Bears Capture Four Victories on Day 1 of MVC Championships
Courtesy Missouri State Athletics
Carbondale, Il. -- The Missouri State women’s swimming & diving team rattled off four victories in the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 400 medley relay on Thursday to establish a lead following the opening day of the 2013 MVC Championships. The Bears, who are five-time defending champions, lead second-place Illinois State by 31 points and SIU by 33.
Less than a second separated the top four squads in the 200 free relay, a race which the Bears had won the past three years. In a hotly contested race, the Salukis came out on top with a time of 1:33.18, just .07 seconds from Missouri State’s MVC record set in 2011. The Bears’ A-Relay ofKate Gately,Megan Holthoff,Janke EngelbrechtandAndrea Uzcateguifinished fourth overall in 1:34.15.
Another exciting race transpired in the 500 free as the top three medalists finished within .18 seconds of each other. Missouri State freshmanDora Kiss, who entered Thursday evening as the top seed, held off the late charges by SIU’s Pamela Benitez (2nd) and Evansville’s Michelle Tipton to pick up the Bears first individual title of the 2013 MVC Championships. With a 4:52.20, Kiss broke Dimitra Drakopoulou’s varsity record by more than two second. JuniorHannah Molden, the Bears’ second A-Finalist improved two positions and set a new personal best.
In the 500 free B-Final, the Bears swept the top three places.Suzanne Van Rensburgstayed put in ninth place, while freshmanCarly Wrightdropped 5.06 seconds to move up five spots to 10th. Snyder rounded out the three with a one-spot jump to 11th.
Reigning MVC Swimmer of the YearRenata Sanderpicked up where she left off last year. The junior from Belo Horizonte, Brazil caught the lead pack in the breaststroke leg and didn’t look back, finishing in record pace (2:03.18). The mark set a new MSU and MVC Championship record. FreshmenIbby SimcoxandEmily Chesserpicked up valuable points for the Bears with fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the A-Final.
Gately, who entered the evening as the top seed in the 50 free, completed a Bears’ sweep in Thursday’s individual events. The freshman from St. Louis, Mo. capped off her first day of competition by out-touching a pair of Evansville swimmers by less than a tenth of a second. SeniorAndrea Uzcategui, who also swam on the 200 free relay, stayed put in seventh place, while relay membersMegan HolthoffandJanke Engelbrechtfinished 12th and 16th, respectively.
Missouri State ended Thursday with a dominant showing in the 400 medley relay. The Bears’ relay ofAnna Ahlin, Renata Sander,Roni BalzamandAndrea Uzcateguitouched the wall at 3:44.30 and defeated the field by more than four seconds. En route to first place, the Bears were just .06 seconds off the school, MVC and pool record.
Earlier in the day, all three MSU divers competed in the consolation finals. After narrowly missing the A-Final, juniorLindsey Conwayflat out dominated her second go-around. She won the consolation final with a career best 264.10. Unfortunately, for the second time in a month, Conway was less than two points shy of her first-ever NCAA Zone ‘D’ Regional cut (265). BothPaige KoebbeandDarya Wodetzkiimproved on their prelims marks to finish 12th and 16th, respectively.
The second day of competition at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium will begin with prelims at 11 a.m. CST, followed by finals at 6 p.m. Although there are no official live results, follow@MissouriStBearson Twitter for updates, as well as theValley's free, live video stream.
Team Standings – After Day 1 Missouri State – 251 Illinois State – 220 Southern Illinois – 218 Evansville – 162 Northern Iowa – 97
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