IOWA CITY, Iowa -
Topping the runner-up by an incredible 10+second margin, senior Allysa Vavra's Big Ten title in the 400 individual medley highlighted day three of the 2012 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa.
"We had a good day," said head coach Ray Looze. "Preliminaries went really well and we stepped up in finals. Tomorrow is our best day and we are going to lay our hearts on the line."
Indiana sits in second place with 416 points, 40 points behind leader Minnesota. Ohio State is third with 401 points, followed by Wisconsin (289) and Penn State (260.5).
Vavra smashed her own Big Ten record and won the race by more than 10 seconds with a time of 4:01.41 in the 400 individual medley, giving her a second-straight Big Ten title in the event and her second individual crown of the 2012 meet. Vavra's time is the third fastest in the NCAA this season, trailing only Florida's Elizabeth Beisel and USC's Katinka Hosszu. It is the 15th-fastest time ever and makes her the eighth-fastest individual.
"I went into this thinking about where our team stands and how I could help them," Vavra said. "I went into this meet unshaved and unrested, so to be able to put up this time is good and we hope to continue this success tomorrow."
Teammate Dorina Szekeres finished fifth with a time of 4:13.92. Kim Tracey moved up three spots in the consolation final to finish 13th with a time of 4:15.82. She qualified 16th with a time of 4:17.72 in the morning swim.
It was no competition for Vavra in prelims as she beat her top competitor by nearly half a pool length with a then-pool record time of 4:04.65 to qualify in the top spot. Szekeres won her heat in a time of 4:13.26, setting a then-pool record and finishing third overall. She came in with a seed time of 4:24.82.
MacLean went a career best 53.38 in the championship final of the 100 butterfly to place fifth overall. Allie Day also posted a career time (54.78) to finish 18th.
Brittany Strumbel tallied a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:45.96. Farrell, who qualified first in the morning prelims at 1:45.76, finished fourth in 1:46.09. Her prelim time set a new pool record. Courey Schaefer was sixth at 1:46.98.
In the consolation final, Nikki White placed 12th overall in 1:47.49, while Taylor Wohrley was 16th in a time of 1:50.25. Guinevere Vanden Noort took third in her heat and finished 32nd overall with a career time of 1:49.64. Laura Head went a career best 1:53.82 to finish second in her heat and 62nd overall. Three heats later, Kristen Mitsch matched Head's time with her personal best of 1:53.82.
Specht topped her own personal best in the 100 breaststroke to finish fifth in 1:00.38. Bronwyn Pasloski was second in the consolation final and 10th overall, touching the wall in 1:01.52. In the bonus final it was Brittney Phelan in 21st (1:01.63), Katelyn Ishee 22nd (1:03.81) and Afton Robertson 23rd (1:04.50). That is a career best for Robertson. Justine Ress powered her way to a second-place finish in the 100 backstroke with a time of 53.02, with Taylor Wohrley fifth after touching the wall in 53.34. Cynthia Pammett picked up points for IU by taking 12th overall in 54.89, with Szekeres 15th (55.75). In the morning session she won her heat in a career best 54.97, while Pammett went a career best 54.48 in the morning. Allie Day had posted a time of 53.84 in her prelim heat but was disqualified.
Kate Hillman finished 13th with a score of 299.45 in the consolation final. Right behind her was teammate Christina Kouklakis in 14th after tallying 297.35 in consols. Cassidy Kahn placed 38th with a score of 233.85.
Competition concludes Saturday with the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, 1,650 freestyle, 400 free relay and platform diving.