WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Led by the individual invitations earned by Lauren Gustafson and Rhiannon Sheets, six 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 Indianapolis.
Gustafson and Sheets both owned individual times that ranked among the top 38 nationally in their respective events. Purdue also had qualifying times in the three freestyle relay events (200, 400 and 800). Allie Davis, Carly Mercer, Lauren Nichols and Nika Carlina Petric will team with Gustafson and Sheets to comprise the Boilers' relay foursomes.
Divers earn their NCAA berths based on their performances at the Zone Championships. Purdue is hosting the Zone C meet this season, set for March 14-16 at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center.
The national championship meet invitations for the men's swimmers will be announced next week.
Along with the Boilers' six qualifiers, junior Emily Fogle would have also earned an NCAA Championships invitation for the third consecutive year. She posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time (59.34) in the 100 breaststroke while breaking the program record at the Purdue Invitational in November. However, a hip injury ended Fogle's season early. She is expected to receive a medical redshirt and return for the 2013-14 campaign as a junior.
Gustafson's time of 48.78 in the 100 freestyle at the Big Ten Championships ranked 22nd nationally. Sheets had qualifying times in the 200 butterfly (1:57.09, 26th) and 200 free (1:45.97, 36th) that were also among the top 38 in the nation.
Gustafson will also have the option of competing in the 50 free after her school-record time of 22.49 was 42nd among the 62 invited qualifiers. Likewise, Sheets' mark of 54.00 in the 100 fly was good for 55th of 61.
Purdue's top times in the 200, 400 and 800 free relays ranked 18th, 21st and 20th nationally, respectively.
Gustafson, Nichols and Sheets will all be making their second appearances at the NCAA Championships. Gutafson and Nichols competed in the freestyle relays at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Austin as two of the seven women's swimmers that represented the program that season. Sheets is headed to the national championship meet for the second year in a row. Lauren Roth, Fogle and Sheets competed individually at the NCAAs in Auburn, Ala., last season.
Davis, Mercer and Petric will be making their first appearances the NCAA Championships. Davis and Petric have both earned berths as freshmen.
The Women's NCAA Championships are set for March 21-23 at the IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis.