March 5, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Led by the individual invitations earned by Francesca Marr and Carly Mercer, seven Purdue women's swimmers have learned they will have an opportunity to represent the Boilermakers at the NCAA Championships later this month at the three-day meet in Minneapolis.
Marr (200 breaststroke) and Mercer (100 freestyle) both owned individual times that ranked among the top 39 nationally in their respective events. Meanwhile, Rhiannon Sheets (200 free) is the first overall alternate to be in line for an individual invitation.
Purdue also had qualifying times in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays. Allie Davis, Nika Karlina Petric and Kylie Vogel and Sheets will be part of the Boilers' relay events at the NCAA Championships. If Sheets does indeed move up from alternate to individual entrant, Grace Hernandez will take the final relay spot allotted to the Boilermakers.
Divers earn their NCAA berths based on their performances at the Zone Championships. Purdue is competing at the Zone C meet again, set for March 13-15 in Columbus, Ohio.
The national championship meet invitations for the men's swimmers will be announced next week.
Mercer's program-record time of 48.43 in the 100 free from the Ohio State Invitational in November ranked 22nd nationally. Marr lowered her season-best time in the 200 breast to 2:10.39 Saturday at the Boiler-Make-It Last Chance Meet and the mark ranked 34th nationally. It was an important swim for Marr. Her time of 2:11.82 at the Big Ten Championships would have ranked outside the top 39.
Meagan Lim also established a new Purdue freshman record in the 100 butterfly (53.77) at Saturday's meet at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center.
Mercer should also have the option of competing in the 50 and 200 free at the NCAA Championships. She ranks 52nd in the 50 free (22.69) and 55th in the 200 free (1:46.90) among invited swimmers on the national psych sheet unveiled Wednesday. Marr is 48th in the 100 breast (1:01.66) and can also race in that event.
Sheets' season-best time of 1:46.03 in the 200 free, also established Saturday at the Boiler-Make-It meet, was only three hundredths of a second shy of the 39th-place time and final individual invite for the event. She also narrowly missed out in the 200 fly. Her best time was 1:56.98 and the final invite time was 1:56.79. If Sheets moves up, there's a good chance she'll be able to compete in the 200 fly as well.
Purdue's top times in the 800 (7:07.01) and 400 free relays (3:18.18) ranked 19th and 27th, respectively.
Sheets will be making her third consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships. She qualified in at least two individual events in her underclassman seasons and also raced with the relays last year. Davis, Mercer and Petric will be representing Purdue at the national championship meet for the second year in a row. Mercer will be racing individually for the first time.
Hernandez, Marr and Vogel will be making their first appearances at the NCAA Championships.
The women's national championship meet is set for March 20-22 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. The Big Ten Championships were held there last month.
2014 Purdue Women's Swimming NCAA Qualifiers
Event, Time (National Rank)
100 Free, 48.43 (22nd)
50 Free, 22.69 (52nd)
200 Free, 1:46.90 (55th)
200 Breast, 2:10.39 (34th)
100 Breast, 1:01.66 (48th)
Rhiannon Sheets (First Overall Alternate)
200 Free, 1:46.03 (40th)
200 Fly, 1:56.98 (Ranking TBA)
800 Free Relay, 7:07.01 (19th)
400 Free Relay, 3:18.18 (27th)