March 19, 2014
Live Video Links available at the Meet Central Page
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Ten members of Purdue women's swimming and diving are ready to represent the Boilermakers this week at the marquee event of the season, the three-day NCAA Championships in Minneapolis.
Competition is set for Thursday through Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, which has also hosted the last two women's Big Ten Championships. Minneapolis is serving as the host site for the first time since 2007 and fourth time since 1993. Morning preliminaries begin daily at 12 p.m. ET and evening finals are set for 8 p.m. ET. There will be live video webcasts available for all sessions, with ESPN3 and WatchESPN providing the free live coverage of the finals sessions Friday and Saturday.
Purdue will be represented in the individual events by swimmers Francesca Marr (100 and 200 breast), Carly Mercer (50 and 100 free) and Rhiannon Sheets (200 free and 200 fly) as well as divers Michelle Cabassol, Casey Matthews and MacKenzie Tweardy. In 400 and 800 freestyle relays, Allie Davis, Grace Hernandez, Nika Karlina Petric and Kylie Vogel will team with Mercer and Sheets. Hernandez and Vogel are likely to be part of the 400 team and Davis and Petric the 800 team.
Matthew is the defending national champion in 3-meter diving. She is making her fourth appearance at NCAAs. She was also part of the women's qualifiers in 2009, 2010 and 2013. Sheets qualified in individual events (200 free and 200 fly) for the third consecutive year. Cabassol was also individual qualifier a year ago. Davis, Mercer, Petric and Sheets all raced with Purdue's relay teams at the 2013 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis. Hernandez, Marr, Tweardy and Davis will all be competing at the national championship meet for the first time.
Hernandez joins Cabassol, Emily Fogle, Davis, Matthews and Sheets as active Boilers to qualify for the NCAA Championships as freshmen.
The top 16 finishers in the afternoon preliminaries advance to the finals and assure themselves of All-America honors. They also score team points for their schools by qualifying for finals. The top eight advance to the championship finals. The ninth through 16th-place finishers in prelims compete in the consolation finals later in the day, those spots being Honorable Mention All-America.
Matthews (1-meter) and Tweardy (platform) both won an event at last week's NCAA Zone C Diving Championships. All three Purdue divers will have an opportunity to compete in two diving events. Cabassol (fourth place) and Matthews (event winner) were both 3-meter All-Americans a year ago. Matthews also won the 1-meter consolation final to garner Honorable Mention All-America acclaim. She is a five-time All-America honoree overall during her career at the national championship meet.
Purdue's 400 and 800 free relay teams were Honorable Mention All-America performers at the 2011 NCAA Championships. The Boilermakers placed 18th in the preliminaries of the 200 and 800 free relays as the national championship last year, narrowly missing out on a spot in the consolation final of both events.
The Purdue men will also be represented by 10 student-athletes at the NCAA Championships next week in Austin, Texas.
Purdue entries & Schedule at NCAA Championships
Michelle Cabassol - 1-Meter & 3-Meter Diving
Francesca Marr - 100 & 200 Breast
Casey Matthews - 1-Meter & 3-Meter Diving
Carly Mercer - 50 & 100 Free, Relays
Rhiannon Sheets - 200 Free & 200 Fly, Relays
MacKenzie Tweardy - 1-Meter & Platform Diving
Allie Davis - Relays
Grace Hernandez - Relays
Nika Karlina Petric - Relays
Kylie Vogel - Relays
Thursday, March 20 - 12 p.m. Prelims, 8 p.m. Finals (Times ET)
50 Free - Carly Mercer
1-Meter Diving - Michelle Cabassol, MacKenzie Tweardy & Casey Matthews
Friday, March 21 - 12 p.m. Prelims, 8 p.m. Finals (Times ET)
200 Free - Rhiannon Sheets
100 Breast - Francesca Marr
800 Free Relay
3-Meter Diving - Michelle Cabassol & Casey Matthews
Saturday, March 22 - 12 p.m. Prelims, 8 p.m. Finals (Times ET)
100 Free - Carly Mercer
200 Breast - Francesca Marr
200 Fly - Rhiannon Sheets
400 Free Relay
Platform Diving - MacKenzie Tweardy