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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Diver Staley McCartney recorded her first-ever win in Lady Vol attire this afternoon, helping Tennessee defeat Indiana, 172-128, at the Student Aquatic Center. The junior broke personal records from both springboards and earned top honors from three meters with a score of 291.90. Following her three-meter win, UT swimmers took six of the remaining seven events.
“Staley is definitely the MVP of the day,” head swimming coach Matt Kredich said. “That was an incredible performance. It really inspired her teammates and got them to be a little more focused on competing and racing. That was a big lift for the team.”
“I am just really excited,” McCartney said. “I’ve worked really hard and I’m glad that everything came together. It’s really special that all the girls are so excited. Carly [Mathes] said she was waiting behind the blocks and it would make her day if I won.”
Also having an outstanding meet was freshman Aleksa Akerfelds, senior Christine Magnuson and junior Carly Mathes. Akerfelds, the defending Division I National Swimmer of the Week posted wins and new personal-best times in both the 500y and 1000y freestyle. Magnuson swam the fastest of her career in the 200y fly and 500y free, while Mathes earned a team-high 27 points with three wins today.
“We had some phenomenal swims today,” Kredich said. “I think Carly had the best dual meet she has ever had. She was a real leader today. Christine, as usual, was very tough. Aleksa just keeps getting faster and faster. Betsy Lange also had a great meet. We had a lot of people step up today that we count on to win events.”
In the first swimming event of the day, the 200y medley relay, Tennessee’s “A” team of freshman Tricia Weaner, sophomore Michele King, Magnuson and junior Katie Gehring was neck and neck with Indiana’s “A” team, but finished second by a mere .11 seconds. The squad’s time of 1:42.20 is UT’s second NCAA provisional cut in the event. Tennessee’s “B” team of freshman Morgan Farrell, sophomore Alex Barsanti and juniors Betsy Lange and Ashley Quinn was third in 1:45.95.
In the 1000y freestyle, Akerfelds, pulled ahead of Indiana’s Amanda Smith with about seven laps to go to post a new personal-best time of 9:52.93. The freshman continues her streak of setting a new personal record each time she swims the event, as she started the season with a 10:00.22 readout. New this year to the distance events, junior Sarah McCall finished fifth in 10:20.05.
Weaner, along with juniors Brittany Nauta and Mathes represented UT in the 200y freestyle. Mathes demolished the competition as she was 2.59 seconds ahead of second-place Presley Bard of IU. Her time of 1:48.19 is her quickest of the season and an NCAA “B” cut. Weaner and Nauta also scored points for Tennessee in third and fifth place, respectively.
Farrell led the Lady Vols in the 100y back by finishing second with a time of 58.65. Senior Danyelle Vincent helped the Big Orange by tallying points in the No. 4 position.
Indiana was ahead, 49-44, going into the sixth event of the day- the 100y breast. Freshman Martina Moravcikova and sophomore Bryttany Curran took the second and third spots, respectively, behind Hoosier Sarah Stockwell. Moravcikova’s time of 1:03.86 was just .31 seconds from Stockwell, while Curran recorded a 1:04.89 readout.
Magnuson posted a new personal best in the 200y butterfly, 2:00.21, to strengthen her position as the sixth-top performer in school history. It is the second win and NCAA “B” cut in the event for Magnuson. Sophomore Jamie Saffer picked up points for the Orange and White by taking third (2:04.73), while Lange stopped the clock in a season-best 2:09.40 for sixth.
It was King’s win in the 50y freestyle which put UT ahead of the Hoosiers, 77-73. Her time of 23.42 gave the York, Pa., native her third 50y free win of the season. Rounding out the top five were Gehring (24.00), Quinn (24.07) and senior Laura Fehrman (24.11), as they took the third through fifth positions.
Three of UT’s four divers recorded season bests from the one-meter board. Senior Lauren LeRoy’s zone-qualifying score of 301.20 ranked her second and was a season best. McCartney finished in a season-high third place with a personal-best 260.55 score. Senior Vicky Linnell was fourth (260.03), while freshman Jill Pierce had a season-best 230.92 points to place seventh.
From three meters, McCartney grabbed her first collegiate win with a career-high 291.90 points. LeRoy and Linnell came in third and fourth with scores of 280.21 and 273.00, respectively. Pierce was eighth with 222.38 points.
After the diving break, Mathes grabbed her second win of the day in the 100y freestyle. The Kettering, Ohio, native stopped the clock in 50.97 to pick up nine points for the team. Nauta and Gehring also contributed to the UT cause by placing third (52.10) and fourth (52.17), respectively.
In the 200y back, Weaner led her teammates by grabbing runner-up honors in a season-best and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:58.89. Vincent came in at fifth (2:08.45), while junior Maria Jugan turned in her fastest time of the season at 2:09.95.
Moravcikova, who won the 200y breaststroke versus Northwestern on Jan. 5, added another first-place finish this afternoon by touching the wall in an NCAA “B” qualifying time of 2:17. Indiana boosted its team score by taking the No. 2 through No. 4 spots, but was still down, 120-106, with four events left.
“People really stepped up in their roles and had some great wins,” Kredich said. “For instance, Martina really took control of the 200y breaststroke. The best part about that is that she put herself in the race and she won the race.”
Tennessee’s only contingents in the 500y free, Akerfelds and Magnuson, picked up the top-two placements, both with personal-best and NCAA qualifying times. Akerfelds’ 4:51.53 earned the Bronxville, N.Y., native her second win of the day, while Magnuson’s time of 4:51.86 was good for second. They now occupy the No. 12 and 13 spots on the list of UT’s all-time top performers in the 500y free.
With just minutes to catch her breath, Magnuson turned around and won the next event, the 100y fly. From Tinley Park, Ill., Magnuson grabbed a team-high fourth place at the 2007 NCAA Championships in the 100y fly. Her time today, 54.32, is her sixth NCAA provisional qualifying mark this season. Also contributing points were Lange and Saffer who finished third (57.27) and fourth (57.65).
Mathes added another nine points to the Orange and White’s score by winning the 200y IM. The junior All-American posted an NCAA “B” cut in the event by touching the wall in 2:03.69, over a second faster than Indiana’s Allison Kay. Two freshmen, Weaner (2:06.72) and Akerfelds (2:07.50), were fourth and fifth, respectively.
To cap off the meet, the Tennessee foursome of Fehrman, Nauta, Gehring and Mathes grabbed the top spot in the 400y freestyle with over four seconds to spare in 3:26.91. Quinn, Curran, Lange and McCall were third (3:34.55).
The Lady Vols will return to Southeastern Conference action on Jan. 26, as they head to No. 1 Georgia for an 11 a.m. ET meet.