By Melissa Maykut
OXFORD, Ohio - Senior Bekka Westrick did it again. After breaking former RedHawk Allison Stevens' 200 free record Thursday night, she came back Friday morning and smashed the 50 free pool record, sprinting the race in 22.61. Ball State's Joy Gallagher set the original record of 22.69 in 1996, and Toledo's Annie Donovan tied it in 2010.
Westrick continued to shine during Friday's prelim session of the Invitational, winning the 200 free in 1:49.73. Westrick will swim in both the 50 and 200 free finals tonight in the Invitational's evening session.
The women's team will send 17 other swimmers to the finals tonight as a result of their outstanding performances in the prelim races.
Senior Meagan O'Connor will race in three events this evening, having placed within the top nine in the 200 butterfly, the 100 backstroke, and the 50 free. O'Connor won the 200 fly in a season high 2:01.50, then finished fourth in the 100 back in 56.13. She then clinched an eighth place finish in the 50 free in 23.77.
Senior Maddie Kete placed fifth in the 200 free in 1:51.18 and swam to a second-place finish in the 50 free in 23.13. Senior Stacie Clagg also had a pair of reputable finishes, swimming to a fifth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.86) and to a fourth-place finish in the 400 IM (4:22.28). Both seniors swam personal-best times in their respective events.
Junior Brianna Fujan will also race in two events tonight after clinching the ninth spot in the 100 back (56.68) and the eighth spot in the 400 IM (4:29.02).
The freshmen swimmers put up phenomenal performances in the prelims, with Emma Szczupakiewicz going runner-up in the 200 fly in 2:05.42. Aubrey Kluth battled to a third-place finish in the 400 IM (4:22.28), while teammate Shannon Ahearn placed seventh in the event (4:27.67). Sara Krueger then clinched a ninth spot in the 50 free final with a time of 23.80.
The RedHawks will also send sophomore Caitlyn Fujan to the 200 free final, having finished ninth in the prelims (1:52.08). Three other Miami swimmers will compete in the 100 breast final: sophomore Gabbie Pettinichi finished third in the event (1:03.71), Nicole Wagner placed fourth (1:03.76), and Stacia Schacter snagged the ninth-place spot (1:04.36).
Senior Leah Thornton and sophomore Katie Bootsma will compete in the 100 back final, after finishing fifth (56.39) and seventh (56.56) in the prelims.
Junior Kayla Scott will join four of her teammates in the 400 IM final after nabbing a ninth-place finish in the 400 IM (4:29.27). Junior Cynthia Donovan and sophomore Annie Marquiss will race in the 50 free final, finishing third (23.39) and fourth (23.48) respectively in prelims.
The men's team also had an exceptional morning of racing with five swimmers moving on to the finals tonight.
Freshman Chris Dieter swam an impressive 200 free, going runner-up in the event in 1:40.64.
Junior Michael Cavanaugh and freshman Davis Stanley will compete in the 200 fly final after clinching a sixth-place finish (1:52.07) and ninth-place finish (1:52.82) in the prelim event.
Junior Jonathan Profitt will represent Miami in the 100 breast after a seventh-place finish in this morning's event (58.27). Sophomore Joe Baumgartner will also be the only RedHawk to race in the 50 free after tying for fifth in the prelim event with a time of 20.81.
Entering tonight's finals, the Miami women's swimming team leads the Invitational with 275 points, while the men's team is in third with 172 points. Friday evening's events will begin at 6 p.m. at the Corwin M. Nixon Aquatic Center.