Milwaukee Women Remain In First After Day Two Of Championships
Feb. 26, 2009
BROWN DEER - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's swimming team broke five more school records Thursday to hold on to first place at the 2009 Horizon League Championships. After two days of action from the Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center, the Panthers hold the top spot with 309 points.
Milwaukee is followed closely by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with 306 points and then by Wright State University with 232. Rounding out the field are UIC (212), Youngstown State University (121), Valparaiso University (113), Cleveland State University (109) and Butler University (71).
"This was not our strongest day [events-wise] but I still feel very good about where we are," UWM head coach Erica Janssen said. "Our 500 free girls did a great job. Again, school records all the way across the board. For us to be up three points right now is great. The team is really rising to the occasion and getting behind each other."
Senior Molly Finn earned second-team all-league honors in the 200 IM, touching the wall in 2:03.08. That marked the second time Thursday that she broke her own school record after coming in at 2:04.16 in preliminaries (which tied the conference and league record set by Jessica Weidert in 2008) and toppled her former school mark of 2:06.75 set last year.
Green Bay's Danielle DeGrand won the event in a league-record time of 2:01.92.
"Molly broke the school record by almost three seconds so that was just incredible," Janssen said. "Her split in the 400 medley relay was phenomenal as well - she really had a great night in the pool."
Junior Bailey Nennig placed third in the 200 IM with a time of 2:04.95, besting her previous career time by nearly three seconds. Junior Ali Winius placed 11th in a time of 2:09.55, topping her former career-best by over three seconds as well.
Sophomore Danielle Wenger made a nice comeback attempt in the 500 freestyle, nearly catching the eventual winner, Wright State's Molley Pipkorn, before settling for second place. Her time of 4:55.29 was good enough to break the school record, which she actually held and lowered again in yesterday's 1,000 free in a time of 4:57.23.
"For Danielle, it was just a great swim for her," Janssen said. "The eventual winner was on the other side of the pool so Danielle could never see her. It was still a great swim. When you break the school record you just cannot be upset with it."
UWM placed four in the consolation heat in the 500, with freshman Heidi Niespodzany winning the heat, sophomore Ellie Gross placing 10th, junior Alex Nelson 13th and junior Jenny Westfall 14th. Niespodzany cut nearly four seconds off her previous season-low in winning the consolation heat in 5:01.26. That time also set a new UWM freshman record in the events (5:04.27; Kelsey Ogle).
The other three all set career-best times in the race: Gross touched the wall in 5:01.98, Nelson in 5:07.73 and Westfall in 5:09.60.
Freshman Sarah Wardecke came close to a league crown in the 50 freestyle, only to come up 24-hundredths of a second behind the winner, Christine Spading of UWGB (23.52). Wardecke's time of 23.76 lowered her own school freshman record in the event. Fellow freshman Danielle Chapman earned a spot in the consolation final, placing 15th with a season-best time of 24.50.
Another school record fell in the 400 medley relay, with the top four teams all coming in under the former Horizon League record of 3:50.64. Green Bay won in 3:44.42, while the team of Wenger, junior Kerry Rossow, Finn and Wardecke placed third in 3:48.90.
That broke the former school mark of 3:51.09 set in 2006 (Olson, L. Caldwell, Finn, Kelly).
The championship continues Friday morning with the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, the 800 freestyle relay and the women's one-meter diving board.
Day Two Women's Team Totals: