Feb. 23, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State women’s swimming and diving program concluded the Big Ten Championships on Saturday in Minneapolis, Minn. The Spartans continued to record career-best performances and tallied 56 points to tie for 11th place with the University of Illinois.
“A bit tougher day today,” said head coach Matt Gianiodis. “We had some pretty good swims. I was a little disappointed in how we finished though; I thought we could have placed higher in the relay. Truth is we did really well and I am proud of the girls. They worked really hard all year long. I am especially proud of our seniors – Lauren Baisden, Tori Merritt, Alexandra Pierce and Jenny Rusch - four great ones. I was just hoping to see them end on a school record. Michigan State should be proud of our team – they fought like Spartans.”
Senior Lauren Baisden barely missed the finals of the 200 backstroke, breaking the two-minute mark for a career-best time of 1:59.90. Also competing in the event, freshman Nicole Huffman posted a season-best time of 2:04.39, while sophomore Kelly Delorme finished with a time of 2:05.45.
In the prelims of the 100 freestyle, junior Summer Strickler tied Sara Delay of Indiana with a time of 50.37. She followed up in the evening finals with a personal-best time of 50.33 to place 22nd overall.
With a career-best performance in the prelims, senior Jenny Rusch finished with a time of 50.47. Redshirt senior Tori Merritt posted a time of 51.75, while and junior Brooke Telander swam a career-best time of 51.97. Rounding out the Spartans in the event were freshman Emily Parsons (52.31), junior Lauren Daugherty (52.51), freshman Betsy Good (52.62) and sophomore Taylor Folkerstma (52.71).
Freshman Marina Borri was the top Spartan in the prelims of the 200 breaststroke, recording a time of 2:19.03. Also competing for MSU in the event was freshman Michelle Garland who posted a time of 2:20.90. Sophomore Shelby Lacy swam a season-best time in the event with a 2:26.01.
In the prelims of the 200 butterfly, sophomore Hannah Pugh led the Spartans with a time of 2:02.82. Posting a personal-best time in the event was freshman Elizabeth Brown, stopping the clock in 2:03.31. Freshman Kelsey Buese also swam her season-best time of 2:06.52, while senior Alexandra Pierce clocked a 2:06.80. The Spartans were also represented by freshman Jessika Hall (2:07.08), junior Jessica Cutler (2:08.06), junior Jessica Wellick (2:10.31) and junior Marcella Kupraszewicz (2:12.14).
Saturday night, sophomore Becca Berman posted a time of 16:56.74 in the 1,650 freestyle. Close behind was freshman Chelsea Abbott, who recorded a season-best time of 16:59.03. Buese also competed in the event, clocking a time of 17:16.22.
In the final event of the meet, Michigan State placed 12th in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Rusch, Strickler, Telander and Merritt clocked a season-best time of 3:23.38.
Earlier in the season, both divers qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Regionals to be held on March 11-17.
The championships conclude the women’s season, but the men will be back in action as they travel to Bloomington, Ind., for the Big Ten Men’s Championships Feb. 27-March 2.