Milwaukee Women End Championship In Second Place
Feb. 27, 2010
CHICAGO, Ill. - Senior Kerry Rossow and junior Danielle Wenger each won a league title to help the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's swimming & diving team to a second place finish Saturday night at the 2010 Horizon League Championships at the UIC Natatorium. The Panthers finished in second-place for the third time in the past four years, with Green Bay capturing its sixth-consecutive Horizon League title. Wenger was named Swimmer of the Meet and Swimming & Diving Co-Athlete of the Year for her record-setting performance this week. It marks the second-straight season she has been the league athlete of the year.
The Phoenix women won with a score of 804 points, followed by UWM with 713. Wright State University was third (694.5) and UIC fourth (574). Coming in fifth was Cleveland State University (368), followed by Youngstown State University (259.5), Butler University (116) and Valparaiso University (109).
"They swam really well," Milwaukee head coach Erica Janssen said. "To finish second after being down by that many points earlier in the meet was great. It's not like we had a bad meet - we really wanted to win - but we swam really well for what we had going into the meet. We have to be extremely pleased with how we performed."
Rossow capped her career with a great effort in the 200 breaststroke, coming from third place midway through the race to claim the league title in a time of 2:17.52. Right behind her was sophomore Sarah Wardecke, earning second team all-league honors in a season-best time of 2:18.78. Senior Bailey Nennig was also in the championship heat, placing seventh in 2:21.36.
"That swim was just incredible," Janssen said. "I thought she just went `lights-out' in the race. It was so great to see her get that one."
In addition to that trio, freshmen Emily Blohm (10th in 2:24.12) and Shannon Slattery (12th in 2:24.44) qualified in the consolation heat.
Wenger continued her impressive week, winning her third league title, all with Horizon League record times. Her effort in the 1650 freestyle was nothing short of phenomenal, breaking the league mark by over 10 seconds when she touched the wall in 16:36.06. That bettered Shelley Hotchkiss' league standard of 16:47.46 (Notre Dame, 1995) and also came in under the NCAA "B" cut standard of 16:41.04. In addition, she dropped her own school record, which had been 16:53.06 set a year ago.
"You can't say enough about Danielle Wenger," Janssen said. "She just deserves everything she gets. She is a phenomenally hard-working swimmer who deserves it all. It is truly a case of hard work every day to get better."
[Watch the ending of Wenger's record-breaking swim]
The 400 freestyle relay team of Wardecke, Wenger, junior Ellie Gross and sophomore Heidi Niespodzany locked up second place for the team with a second place finish, breaking the school record in the process. Their time of 3:27.91 broke the old record of 3:28.50 set last year (Niespodzany, Nennig, Wenger, Wardecke).
Junior Kelsey George won second team all-league honors on the three-meter board, tallying 266.95 points for second to lead four divers into the finals for UWM. Freshman Aubrey Griffiths was sixth (230.55), senior Rachel Grimm seventh (225.80), junior Lauren Roy eighth (222.10), sophomore Morgan Hearn 11th (204.10) and freshman Katie Werner 16th (177.30).
Also scoring for Milwaukee in the 1650 free was senior Jenny Westfall, finishing fifth in a career-best 17:19.67. Senior Alex Nelson also had a nice swim, moving up to seventh with a season-best time of 17:30.84. Freshman Karmyn VandeWettering also had a season-best time, touching the wall in 10th place overall in 17:47.25.
Freshman Maggi Back was Milwaukee's representative in the 200 butterfly. She placed 10th in the consolation heat in 2:08.41.
Representing UWM in the 200 backstroke was sophomore Danielle Chapman, placing fifth in a season-best 2:05.98.
The 100 freestyle effort was led by Niespodzany, who placed fifth in a career-best time of 52.01. Gross was also in the consolation final, touching the wall in a career-best 53.30 in 11th place overall.
2010 HORIZON LEAGUE SWIMMING & DIVING AWARD WINNERS
WOMEN'S FINAL TEAM SCORES