Nov. 20, 2013
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- No. 16 Purdue women's swimming along with all of the divers are set to compete at the three-day, six-session Ohio State Invitational this weekend, a meet that features four Top 20 women's teams squaring off in the traditional NCAA Championships format.
Preliminary sessions begin at 11 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday in Columbus. Finals are set for 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday.
The co-ed invitational features Florida, Kentucky, Purdue, Virginia and the host Buckeyes this season. On the men's side, the divers will represent the Boilermakers while the swimmers remain in West Lafayette to host Miami (Ohio) for a dual meet Friday evening. No. 5 Florida, No. 12 Virginia, No. 16 Purdue and No. 19 Ohio State were all ranked among the Top 20 in the latest CSCAA women's poll.
Selected Purdue divers will compete from the platforms Sunday, a finals-only event that is slated for 11 a.m. Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion will also serve as the host site of the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships this season. The NCAA-qualifying diving meet is set for March 13-15.
With the three-day, six-session NCAA Championships format in use this weekend, 18 swimming events will be contested in Columbus. The Boilermakers will compete in the 1650 free (Sunday), 400 medley relay (Friday) and 800 free relay (Saturday) for the first time this season.
In an effort to maximize season-best times in a meet that has served as the primary focus of the fall training program, Purdue has rested its competitors accordingly and will be donning special racing suits.
Under head diving coach Adam Soldati, the Purdue divers will be competing at the Ohio State Invitational for the seventh time in the last nine seasons. In recent years when the Boilers were unable to host the Purdue Invitational due to a home football game the weekend before Thanksgiving, the swimmers have also competed at Ohio State's big fall meet.
Michelle Cabassol (3-meter) and MacKenzie Tweardy (platform) each won diving events at the 2012 Ohio State Invitational. Casey Matthews also made her return to collegiate competition a year ago in Columbus. It was her first college meet since the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Rhiannon Sheets enjoyed a big weekend at the 2011 Ohio State Invitational, establishing seven new Purdue records. She swept the 100 and 200 butterfly events with new program-record times and also posted new freshman benchmarks in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle. Six of those seven records still stand almost two years later. Carly Marshall eclipsed the 50 free freshman record at the 2012 Big Ten Championships.
Megan Gallagher also won the mile as a freshman at the 2011 Ohio State Invitational.
Meanwhile, Carly Mercer puts her nine-event unbeaten streak in individual races on the line this weekend. She was selected as the Big Ten Swimmer of the Week after sweeping the freestyle sprints as Purdue defeated No. 19 Ohio State and Northwestern at the November Quad meet Nov. 8 at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. According to data compiled by CollegeSwimming.com, Florida's Natalie Hinds and Mercer both rank among the Top 20 nationally in the 50 and 100 free with their season-best times.
Members of the Purdue women's team who do not travel this weekend are expected to compete at Indiana's Hoosierland Winter Invite meet Dec. 6-8. The Divers will be back in action next month at the USA Diving Winter Nationals (Dec. 17-22) in Austin, Texas. But for the majority of Boilers competing this weekend, the Ohio State Invitational will be their final meet until the calendar flips to 2014.
Competing Teams & Order of Events
Women's Rankings in Nov. 14 CSCAA Top 25 poll
#19 Ohio State
200 Free Relay
400 Medley Relay
200 Medley Relay
800 Free Relay
400 Free Relay