Feb. 21, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS -- Purdue women's swimming and diving's 200 freestyle relay team clinched a spot at the 2013 NCAA Championships after posting an automatic qualifying time while finishing fourth among a fast field on night two of the Big Ten Championships.
Along with posting a team-best split (21.81) on the 200 free relay team, Lauren Gustafson also broke the program record In the 50 freestyle in the individual race. The senior qualified for the A final with a preliminary time of 22.49, shaving one hundredth of a second off Ariel Martin's team record from 2011.
MacKenzie Tweardy accounted for the top finish of the day by the Boilers, finishing as the runner up in the championship final of the 1-meter diving competition. The sophomore improved on her prelim score by 34.5 points, her finals list award of 325.40 ranking as the third best in program history. Purdue's three other divers in attendance - Casey Matthews, Michelle Cabassol and Maddie Miskulin - also scored in the 1-meter competition to account for 42 team points in the event.
The Boilermakers jumped to fourth in the team standings with 142.5 points after being in seventh place after the opening night relays on Wednesday. Host Minnesota has a 92-point advantage on second-place Indiana.
Carly Mercer, Gustafson, Lauren Nichols and Rhiannon Sheets teamed up to finish the 200 free relay in a time of 1:29.77. It was the second fastest time in program history, just seven hundredths of a second shy of the program record from 2011. The A cut NCAA qualifying standard this season was 1:30.62.
Gustafson, Nichols and Sheets will all be making their second appearance at the NCAA Championships. Gustafson and Nichols were part of Purdue's qualifying relays as sophomores in 2011 and Sheets was an individual qualifier as a freshman last year.
Freshmen Allie Davis and Nika Carlina Petric both scored team points for the Boilers by qualifying for the B final of the 500 freestyle. Davis posted a Purdue season-best time of 4:45.61 in the preliminaries, the third-best time in program history. Mercer was also a B final qualifier in the 50 free.
The Big Ten Championships continue Friday with preliminaries at noon ET and finals at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Purdue's Top Finishers & Notables
* -- New Purdue Season-Best Time
^ -- New Personal Season-Best Time
(A) - NCAA Automatic Qualifying Time
(B) - NCAA Provisional Qualifying Time
(Z) - NCAA Zone Qualifying Score
200 Free Relay
Mercer, Gustafson, Nichols & Sheets, 1:29.77* (A) -- Finished 4th (30 Points)
Second Fastest Time in Program History
MacKenzie Tweardy, 325.40* (Z) -- Finished 2nd in Championship Final (17 Points)
Third Best Score in Program History
Casey Matthews, 323.30^ (Z, Prelim Score) -- Finished 6th in Championship Final (13 Points)
Michelle Cabassol, 316.40^ (Z) -- Finished 2nd in Consolation Final (7 Points)
Maddie Miskulin, 300.05^ (Z) -- Finished 4th in Consolation Final (5 Points)
Lauren Gustafson, 22.49* (B, Prelim Time) -- Finished 7th in A Final (12 Points)
NEW PROGRAM RECORD
Carly Mercer, 22.83 (B, Prelim Time) -- Finished T-7th in B Final (1.5 Points)
Mercer Split of 22.63^ on leadoff leg of 200 free relay a personal season-best
Allie Davis, 4:45.61* (B, Prelim Time) -- Finished 6th in B Final (3 Points)
Third Fastest in Program History
Nika Carlina Petric, 4:46.65^ (B) -- Finished 5th in B Final (4 Points)
Megan Gallagher, 4:49.84^ (Prelim Time) -- Finished 8th in C Final
Lizzy Lyon, 4:52.41^ -- Finished 7th in C Final
Francesca Marr, 2:02.39^ (Prelim Time) -- 32nd in Prelims as Top Purdue Finisher
Team Scores Through Thursday
1. #12 Minnesota, 303.5
2. #13 Indiana, 211.5
3. #24 Penn State, 175
4. Purdue, 142.5
5. #20 Ohio State, 132
6. #17 Wisconsin, 116.5
7. #21 Michigan, 116
8. Nebraska, 90
9. Northwestern, 79
10. Iowa, 58
11. Michigan State, 34
12. Illinois, 32