Nov. 30, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Led by senior Taylor Reynolds' (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves) domination of the 50 freestyle Friday, Northwestern is in fourth place at the seven-team Iowa Invitational after one day of competition at the three-day event.
Northwestern has 159.5 total points, just 11.5 points out of a second-place tie between Nebraska and the host Hawkeyes. No. 22 Michigan leads the meet with 237.5 points. NU has a healthy 69.5-point edge on Denver (90 points), which is followed by Washington State (88) and Milwaukee (79). Notre Dame also is at the meet, but sent only divers.
Reynolds was one of four championship finalists on day one for Northwestern, which also saw several career-bests from swimmers in other finals heats.
The Iowa Invitational continues Saturday with preliminary action at 10 a.m. CT and finals beginning at 6 p.m. CT. Live results are available at Hawkeyesports.com.
Friday morning preliminary action
Northwestern announced its intention to swim fast from the first event when every NU entry in the 500 freestyle prelims swam a season-best time -- some with dramatically faster performances than they put up at the TYR Invitational earlier this month. Freshman Ellen Anderson (Montgomery Village, Md./Gaithersburg) qualified fourth overall for the championship final in a season-best time of 4:51.68 while freshman Emily Launer (DeKalb, Ill./Rosary) and senior Meredith King (Louisville, Ky./duPont Manual) both made the consolation heat. Launer's 10th place time of 4:56.06 was more than eight seconds faster than her previous collegiate best while King's 4:59.60 cut 7.32 seconds from her season-best.
Junior Megan Goss
(Brentwood, Tenn./Ravenwood) earned a second swim in the 500 free with a 23rd-place 5:03.82 (a nearly four second drop) to round out NU's evening qualifiers in that event.
In the 200 IM, freshman Shelly Patton (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) further lowered her collegiate best in the event to 2:01.83, qualifying fourth overall for the championship final and moving up from ninth to seventh on NU's all-time top times list in the event.
Junior Becca Soderholm (Madison, Wis./Madison East) joined Patton in a scoring final with an 11th place qualifying effort of 2:03.76, more than 3.5 seconds faster than her seed time. Senior Meaghan Fenn (New Rochelle, N.Y./The Ursuline School) also picked up a second-swim opportunity with a 23rd overall morning swim of 2:06.01.
Reynolds, an NCAA qualifier in the event a year ago, set the standard for the morning in the 50 free. She blazed to a first-place overall and NCAA `B' provisional qualifying time of 22.48, just six one-hundredths of a second off of her career-best in the event.
Senior Katie McCullough (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) won a point scoring opportunity with 12th-place 23.51. Freshman Julia Pratt (Vincennes, Ind./Vincennes Rivet) found herself in a three-way tie for 16th place and the final spot in Friday night's consolation final after a morning 23.72. Facing a swim-off, Pratt cut another .19 off of that time to touch in 23.53 and win the scoring heat lane by one tenth of a second.
Sophomore Valerie Nubbe (Huntsville, Ala./Huntsville) will swim again in the bonus final after a 22nd-place preliminary time of 23.78.
In women's 1-meter diving preliminary action, junior Cosima Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) qualified for Friday night's finals with a fourth-place overall score of 265.40. Three other Northwestern divers scored points with Caroline Grant (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) taking 11th in 237.75, Mary Kate Campbell (Burr Ridge, Ill./Fenwick) coming in 12th with a 236.75 and -- in her first action of the season following a long injury recovery process -- senior All-Big Ten winner Felicitas Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) scored two points with a 15th-place score of 234.10.
Friday evening finals action
Northwestern kicked off the finals with a strong second-place showing behind Michigan in the 200 free relay. Reynolds gave NU the lead after the opening leg with a 23.07 and McCullough on the anchor leg went toe-for-toe with the best splits in the pool with a 22.76, but the middle two Wolverine swimmers proved too strong. Still, the NU team of Reynolds, Pratt, Nubbe and McCullough touched in a season-best time of 1:32.28.
In the 500 free final, Anderson took sixth overall after nearly matching her prelim swim with a 4:51.81. In the `B' final, King cut six more seconds off her preliminary effort, cruising in second in the heat and 10th overall for seven points with a 4:53.54. Launer could not match her morning intensity, falling from 10th after the prelims to 15th with a 5:00.78 Friday night. In the bonus final, Goss slashed five seconds from her qualification swim to take second in the heat and 18th overall with a 4:58.73.
The top swim for Northwestern in the 200 IM came in the consolation final, where Soderholm broke her career-best time in the event by .25 of a second, winning the heat and taking ninth overall in 2:02.44. She blew away the field in the `B' final, winning by a 1.57-second margin that was growing larger by the stroke when she touched the wall.
In the championship final, Patton was fifth overall in 2:02.00 after falling just .17 of a second shy of her prelim time. Fenn was two one-hundredths of a second faster during the evening 200 IM bonus final than she was in the morning, moving up three spots to finish in 20th position overall with a 2:05.99.
Reynolds came out in the championship final of the 50 free and won the title in the event despite swimming a time that was .45 of a second slower than her prelim swim, so immense was her talent on this day compared to the field. Reynolds' 22.93 was yet another `B' cut for the senior and it topped the second-place time of 23.02.
In the consolation final, McCullough finished in a dead-heat for 11th overall with Michigan's Ali Deloof at 23.66. Pratt used her swim-off victory to tally two points for the 'Cats with a 15th-place 23.83 in her fourth competitive 50 free swim of the day. Nubbe broke her career-best in the 50 free bonus final, finishing second in the heat and 18th overall in the event with a 23.51.
During diving finals, Cosima Lenz moved up one spot to take third overall behind a pair of Notre Dame competitors (The Irish sent divers only to the meet). Lenz's score of 285.00 was nearly 20 points better than her first go around and was her season-best score.
Northwestern's 400 medley relay capped the day with a season-best 3:45.58 from the team of Turner, McCullough, Patton and Reynolds to take seventh place.
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