COLUMBUS, Ohio - Kaersten Meitz won silver in the 500 freestyle and Purdue women's swimming & diving eclipsed a program record in a medley relay for the second night in a row, highlighting Thursday at the Big Ten Championships.
The Boilermakers had four of the top 11 finishers in 1-meter diving, earning 79 team points in the event. Morgan Meixner (6th) and Samm Reese (8th) were both championship finalists. Emily Bretscher and Emily Meaney also finished 2-3 in the consolation final.
Bretscher's score of 305 in the consolation final was actually the best of the day by a Boilermaker. Purdue and Minnesota were the only teams to have multiple divers in the championship final.
Meitz won her heat as the top qualifier in the 500 free prelims and improved on her prelim time (4:37.66) by half a second in the final (4:37.15), but Michigan's Rose Bi won the A Final of the event. Bi dropped 3.79 seconds off her prelim time to win with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:35.09. Meitz moved up one place after winning bronze in the event at Big Tens a year ago. The senior accounted for Purdue's eighth silver medal at Big Tens since the program's last conference champion in a swimming event in 2006.
Meitz clinched second team All-Big Ten honors and is likely to be the top seed in the mile Saturday.
Here's a full look of the Championship Final of the 500 Free tonight at Big Tens. Michigan's Rose Bi able to hold off Kaersten Meitz, who clinched 2nd Team All-Big Ten honors.#BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/e8GobYJo5V
— Purdue Swimming (@PurdueWSwim) February 15, 2018
The Boilermakers lowered their program record in the 400 medley relay by eight tenths of a second, finishing in sixth place. Jackie Smailis, Jinq En Phee and Taite Kitchel were part of a record-setting relay for the second night in a row; they also represented Purdue in the 200 medley relay Wednesday. Meitz anchored the quartet Thursday.
Smailis and Meitz were also part of the record-setting quartet at Big Tens two years ago. Their improved splits were the reason why the record was broken again this year. Smailis' 100 backstroke split dropped from 54.56 in 2016 to 53.89 and Meitz's 100 free split dropped from 49.13 in 2016 to 48.77.
Emmy Rawson posted a career-best time in both the prelims and finals of the 200 individual medley. She placed fifth in the C final with a mark of 1:59.70, moving into fourth place in program history. The senior dropped .39 hundredths of a second off her previous career best and became just the fourth Boilermaker to break two minutes in the event.
Meitz, Rawson and Reese each scored in an individual event at Big Tens for the fourth consecutive year.
Freshman Natalie Myers moved into ninth place in program history with a career-best time of 2:00.79 in the 200 IM. She joined Danielle Auckley (50 free), Kitchel (200 IM), Meitz and Rawson as Boilermakers to post NCAA provisional-qualifying times (B Cuts) Thursday.
The Big Ten Championships continue Friday with the 100 back, 100 breast, 100 fly, 200 free, 400 IM, platform diving and the 200 free relay. Prelims begin at 11 a.m. ET and finals get underway at 6:30 p.m.
THURSDAY TEAM SCORES
1.) No. 5 Michigan 430
2.) No. 9 Indiana 396
3.) No. 13 Ohio State 370
4.) No. 16 Minnesota 355
5.) No. 23 Wisconsin 300
6.) Purdue 258
7.) Northwestern 186
8.) Penn State 170
9.) Iowa 160
10.) Rutgers 152
11.) Nebraska 147
12.) Michigan State 109
13.) Illinois 91