By Melissa Maykut
OXFORD, Ohio - She just can't help herself. Senior Bekka Westrick has been on a hot streak throughout this Invitational, breaking the 200 freestyle record, the 200 free relay record, and now the 100 butterfly varsity and pool records.
In her prelim swim, Westrick won the event in 52.91, breaking her own varsity record time of 53.53 from last year's Invitational. She also shattered Ohio's Rachel Heim's 53.26 pool record set in 2010.
Westrick later won the 100 free in 50.04. With two wins in Saturday morning's prelims, she will move on to Saturday night's final events. The RedHawks will send four other swimmers to the 100 free finals, including senior Maddie Kete who finished third (50.61), junior Cynthia Donovan who placed seventh (51.39), sophomore Annie Marquiss who clinched the eighth-place spot (51.46), and senior Ellen Barhorst who finished ninth (51.67).
Sophomore Courtney Collett swam an impressive race, pacing herself to a first-place finish and a trip to tonight's final in the 500 free with a time of 4:56.47. Sophomore Stephanie Pearce finished third in the event in 4:58.49 and senior Molly Tyler took sixth (4:59.54). Freshman Aubrey Kluth had a strong finish, taking seventh in 4:59.69, and sophomore Caitlin Fujan placed ninth in 5:00.02.
Senior Maegan O'Connor had a strong finish in the 100 fly, placing first in her heat and finishing second overall in 55.35. Freshman Gabbie Veri competed well in the event, clinching the ninth spot in 57.14 to return tonight for the 100 fly championship race.
Senior Stacie Clagg will swim in the 200 breaststroke finals, finishing second overall in the prelim event in 2:18.35. Senior Stacia Schacter placed fifth in the event (2:19.84), while sophomore Gabbie Pettinichi finished sixth a second later in 2:20.10.
Senior Leah Thornton will race in two event finals tonight, placing fourth in the 200-backstroke (2:01.49) and sixth in the 200 IM (2:05.30).
The women's team will also send sophomore Katie Bootsma to the 200 back final after finishing eighth in the prelim race (2:03.55), as well as junior Brianna Fujan who finished ninth in the event (2:03.76). Freshman Aubrey Kluth will join Thornton in the 200 IM final after finishing seventh in the prelim in 2:05.38.
The men's team will send two swimmers to the championship finals tonight in the 100 and 500 free events, as well as nine swimmers for the B finals.
Sophomore Joe Baumgartner went neck and neck with Denison's Sean Cabot in the 100 free up until the very end when Baumgartner hit the wall just one-fifth of a second slower than Chabot, placing second in 45.65. Baumgartner will face Chabot again in the final. Freshman Chris Dieter will race in the 100 free B final after finishing thirteenth in 46.97.
Senior Alex Reinhardt will represent Miami in the 500 free championship race after placing fifth in the prelim event in 4:37.99. Dieter and sophomore Andrew Kilkenny will race in the B final before Reinhardt. Dieter finished fifteenth in the prelim race in 4:41.61, while Kilkenny finished fourteenth (4:41.06). Kilkenny will compete in a second B final of the 200 IM, having placed fifteenth in the prelim in 1:56.31.
Miami will send four guys to the B finals of the 200 back, including freshman Davis Staley who placed eleventh (1:52.91), junior Mike Kline who raced to twelfth (1:53.96), junior Sam Flessner who placed seventeenth (1:55.90), and freshman Sean Neri who finished eighteenth (1:55.98).
Juniors Will Olsen and Jonathan Profitt will race in the B final of the 200 breast, finishing twelfth (2:10.39) and fifteenth (2:12.47) in the prelim race, and junior Michael Cavanaugh will race in the B final of the 100 fly after tying for tenth in the prelim event (51.01).
The final session of the Miami Invitational will begin Saturday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m.