WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Kaersten Meitz eclipsed her own program record in the 500 freestyle twice while winning the event, highlighting the opening day of the Purdue Invitational at the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center.
Meitz was the top qualifier in the prelims with a time of 4:36.71. She then clipped 12 hundredths of a second off her team benchmark while winning the A final by four seconds. The senior's Purdue record entering the night was 4:37.45. This marked the second time in her career that she has eclipsed her program record in the 500 free at the Purdue Invitational after also accomplishing the feat as a sophomore in November 2015.
Joe Cifelli (402.45) and Brandon Loschiavo (392.35) posted personal season-best scores while teaming up for a 1-2 finish in 1-meter diving. With teammate Steele Johnson not competing this week due to injury, Loschiavo and Cifelli also finished 1-2 in the prelims. They accounted for 37 of the Purdue men's 49 points in the individual events Thursday.
The No. 3 Florida men (300 points) and No. 8 Indiana women (258) lead the team scoring after the first of three days of action at the six-session meet, which features a field of 10 universities. The No. 20 Purdue women (143 points) are in third place and the Purdue men (109) in fourth. There were eight scoring teams for both genders.
The Gators' Caeleb Dressel wowed the crowd with pool records in the 50 free (18.66) and 200 individual medley (1:40.61). His 200 IM time also ranked ninth in short-course history.
Danielle Auckley moved into fifth place in program history with a career-best time of 22.72 in the 50 free, qualifying for the A final in the process. On the men's side, freshman Batuhan Hakan was the runner-up in the B final of the 500 free with the ninth-fastest time (4:24.55) in program history.
Emily Meaney (4th) and Morgan Meixner (6th) teamed up to give the Purdue women two of the top six finishers in 3-meter diving. Freshman Emily Bretscher also scored via a 13th-place finish in the prelims, helping the Boilermakers earn 32 team points in the event.
Taite Kitchel was an A finalist in the 200 IM, posting a Purdue season-best time of 2:00.53. She also teamed up with Jackie Smailis, Jinq En Phee and Meitz for a third-place finish in the 400 medley relay. The Boilermakers' time of 3:38.30 was good for sixth place in program history.
Emily Meckstroth (500 free), Alex Clarke (200 IM), Emmy Rawson (200 IM) and Smailis (50 free) also scored in individual events for the Purdue women. Erik Juliusson and Trent Pellini were B finalists in the 200 IM for the Purdue men. Megan Johnson and Natalie Mudd earned second swims as finalists in both the 200 IM and 500 free.
The Purdue Invitational continues Friday with swimming prelims at 10 a.m. ET, diving prelims at 1 p.m. and finals at 6 p.m.
BOILERMAKERS TO POST B CUTS ON THURSDAY
50 Free -- Auckley
500 Free -- Meitz, Hakan
200 IM -- Kitchel, Rawson, Pellini, Noens, Juliusson
NEW POOL RECORDS SET THURSDAY (MEN'S EVENTS)
50 Free -- Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 18.66
200 IM -- Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 1:40.61
200 Free Relay -- Dressel, Switkowski, Szaranek & Martinez (Florida), 1:16.67
400 Medley Relay -- Samy, Finnerty, Lanza & Pieroni (Indiana), 3:05.57