Purdue Opens Big Tens With Strong Showing in 800 Free Relay
Rhiannon Sheets led the way with a split of 1:45.26 on the 800 free relay team.

Feb. 19, 2014

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MINNEAPOLIS -- No. 21 Purdue women's swimming and diving opened the Big Ten Championships Wednesday evening with the second-fastest time in program history in the 800 freestyle relay.

The Boilermakers' team of Carly Mercer, Rhiannon Sheets, Nika Karlina Petric and Allie Davis - all NCAA Championships qualifiers a year ago - finished fifth in the 800 free relay with a time of 7:07.01. Purdue posted an NCAA A Cut qualifying time, giving the quartet a chance of competing at the national championship meet next month.

Only the school-record time of 7:06.90 established by the 800 free relay team of Ariel Martin, Lisa Butler, Lauren Roth and Lauren Gustafson at the 2011 Big Ten Championships was faster than Purdue's time tonight. Wednesday, Mercer opened the race with a 200 free split of 1:47.00, one tenth of a second shy of her personal-best time. Rhiannon Sheets led the way with a split of 1:45.26 on the second leg of the race.

While the 800 free relay earned the Boilers 28 team points, Purdue opened the meet on a tough note after an unfortunate disqualification in the 200 medley relay. The Boilermakers' approximate time of 1:39.94 would have been good for seventh place and 24 points. Instead, Purdue did not receive any points in the event and slipped to 10th in the team scoring after the opening night of the four-day meet. The Boilers would have been tied with Michigan for sixth place in the team scoring if not for the DQ. Hannah Manger, Francesca Marr, Kylie Vogel and Mercer represented Purdue on the 200 medley relay team.

A non-scoring exhibition of synchronized 3-meter diving was also scheduled to be held Wednesday but results were not made available.

The Big Ten Championships continues Thursday with preliminaries at noon ET and finals at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Opening Night Events
* -- New Purdue Season-Best Time
(A) -- NCAA A Cut Qualifying Time

800 Free Relay
Mercer, Sheets, Petric & Davis, 7:07.01* (A) - Finished 5th (28 Points); 2nd Fastest in Program History
200 Medley Relay
Manger, Marr, Vogel & Mercer, DQ due to False Start

Opening Night Team Scores
1. #13 Indiana, 74
2. #12 Minnesota, 72
3. #19 Wisconsin, 60
4. #15 Ohio State, 58
4. #23 Penn State, 58
6. #17 Michigan, 54
7. Iowa, 44
8. Nebraska, 42
9. Northwestern, 32
10. #21 Purdue, 28
11. Michigan State, 24
11. Illinois, 24




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