February 25, 2011

More records fall as Bears move up to sixth in MPSF standings

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Friday Results

LONG BEACH, Calif. – The 200 freestyle relay team at Northern Colorado made it three-for-three on school records by relay teams at the inaugural Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Swimming & Diving Championships, highlighting a phenomenal day by the AquaBears.

The relay team, along with senior Tori Gutt broke three school records on the third day of the championships.

The Bears climbed one spot into sixth place headed into the final day, scoring 102 points on Friday alone to bring their total to 202 and within 10 points of LMU in fifth with 212.

"We had 100 percent career best times for everyone who swam today," said Kelly McClanahan. "We did an amazing job and I'm very happy with tonight. The biggest highlight, of course, is the divers. We're sitting in sixth place single-handedly because of them. To go 1-2 in the diving is just unheard of and I'm very happy for them."

Freshman Gina Riggle, freshman Jamie Byrne, freshman Kira Alger and junior Jennifer Smith combined to swim a 1:35.52 to finish in sixth place and break the previous school record of 1:35.96 held by Kati Falger, Nan Liu, Becca Getz and Katie Schmitt from 2007.

Senior Tori Gutt qualified for the finals in the 400 IM, touching the wall seventh in a school-record time of 4:27.18. She breaks her own record of 4:27.61 from 2008. Freshman Courtney Van Oost also qualified for the consolation finals after swimming a personal best time of 4:29.17, which moves her into second all-time in Northern Colorado history.

Gutt then did almost the impossible, swimming the exact same time in the finals, 4:27.18, to finish eighth overall. Van Oost took another second off her time, finishing 11th overall and third in the consolation finals with her time of 4:28.16.

Gutt came back in the morning session to qualify for the consolation finals in the 100 breaststroke with her second-school record of the day. She timed a 1:04.70 to better the previous record of 1:05.83 from Rebecca Olree in 1998. Riggle also qualified for finals, finishing 17th in 1:05.39, which is second-best all-time in Northern Colorado history and also better than the previous record. Fellow freshman Renee Stephens and junior Amanda Donegan also finished high enough to advance to the evening session. Stephens timed a 1:05.97 to take over fourth on the top 10 list and Donegan touched the wall in 1:06.72 to move into seventh all-time.

Gutt also placed seventh in the consolation finals of the 100 breast, good for 15th overall, timing a 1:05.74. Riggle won the bonus finals, bettering her preliminaries time by 0.27 for a 1:05.12. Donegan swam a 1:07.01 in the bonus finals, while Stephens was just behind her in 1:07.09 for 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

The tandem of senior Kelly Schmeckpeper-Cook and sophomore Sara Moldenhaur swept the top two spots in the three-meter diving. Schmeckpeper-Cook pulled off the double championship after winning the one-meter board on Thursday evening. Friday, she scored 287.25 to win, while Moldenhaur scored 281.95 as the next closest competitor was separated by over 30 points. Moldenhaur posted a career-best score on the board and puts herself into fourth on the school's top 10 charts.

Van Oost blasted her way to a 57.17 in the preliminaries of the 100 backstroke, shaving over three seconds off her personal best time and finished fifth to qualify for the championship finals. Her time is the third-fastest in school history.

Sophomore Sammy Leonard qualified for the evening session after timing a 58.14, bettering her previous career best time of 58.59 and she climbs one spot into fifth all-time in school history. Byrne continued her strong championships, swimming a 59.30 in the preliminaries to move on and climb into ninth all-time on the NC charts. Hattie Oatts also advanced to the finals after shaving almost three seconds off her season-best time, timing a 1:01.00.

Van Oost finished sixth in the finals after touching the wall in 57.30. She was the only freshman to qualify for the championship finals in the event. Leonard finished second in the consolation finals for 10th overall after clocking a 58.25. In the bonus finals, Byrne swam a 59.58 for 21st place and Oatts clocked in at 1:01.74 for 24th.

In the 100 butterfly, senior Alisha Dauman shaved almost three seconds off her season-best time to clock a 59.90. Christina Gregory was exhibitioned, so she couldn't place, but the freshman swam a career-best time of 58.84 for the sixth-fastest swim in school history.

Alger, Alicen Fair, Hannah Halstrom and Jennifer Smith all finished in order in the 200 freestyle preliminaries. Alger shaved over three seconds off her career-best time, timing a 1:56.11. Fair swam a 1:57.41, Halstrom a 1:57.48 and Smith a 1:57.72 for season best times for the trio.

Saturday concludes the 2011 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Swimming & Diving Championships and the regular season for the Northern Colorado team. Both divers have qualified for the NCAA Zones and will compete at that event March 10-11.

 "I'm really happy with the girls," said McClanahan. "The girls are getting up and racing even if they're tired – they're performing extremely well. We're going to the best we can to come back tomorrow morning and swim strong. We just need to do what we're doing and keep riding the wave."