February 17, 2009

Women break nine school records during meet

Five individual Maroons and two relays earned NCAA D-III qualifying times as women’s swimming and diving placed fourth at this year’s UAA Championship over the weekend.

This fourth-place finish marked Chicago’s best performance at the UAA Championships since the conference’s inception.

Chicago broke nine school records, posted nine national provisional-qualifying times, and two individuals earned All-Association honors during the three-day competition.

Second-year Ellie Elgamal and first-year Tara Levens earned UAA honors and a provisional-qualifying cut for placing in the top three in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard backstroke, respectively. Elgmal finished the 100-yard butterfly in second with a time of 58.24, and Levens came in third in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 57.85.

Levens also posted a NCAA provisional-qualifying times in the 100-yard butterfly (59.01) and the 100-yard backstroke (59.24).

Other Maroons to earn national provisional “B” cuts were third-year Cassie O’Neill in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:08.47), first-year Jacqueline Trudeau in the 200-yard freestyle (1:57.58), and third-year Alicia Bushman in the 200-yard backstroke (2:08.56).

The 400-yard medley relay, composed of Levens, Biery, Elgamal, and Trudeau, and an aggregate relay time for the 800-yard freestyle relay, composed of Biery, Trudeau, first-year Megan St. John, and second-year Courtney Moran, also posted provisional-qualifying times.

School records were set by Levens in the 200-yard backstroke and in the leading legs of the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays, by first-year Laura Biery in the 400-yard individual medley, and by all five of the relays.

Prior to the UAA Championships, Elgamal, Levens, and St. John had already earned national provisional-qualifying times in the 200-yard butterfly, the 100-yard backstroke, and the 1,650-yard freestyle, respectively.

Although the Maroons put up a total of 11 national provisional-qualifying times throughout the season, head coach Jason Weber predicts that only Levens in the 200-yard backstroke will have a chance to actually compete at the NCAA Championships in five weeks.

“I think she is currently eighth [in the country] in the 200-yard backstroke,” Weber said, “and they’re probably going to take around eighteen girls, so she has a really good shot.”

There are two more women’s meets in the conference and their results will determine the final list of competitors at the NCAAs.

Overall, Weber concluded that the UAA Championships was a successful end to most of the team’s season.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Weber said. “A few people didn’t perform as well as I had hoped—Ellie, for instance, was really sick all weekend and didn’t swim on Saturday—but our goal was to break into the top four, and we did it.”

Chicago finished fourth with 1,028.5 points. Emory University won its 11th consecutive UAA title with 1,875.5 points, followed by New York University (1,449.5 points) and Carnegie Mellon University (1,063 points).