Feb. 18, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Carlene Takaki and Carrie McCambridge won conference titles in the 200 butterfly and platform diving Saturday night at the Big Ten Championships.
Takaki won her race with a varsity record time of 1:58.26, and McCambridge broke her own school record off the tower with 346.05 points.
Takaki's winning mark eclipsed the previous school record of 1:58.75, set by Kim Fritsch in 1994. Ironically, Fritsch was Purdue's last Big Ten Champion in the butterfly - also in 1994.
Prior to tonight, Purdue had never claimed more than one Big Ten Champion at a single meet. The Boilermakers' last Big Ten Champion was McCambridge, when she swept the three diving events in 2004. The last conference swimming champion to wear the Old Gold and Black was Lindsay Lange, who won gold in the 100 breaststroke in 2003.
McCambridge got off to a great start, scoring 81.60 points on her first dive and over 70 points on dives four and five to hold off Indiana's Christina Loukas, who was the runner-up with 312.10 points.
For her efforts, McCambridge was named Diver of the Year for the second time in her career. McCambridge and Loukas shared Diver of the Championship honors.
Boilermaker Amanda Miller finished fourth off the platform with a personal best score of 301.15 points. Her total was .85 points shy of catching IU's Lindsay Weigel for third place. Purdue freshman Emily Wetzel was eighth with 244.15 points.
Despite the heroics from Takaki and the divers, Purdue didn't have enough to catch Indiana for fourth place. Instead, the Boilermakers settled for their third fifth-place showing in four years.
The good news, however, was that Purdue's total of 428 points was a 29 point improvement from last season and the second highest total in program history. Only the 1991 Boilermakers with 431.5 scored more points.
The Penn State Nittany Lions won their second consecutive championship with 552 points. Minnesota was second with 536.5 points, Michigan placed third with 509 points and IU came in fourth with 495 points.
The Boilermakers got off to a rough start. Erica Chandler and Nicole Weatherman just missed scoring in the 1,650 freestyle, placing 17th and 18th with times of 17:01.66 and 17:01.82. In the 200 backstroke, Kat Telfer suffered a two-second drop from her prelim time to finish 16th at 2:04.61.
The Boilermakers suffered more of the same tough luck in the 200 breaststroke. Rory Belk added a second to her prelim time to place eighth in 2:18.97 and Jennifer Lavers recorded another mark around 2:19.00 to place 15th.
In the 200 fly, Stacie Lesneski and Lauren Hyman claimed the last two spots of the consolation final. Lesneski was 15th in 2:03.45 and Hyman, who also competed in the mile earlier in the day, was 16th at 2:07.32.
Despite the regression in some times, Purdue head coach Cathy Wright-Eger saw nothing but positives. She was proud of the high number of individuals who reached finals and even more impressed by the way they kept fighting for points. And when looking at the list of swimmers and divers who scored this weekend, all but three: Amber Kerns, Chandler and McCambridge, are coming back for 2006-07.
Susan Hentschel and Shannon Grace were two of the early positives. Hentschel held onto her ninth-place points in the 100 free with a season-best and NCAA provisional cut of 50.16. Grace earned and NCAA consideration mark with an 11th-place time of 2:18.14.
Purdue completed the meet on a high note, finishing fifth in the 400 free relay with a season best and NCAA `B' cut of 3:21.84. Hentschel led off with a split of 50.16, and was followed by Kimbre Vogel (51.07), Telfer (50.28) and Chandler (50.33).
"I am so proud of our 400 free relay," said Wright-Eger. "They replaced three All-Americans (Tracy Duchac, Christine Leupold, Katie Seleskie), but were all able to post splits of 51.00 or better and finished fifth."
Next up for the Boilermakers is a last chance meet, the Boiler-Make-It, which takes place next Saturday and Sunday at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. This season, Purdue has posted a number of NCAA consideration cuts, so the team will have to wait to see who all goes to Athens, Ga., in a few weeks.
"On paper, Erica (Chandler) and Carlene (Takaki) are locks for the meet, but we won't know for sure for another few weeks," said Wright-Eger. "We're going to enter a number of swimmers who are very close to making those consideration cuts."
Among the teams coming to Purdue to compete at the NCAA-sanctioned last-chance meet are Ohio State, Illinois and Notre Dame.
Swimmer of the Year: Kaitlyn Brady (MICH)
Swimmer of the Championships: Kaitlyn Brady (MICH)
Co-Big Ten Divers of the Year: Christina Loukas (IND) and Carrie McCambridge (PUR)
Big Ten Diver of the Championships: Carrie McCambridge (PUR)
Freshman of the Year: Yuen Kobayashi (MINN)
Swimming Coaches of the Year: Terry Nieszner and Kelly Kremer (MINN)
Diving Coach of the Year: Eric Best (MSU)
First Team All-Big Ten
Illinois: Barbie Viney (100-yard freestyle)
Indiana: Christina Loukas (1-meter), Annica Lofstedt (400-yard freestyle relay), Clarissa Wentworth (200-yard freestyle relay), Leila Vaziri (200-yard freestyle relay), Allison Kay (200-yard freestyle relay)
Michigan: Justine Mueller (200-yard individual medley, 400-yard medley relay), Kaitlyn Brady (50-, 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard medley relay, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard backstroke), Hannah Smith (200-yard freestyle relay), Abby Seskevics (200-yard freestyle relay), Lindsey Smith (200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle), Payton Johnson (400-yard medley relay)
Minnesota: Jenny Shaughnessy (800-yard freestyle relay), Yuen Kobayashi (800-yard freestyle relay, 500-yard freestyle, 1,650-yard freestyle), Kate Hardt (800-yard freestyle relay), Christine Jennings (800-yard freestyle relay)
Northwestern: Chelsea Davis (3-meter)
Penn State: Kaitlin O'Brien (400-yard individual medley), Sarah Haupt (100-yard backstroke)
Purdue: Carlene Takaki (200-yard breaststroke), Carrie McCambridge (Platform)
Wisconsin: Susan Johnson (200-yard medley relay), Amalia Sarnecki (200-yard medley relay, 100-yard breaststroke), Sarah Hernandez (200-yard medley relay), Jackie Vavrek (200-yard medley relay), Yi Ting Siow (200-yard breaststroke)
Second Team All-Big Ten
Indiana: Leila Vaziri (100-yard backstroke)
Iowa: Nancilea Underwood (1-meter diving)
Michigan: Carolina Sierra (200-yard medley relay), Valeria Silva (200-yard medley relay)
Minnesota: Stacy Busack (50-yard freestyle)
Northwestern: Hayley Fry (100-yard breaststroke), Andrea Hupman (200-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle)
Ohio State: Gulsah Gunenc (200-yard breaststroke)
Penn State: Kelly Nelson (800-yard freestyle relay), Molly Crispell (800-yard freestyle relay), Erin Morris (800-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard backstroke), Jessica Barnes (800-yard freestyle relay), Nikki Collins (1,650-yard freestyle)
Wisconsin: Hannah McClurg (200-yard freestyle relay), Jenny Gelden (400-yard medley relay)