Dec. 2, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Washington State swim team currently sits in fourth place after the first day of competition at the Hawkeye Invitational, Friday.
In the championship meet style tournament, the Cougars competed with host Iowa, Denver, Michigan, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The morning meet consisted of preliminaries, in which 10 Washington State swimmers qualified for the finals which took place in the evening.
After day one of three in the tournament, the Cougars are in fourth overall with a team score of 128. Currently, Michigan is leading the competition, posting a team score of 295. Washington State follows Iowa in second place and Denver in third.
Cougar Junior Shelbi Luchini touched the wall first in the 200 IM preliminary heat in 2:04.02, which was good enough to go into the finals placed seventh overall. Senior teammate Jessie Craig posted a victory in her 50 free preliminary heat with a time of 23.46 and junior Evelina Bieleckaite won her preliminary heat in 23.49. With their times Craig and Bieleckaite qualified for the finals in third and fourth, respectively.
Other members from Washington State who qualified for the finals were: freshman Haley Anderson in the 500 free (5:01.07), sophomore Heather Morlan in the 500 free (5:07.47), sophomore Kelly Tannhauser in the 200 IM (2:04.88), senior Danielle Palumbo in the 200 IM (2:05.61), sophomore Emma Johansson in the 50 free (23.66), sophomore Anne Kenney in the 50 free (23.90), and senior Melissa Bogert in the 50 free (23.99).
After the completion of the preliminary round, Bogert found herself in a three-way tie for 23rd. That led to the last available two spots for the finals in the 50 free to be decided by a swim off. Bogert placed second in the swim off heat with a time of 23.68, securing her a spot in the finals. That time was good enough to beat a meet record in the event; however, Denver junior Baliey Beins edged her out of the record and first place by posting a time of 23.58.
In the finals, five Cougars finished in the top 10 swimmers for their events. Bieleckaite had the top Cougar finish coming in third overall in the 50 free with a time of 23.49. In the same event, Craig finished fifth (23.53) and Johansson won the "B" final for ninth place (23.66). In the 200 IM, Luchini placed fourth (2:04.02) and Tannhauser won the "B" final to finished ninth (2:04.88).
The Washington State relay team comprised of Bieleckaite, Johansson, Bogert and Craig came in third overall in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:33.70.
"We are swimming well. It was a great day. I enjoyed it and my athletes enjoyed it," commented Cougar Head Coach Tom Jager. "Our swimmers had really good performances today and they have great swimming ahead of them."
Jager continued, "Our distance kids started off the morning great for us and we were able to keep that momentum going all day. Our main focus is on swimming great in the morning prelims and we'll continue to focus on that tomorrow."
The Cougars return to the pool for day two of the Hawkeye Invitational, Saturday. Preliminary rounds start at 10 a.m. Central/8 a.m. Pacific with finals to follow at 6 p.m. Central/4 p.m. Pacific.