Feb. 22, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Led by a 10th place finish by sophomore Marina Borri in the 200 breaststroke, the Spartans finished strong on fourth and final day of competition at the 2014 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday. The Spartans finished 11th overall with 87 points, the most scored by MSU at the conference meet since 2010.
“We met all of our goals and we did well,” said head coach Matt Gianiodis. “It was really impressive to see Marina (Borri) finish 10th in the league in her event. We really swam and performed well. We don’t have a very big group, but they are so tough because we had a lot of kids who had to do a lot of swimming. We had some kids in some areas where they had never swam before and it didn’t faze them at all.
“The best part was that we had multiple people score for us; it wasn’t just one kid. We hadn’t had a scoring swim in years and we had four of them and four in diving. I would’ve liked our relays to be a little faster, but we were really close. But we had so many unsung performances. I was just really happy for everyone – for Eric (Best), for Kathleen (Milloy), for Mike (Hulme). We did a really nice job.
“I would definitely put a lot of it on our five seniors. Those girls really swam well, all performing personal best times. Having them all do their best was just awesome. It was great.”
Breaking the MSU 200 breaststroke record by almost three full seconds, sophomore Marina Borri placed 10th overall and earned an NCAA provisional cut time of 2:14.42. She qualified for the finals with a then personal-best time of 2:15.29 for a 14th place finish in the prelims. Junior Shelby Lacy swam her career-best time of 2:19. 50 to finish 27th overall in the event, while freshman Kennedy Cutler placed 37th overall with a personal-best time of 2:21.59.
Setting her second school record of the championships, senior Summer Strickler turned in a career-best time of 49.97 in the 100 freestyle to place 22nd in the prelims. She went on to finish 19th in the evening finals, tying her previous personal best time of time of 50.31. Sophomore Emily Parsons finished 60th with a personal-best time of 51.63 in the prelims, while freshman Sarah Love turned her season-best time of 51.77 to place 65th. Also representing the Spartans in the event was junior Taylor Folkerstma (51.91, 69th), senior Brooke Telander (52.34, 73rd), sophomore Betsy Good (52.43, 76th), senior Marcella Kupraszewicz (52.57, 79th) and sophomore Jill Stoneburg (53.45, 86th).
Sophomore Elizabeth Brown swam a career-best time of 2:00.82 in the prelims of the 200 butterfly, placing 18th overall to qualify for the evening finals. She was joined in qualifying for the finals by junior Hannah Pugh, who clocked a personal-best time of 2:02.19 to finish 23rd overall. The two Spartans turned in back-to-back finishes in the finals, as Pugh clocked a new career-best time of 2:01.19 for 19th overall, while Brown finished 20th with a time of 2:01.44. Senior Jessica Cutler shaved three seconds to set her personal-best time of 2:03.27 to place 31st, while fellow senior Jessica Wellick turned in a 40th-place time of 2:06.92.
Swimming a career-best time of 16:54.41 in the 1,650 freestyle was junior Becca Berman, who shaved almost nine full seconds off her previous best time to place 23rd overall. Close behind was sophomore Chelsea Abbott, who finished 30th with another career-best time of 16:57.59.
In the prelims of the 200 backstroke, sophomore Nicole Huffman posted a season-best time of 2:03.90 to place 48th overall. Rounding out the Spartans in the event were freshmen Lauren Kalwasinski (2:07.29, 57th) and Claire Pilarski (2:07.64, 58th) as both posted personal-best times.
Meanwhile, at the Michigan Last Chance Meet, senior Bryan Williams posted a season-best time of 47.90 in the 100 butterfly to place third.
Williams and the Spartan men will have their turn at the conference meet when they head to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the 2014 Big Ten Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships on Wednesday, Feb. 26 through Saturday, Feb. 1.