COLUMBUS, Ohio - A pair of conference medals and three program records headlined the Big Ten Championships for Purdue women’s swimming & diving.
Kaersten Meitz won silver with a runner-up finish in the 500 freestyle, earning second team All-Big Ten honors. She accounted for a team-high 75 points while scoring in all three of her individual events, leading the Boilermakers in scoring for the second year in a row. Eighteen student-athletes produced at least one individual scoring finish.
Emily Meaney took home bronze via a third-place showing in platform diving. Purdue had two divers in the championship final of all three events, the only team to accomplish the feat this season.
Emmy Rawson regained possession of the program record in the 200 butterfly, posting a time of 1:55.95 in the prelims. Rawson (46 points) joined Emily Bretscher (49) and Meitz as Boilermakers to score in all three of their individual events. As seniors, Meitz, Rawson and Reese all scored at Big Tens for the fourth year in a row.
Jackie Smailis, Jinq En Phee and Taite Kitchel all swam on both record-setting medley relays. They teamed with Danielle Auckley for a time of 1:37.83 to eclipse the 200 medley record on the opening night of Big Tens for the second year in a row. Kaersten Meitz swam the freestyle leg on the 400 medley relay (3:34.72) the following night. The Boilermakers have established at least one relay record at Big Tens each of the last four years. Meitz and Smailis have been involved in those records three years in a row.
Samm Reese (48 points), Morgan Meixner (47) and Kitchel (46) were A finalists in a pair of events, finishing the meet ranked among the top five on the team in scoring. Reese placed fourth in 3-meter diving while posting a career-best score of 362.30, which moved her up to eighth place in program history. Meixner was sixth on 1-meter and also had a career-best score on 3-meter (349.50). Kitchel was in the championship finals of both butterfly events and now ranks second in program history in both the 100 (52.91) and 200 fly (1:56.42).
Kitchel was recognized as Purdue’s Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree.
Phee became just the second Boilermaker to ever break one minute in the 100 breaststroke. Her career-best time of 59.66 helped her place fifth in the A final of the event. She also moved up to third place in program history in the 200 breast (2:11.57).
Bretscher’s versatility allowed her to not only score in all three diving events, but also helped give Purdue at least three of the top 10 finishers on both 1-meter and platform. Lexi Vincent won the platform consolation final for the second year in a row. The five divers combined to account for 207 of the Boilermakers’ 469 points (44 percent) in the individual events.
Emily Meckstroth (1650 free), Rawson (100 fly, 200 IM), Smailis (200 back) also moved up into the top five in program history with at least one career-best time. Meckstroth’s ninth-place finish in the mile was the equivalent of winning the B final.
Selected Boilermakers will compete Saturday at the Boiler-Make-It NCAA Last Chance meet. Swimming qualifiers for the NCAA Championships are expected to be announced Feb. 28. The divers compete at the NCAA Zone C Championships on March 8 to 10. That meet will serve as the NCAA qualifier for the divers. Zones and the NCAA Championships are also being held in Columbus this year.