COLUMBUS, Ohio - Purdue women's swimming & diving opened the Big Ten Championships with a program-record time in the 200 medley relay for the second year in a row Wednesday.
Jackie Smailis, Jinq En Phee, Taite Kitchel and Danielle Auckley teamed up for a time of 1:37.83, besting last year's mark by .47 hundredths of a second. The Boilermakers finished fifth among the 13-team field after Michigan was disqualified for an early takeoff on the final exchange.
Smailis and Auckley were part of the record-setting quartet for the second year in a row. Purdue also eclipsed the 200 medley record when Big Tens was last held at Ohio State in 2015. Smailis is part of the current program record in the 400 medley relay as well, swimming the leadoff leg at Big Tens in 2016. Kitchel is the individual program-record holder in the 200 butterfly.
Smailis (24.91) bested her 50 backstroke split (25.35) from last year's 200 medley relay. Phee (24.91) and Kitchel (27.18) were also faster than their teammates' splits a year ago. Phee bested last year's breaststroke split by 2.36 seconds.
The Boilermakers placed seventh in the 800 freestyle relay Wednesday, posting the sixth-fastest time in program history. Kaersten Meitz, Megan Johnson, Maizie Seidl and Auckley teamed up for a time of 7:08.00. Meitz's split of 1:44.90 on the leadoff leg ranks as Purdue's season-best time in the 200 free this season. It was .12 hundredths off her career-best 200 time, recorded on the leadoff leg of the 800 free relay at Big Tens last year. She and record holder Allie Davis (1:44.21) remain the only Boilermakers to ever break 1:45 in the 200.
Meitz's time was the fifth-fastest leadoff split in the event Wednesday. Johnson and Seidl both swam in the event as freshmen.
Purdue has eclipsed at least one of its relay records at Big Tens each of the last four years.
Thursday's events include the 500 free, 400 IM, 50 free, 1-meter diving and the 400 medley relay. Swimming prelims begin at 11 a.m. ET, diving prelims are set for 1 p.m. and the finals session gets underway at 6:30 p.m.
-- Purdue Swimming (@PurdueWSwim) February 15, 2018