamie Saffer (2:24.56) and Bryttany Curran (2:25.07) were in the top 16.
Clay posted her best finish of the weekend when she claimed runner-up honors in the championship final of the 200y breast. Her 2:17.67 readout was just .02 seconds from her first NCAA provisional cut of the 2006-07 campaign. McCall also swam well in the heat, taking 4.08 seconds off her season best time and coming in fifth with a clocking of 2:21.04.
The freshman duo of Saffer and Curran took the number one and number two spots in the consolation finals, when they both posted season-best times of 2:21.79 and 2:23.05, respectively.
Kredich entered two swimmers in the 200y fly, Saffer and Lange. Saffer's career-best 2:05.62 qualified her for the championship finals, while Lange's 2:09.63 earned her a spot in the consolation finals. In the finals, Saffer earned her first NCAA provisional cut of her collegiate career by posting a second-place 2:02.00. Lange was third in the consolation finals when she toppled her second personal best time of the night, as her 2:07.82 clocking bested her previous fastest time by .99 seconds.
"Jamie Saffer had a really good night," Kredich said. "She swam the 200y breast and 200y fly within about 15 minutes of each other and smashed her best in the 200y fly. It looks like that could be an event she could go to the NCAA competition in."
Junior Vicky Linnell recorded her best ranking of the meet when she took third-place in the platform diving event. The Prospect, South Australia, native was a mere 2.15 points from qualifying for NCAA zone diving with her 222.85 points. This afternoon was the first time this season, the Lady Vols have competed from the platform.
"I'm very encouraged and pleased with Vicky's performance," Lady Vol Head Diving Coach Dave Parrington said. "This was the first time in her life that she competed from a full ten-meter list of dives. It was a major achievement for her. She was steady with no major mistakes, which was really encouraging."
Junior Lauren LeRoy, who won both the one-meter and three-meter competitions this weekend, did her dives off the five-meter and finished in seventh with a score of 196.05.
"It is difficult to place high in the standings when you are just diving off the five-meter platform," Parrington said. "She has a five meter list where she was pretty steady. She continued her hot diving by placing seventh in the top eight. That was a great performance for her.
UT's other entrant in the platform diving event, sophomore Staley McCartney, garnered 160.20 points for 17th place.
For the third time this season, Tennessee swimmers ended a meet by winning a relay. The foursome of King, Magnuson, Mathes and Nauta earned 40 points for the Big Orange by receiving top-honors and posting an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:22.94 in the 400y freestyle relay. The mark beats the team's previous season best by 1.33 seconds. UT's "B" team also contributed to the cause as Fehrman, Gehring, Maccherola and Christy clocked a sixth-place 3:30.44. Saffer, Vincent, Lange and Quinn were 10th with a time of 3:32.31, while UT's fourth entrant of Neal, Pollard, Jugan and Clay came in 24th in 3:46.03. Tennessee's "D" squad was disqualified.
"The last relay was just four very solid swims," Kredich said. "Brittany Nauta swam a best time in the 100y freestyle, then her relay swim was one second faster than how she did individually. She really performed well in this event and did tremendous on relays."
|Total Team Points|
|St. Cloud State||20|
|South Dakota State||8|
|Air Force Academy||4|