Feb. 20, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 22nd-ranked Purdue women's swimming and diving team finished fourth with 460 points and head coach John Klinge was named Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year on Saturday night as the Big Ten Championships concluded inside the Boilermaker Aquatic Center.
"The team did a great job," Klinge said. "I think they exceeded their own expectations, and they set high goals at the beginning of the year. They worked hard all year. Coming into the meet, I thought it was either going to be something special or we weren't going to hit it, and they hit everything right and ended up doing a good job."
Klinge was voted the conference's coach of the year by his peers after Purdue posted the highest score in program history at a Big Ten Championships. The 460 points eclipsed the previous standard of 431.5 set in 1991. The fourth-place finish ties the 1991 and 1992 squads for the highest placing at a conference championship meet. Purdue broke 17 program records and five freshman records during the Big Ten Championships. The team also recorded 94 season-best marks during the conference championship meet.
"This award is really a reflection of all the hard work the girls on the team did," Klinge said. "They did it every day, and this is really a result of their continued hard work."
Freshman Caitlin Hamilton annihilated the program record in the 1,650-yard freestyle to start the night. The Normal, Ill., native finished second in 16:02.61 to take nearly 24 seconds off the oldest record on the books, which was the 16:26.31 put up by Marisa Watts in 1998, and move to sixth on the Big Ten's all-time performance list. Hamilton, who tied for fifth in 500 Thursday with a school-record time of 4:43.16, now holds Purdue records in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle events.
"My goal coming into the meet was 16:10," Hamilton said. "When I looked up at the clock, I immediately started crying. I was so excited, not only to be 16:02 but to be second as a freshman at Big Tens and have an awesome meet and have my team have an awesome meet. That race was just pure heart and pure adrenaline. I just left everything in the pool, and it was awesome."
Junior Ariel Martin broke a school record for the eighth time during these championships by completing the 100 freestyle in 48.99. The Jeffersonville, Ind., native, who now holds Purdue records in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyles as well as 200 and 800 freestyle relays and the 200 medley relay, won the `B' final and finished ninth overall.
Purdue's 400 freestyle relay team of Martin, Lisa Butler, Lauren Roth and Leah Henninger broke the school record and finished third. The quartet combined to finish the race in 3:18.20 and better the previous record of 3:20.53 set by Martin, Katie Beck, Butler and Henninger at last year's Big Ten Championships.
"This was just an awesome experience," Martin said. "We were two-and-a-half points away from third, so you look at that and think, `We could have made that up here, here and here', but we had an awesome meet. We all expected John to get coach of the year. It was really awesome to get the record in the 100 free."
Seraphina Van broke Purdue's freshman record in the 200 breaststroke and moved to second on the program's all-time performance list in the event with her time of 2:15.96. The Cypress, Texas, native broke the freshman record of 2:16.16 she set Nov. 22 at the Purdue Invitational and missed the program record by 13-hundredths of a second while winning the `C' final and placing 17th overall.
"It's a great accomplishment," Van said. "It's not something I would have expected, and it really did catch me off guard. I'm really excited that I ended the season really well. For all of us on the team, it's been a great evening and a great meet."
The Boilermakers earned huge points in the diving well by placing three in the top four off the platform. Junior Kara Cook, the 2008 Big Ten champion in the event, led the way with her runner-up finish after scoring 290.75 points. Sophomore Casey Matthews, who moved to second on Purdue's all-time performance list in the event with her preliminary score of 339.40, finished third after earning 287.35 points in the final. Junior Erin Mertz finished fourth by putting 282.90 points together during her five-dive list.
Junior Allie Smith finished fifth in the 200 backstroke when she touched the wall in 1:55.94. The Green Bay, Wis., native broke the school record in the event during the preliminary session with her 1:55.72 clocking. Sophomore Kristen Gilson finished 18th with her time of 1:58.83 after establishing a new season-best time of 1:58.30 in the first session of the day.
Roth placed eighth in the 200 butterfly with her time of 2:00.25. The Carrollton, Texas, native moved to fourth on Purdue's all-time performance list during Saturday's first session after completing the race in an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 1:59.64. Senior Christine Inman finished 11th in the event with her time of 2:00.58. The Williamsport, Ind., native, who swam the same NCAA provisional-qualifying time during the preliminary session, ranks fifth on Purdue's all-time performance list.
Henninger finished 12th in the 100 freestyle after touching the wall in 50.23. The senior from Dayton, Ohio, stands fourth on Purdue's all-time performance list with her preliminary time of 50.03. Freshman Lauren Nichols earned a 19th-place finish in the event with her time of 51.10.
Sophomore Amy Gutwein lowered her season-best time in the 1,650 freestyle by more than 26 seconds when she touched the wall in 16:54.12 and won her heat by 15 seconds. Junior Jessica Skiba dropped 21 seconds off of her season-best time in the event by finishing her race in 16:49.49, and freshman Courtney Tumbush turned in a 16:54.56 time that is 26 seconds faster than her previous season-best mark.
Freshman Ellesse Lunde lowered her season-best time in the 200 breaststroke for the second time Saturday with her final time of 2:17.19. The Scituate, Mass., native, who posted a qualifying time of 2:17.54, finished 20th in the event.
Indiana successfully defended its conference crown by scoring 758 points. Minnesota finished second with 572.5, and Michigan was third with 462.5. Ohio State's 399.5 points rounded out the top five.
The Boilermakers with NCAA provisional times now await the NCAA Championships selection process. The Boilermaker Aquatic Center gets a brief break before hosting the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships from March 12-14 in a tune-up for the NCAA Championships, which are set for March 18-20 in West Lafayette.