Bears Take 78-Point Lead into Final Day at MVC Championships
Courtesy Missouri State Athletics
Carbondale, Il. -- In its quest for a sixth consecutive conference title, the Missouri State women's swimming & diving team will take a 78-point lead into the final day of the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Championships. On Friday (Feb. 15), the Bears accumulated three more individual champions and a second relay title.
FreshmanDora Kisscaptured her second gold medal of the meet with an impressive showing in the 400 IM. With the third fastest time in MVC history (4:22.17), Kiss destroyed the previous school record (4:26.20) and won the event by more than three seconds. In her first A-Final appearance of the weekend, seniorKaylee Steffenimproved from her morning time and finished sixth overall (4:30.82) and right behind her wasSuzanne Van Rensburgin seventh (4:31.58).
In the 400 IM B-Final, freshmanHeather Snyderdropped four seconds from her preliminary time and directed a come-from-behind effort to win the consolation final in 4:33.41.
SophomoreRoni Balzambrought home her 100 fly with the fastest back end of any swimmer and broke the 56-second barrier for the first time in her career. Balzam touched the wall in 55.67 to win silver. FreshmanIbby Simcoxfinished directly behind Balzam to place third overall. In addition, the Blue Springs, Mo. product broke into the MSU all-time top-five at No. 4 with her time of 56.71. Rounding out the A-Finalists was freshmanRebecca Amparano, who collected 12 points for the Bears with her seventh-place finish.
Missouri State picked up another top-three finish in the 200 free as seniorAndrea Uzcateguibecame just the second MSU swimmer to break 1 minute 50 seconds and finished third overall. Another solid swim awaited juniorHannah Moldenas she shaved off .76 seconds and stayed put in fifth. Meanwhile, freshmanCarly Wrighttied for first in the consolation final with a time of 1:53.73.
The Bears' breaststroke group ofRenata Sander,Melissa OishiandAlyssa Powersheld true to form in the championship final as the top three seeds completed the sweep. Reigning MVC Swimmer of the YearRenata Sanderbroke a five-year-old MVC and Shea Natatorium record with her time of 1:01.99.
Oishi registered the fourth-fastest time in MVC history (1:02.81) to finish second, while Powers shaved off another half of second from her personal best to go 1:03.84.
For the third consecutive year, juniorAnna Ahlinwas crowned conference champion in the 100 back, winning with a time of 55.02. The new career best for Ahlin gives the Bears their second NCAA `B' cut of the season. Helping the Bears collect 65 total points in the event,Megan Holthoff(56.74),Janke Engelbrecht(56.82) andEmily Chesser(57.44) rounded out the top five in third, fourth and fifth place.
Unable to overcome Illinois State's record-breaking performance in the 800 free relay, the Bears' quartet of Kiss, Molden, Ahlin and Uzcategui settled for a runner-up finish and a time of 7:30.80.
The final day of competition at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium will begin with prelims at 10 a.m. CST, followed by finals at 4 p.m. Follow @MissouriStBears on Twitter for live updates, as well as a live video stream provided at Valley-Live.tv.
Team Standings - After Day 2 Missouri State - 593 Illinois State - 515 Southern Illinois - 440 Evansville - 318 Northern Iowa – 185
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