BIG TEN CHAMPS: Women's Swimming and Diving Repeats
With record-setting performances from Kate Fesenko and Donna Smailis highlighting the day, a complete team effort resulted in a second-straight conference title for the Indiana women on the final day of competition at the Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in West Lafayette, Ind.
Indiana finished with 758 points, outdistancing second-place finisher Minnesota by 185.5 points. Michigan took third with 462.5 points.
"From the divers to the swimmers, there was no better team," said head coach Ray Looze. "The worked so hard for this over the course of the season. You always hope your team is going to put together a performance like this."
Indiana took home a whopping seven individual Big Ten titles and two relay crowns. Individual honors went to Taylor Wohrley, named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and Fesenko, named Swimmer of the Meet and Big Ten Swimmer of the Year.
Looking to bounce back from last night's disappointing finish in the 100 backstroke, Fesenko blew away the 200 backstroke field by topping her own Big Ten record with a time of 1:51.32. That was the start of a 1-2-3 sweep for the Hoosiers as Taylor Wohrley posted a new personal best with a time of 1:55.25, and Ashley Jones also set a new PR with a finish of 1:55.44. Kim Tracey finished third in the bonus final and 19th overall with a time of 1:59.61. Fesenko posted the fastest qualifying time in the 200 backstroke by more than three seconds with a 1:52.03. Wohrley cruised to victory in heat five with a time of 1:55.40, second fastest of the morning. Jones also qualified for the championship final with a time of 1:55.56. Tracey posted a career best to finish second in her heat, touching the wall in 1:59.63, just 3/10ths of a second off an NCAA provisional time.
"I kind of surprised myself a little bit," Fesenko said. "I didn't expect such good results but I am really happy, especially for the team. Not everyone believed we could do this, but we believed in ourselves."
"This was so much fun," Wohrley said. "I went into this meet not focused on myself but on scoring points for the team. I think having so much fun here reflected on how I swam."
Following Fesenko's lead, Donna Smailis came out and smashed the school record in the 100 freestyle, winning her second individual Big Ten title with a time of 48.98. That is a B cut for the senior. Margaux Farrell was second in 49.17, a new personal best and also an NCAA provisional mark. Brittany Strumbel took fifth in 49.59, topping her career best.
Smailis was the top qualifier with a time of 49.14, matching the then-school record. Farrell won the 11th of 12 heats with a career best of 49.32, giving her an NCAA B cut and the fourth-fastest time in school history. Strumbel also posted a career mark with a time of 49.80, taking fourth in the heat and earning the final spot in the championship final. Courey Schaefer took fourth in her heat with a time of 51.49, her fastest of the season. Kristen Mitsch finished third in her heat with a season-best time of 53.92. Justine Jones was also third in her heat with a career mark of 53.41.
Allysa Vavra took home a bronze medal in the 200 breaststroke with a career time of 2:10.66, missing an automatic NCAA mark by just 3/10ths of a second. Amilee Smith was eighth with a time of 2:16.84. Katelyn Ishee finished 16th with a time of 2:17.85 in the consolation final. Freshman Ashley Specht placed 19th with her bonus final time of 2:17.02, a career best. Vavra qualified third in the morning swim with a time of 2:10.94. Smith took second in the fourth heat with a season best time of 2:14.84, giving her an NCAA B cut. Ishee won the third heat with a time of 2:16.72, a season best and NCAA B cut. Specht was third in the same heat with a time of 2:17.95, to earn her spot in the bonus final.
Not done yet with her assault on the record book, Fesenko set a new Big Ten standard with a winning time of 1:54.85 in the 200 butterfly, giving her a second Big Ten title on the evening, as well as an automatic NCAA qualifying time. Teammate Brittany Barwegen was right behind with a silver-medal performance, touching the wall in 1:57.66. Tracey finished 24th with a time of 2:05.27 in the bonus final. Fesenko qualified in the top spot, posting a time of 1:56.25. Barwegen was third fastest on the morning with a time of 1:58.71. Tracey pulled away to win her heat with a career time of 2:03.45 to earn a spot in the bonus final. Laura Head took fifth in the opening heat, posting a season-best time of 2:10.43.
Nikki White finished seventh in the 1,650 free with a time of 16:24.96. Cassie Luhrsen placed eighth with her season-best time of 16:28.12. Amilee Smith powered through her heat with a season-best time of 16:41.59, finishing 14th. Ashley Kranz took third in her heat and 26th overall with a season best time if 17:11.91. Laura Head was 29th overall, clocking a career best of 17:19.26.
Sophomore Gabby Agostino won her first individual title with a score of 296.00 on the platform. Agostino took the lead with a score of 73.60 on her final dive. Amy Cozad finished sixth (272.85), with Heidi Mahnken seventh (271.75) and Amy Korthauer eighth (257.15). Christina Kouklakis won the consolation final and finished ninth overall with a score of 270.60. Logan Kline was fifth in the consolation final and 13th overall, posting a score of 213.35. Cassidy Kahn closed out her first Big Ten experience with a sixth-place finish in the consolation final, 14th overall (212.20).
For a grand finale, the Hoosiers closed the meet with a win in the 400 freestyle relay. Smailis, Strumbel, Wohrley and Farrell combined to go 3:16.95 which is a new school record by nearly three seconds, topping the previous mark of 3:19.22 set in 2006. It is also an NCAA B Cut.
1. Kate Fesenko - 1:51.32 (Big Ten Record; NCAA A Cut)- 1:52.03 prelims
2. Taylor Wohrley - 1:55.25 (career best; NCAA B Cut)- 1:55.40 prelims
3. Ashley Jones - 1:55.44 (career best; NCAA B Cut)- 1:55.56 prelims
19. Kim Tracey - 1:59.61 (1:59.53 prelims; career best)
1. Donna Smailis - 48.98 (School Record; NCAA B Cut)- 49.14 prelims
2. Margaux Farrell - 49.17 (career best; NCAA B Cut)- 49.32 prelims
77. Justine Jones - 53.41 (career best)
80. Kristen Mitsch - 53.92 (season best)
8. Amilee Smith - 2:16.84 (2:14.84 prelims; season best; NCAA B Cut)
16. Katelyn Ishee - 2:17.85 (2:16.72 prelims; season best; NCAA B Cut)
19. Ashley Specht - 2:17.02 (career best)- 2:17.95 prelims
1. Kate Fesenko - 1:54.85 (Big Ten Record; NCAA A Cut)- 1:56.25 prelims
2. Brittany Barwegen - 1:57.66 (season best; NCAA B Cut)- 1:58.71 prelims
24. Kim Tracey - 2:05.27 (2:03.45 prelims; career best)
44. Laura Head - 2:10.43 (season best)
7. Nikki White - 16:24.96 (season best; NCAA B Cut)
8. Cassie Luhrsen - 16:28.12 (season best; NCAA B Cut)
14. Amilee Smith - 16:41.59 (season best)
26. Ashley Kranz - 17:11.91 (season best)
29. Laura Head - 17:19.26 (career best)
1. Gabby Agostino - 296.00 (269.30 prelims)
6. Amy Cozad - 272.85 (295.35 prelims)
7. Heidi Mahnken - 271.75 (247.75 prelims)
8. Amy Korthauer - 257.15 (328.95 prelims)
9. Christina Kouklakis - 270.60 (237.20 prelims)
13. Logan Kline - 213.35 (213.75 prelims)
14. Cassidy Kahn - 212.20 (213.40 prelims)
18. Nicole Brehm - 207.60- prelims
400 Freestyle Relay
First Team All-Big Ten
Second Team All-Big Ten
Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Big Ten Swimmer of the Meet
Big Ten Swimmer of the Year
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