March 9, 2007
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The second day of the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., saw more Lady Vols qualify for the finals, improve on personal bests and set new school records. Four swimmers qualified for this evening's finals session in two different events. However, all five swimmers will compete tonight, as the 800y freestyle relay did not have a preliminary race.
Senior Tiffany Clay earned the top spot on the all-time Lady Vol list in the 100y breast, when she passed Tori DeSilvia's 1:01.92 record set in 1995. The senior clocked a lifetime-best 1:01.91 and now appears as the UT leader in the 100y and 200y breaststroke. The mark was just short of making the consolation finals, however, as she finished in 21st place.
Freshman Michele King was in the lane next to Clay and finished 27th in 1:02.75.
Junior Christine Magnuson continued to post quality times in the 100y butterfly with a second-place 52.56 in the preliminaries. Magnuson set a new school record (52.04) when she claimed the gold in the event at Southeastern Conference Championships and had the fourth-fastest time in the country going into this weekend's meet.
The 200y medley relay of Megan Tomes, Clay, Magnuson and King qualified for the consolation finals with a 16th-place 1:40.40. That time is the third-fastest in Lady Vol history.
"We actually got off to kind of a slow start with that first relay," Lady Vol Head Swimming Coach Matt Kredich said. "I feel like we are fortunate to be in the top 16. I know we can go faster than that.
"Then every other swim we had this morning was really good. Christine swam with a lot of poise, Tiffany had a best time and Carly [Mathes] almost snuck into the consolation finals with a best time. We also have the 800y free relay tonight. With Carly's swim and the way Megan and Christine swam, I think we can be really good."
Mathes nearly went from being the last seed in the 200y free to qualifying for the consolation finals when she touched the wall in a lifetime-best 1:47.28. The sophomore was in the top eight with just two heats left to go, but was knocked down to 18th out of 71 swimmers. The performance gives Mathes the seventh-best time and ranks her as the second-top performer in Lady Vol history.
The finals session will begin at 7 p.m. CT at the University Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus. In addition to this morning's events, the 800y freestyle relay will be contested at the end of the evening.