Feb. 20, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio - Miami University's Women's Swimming and Diving team seeks to win its 17th Mid-American Conference Championship this week (Feb. 22-25), traveling to the University of Akron to compete in the 32nd Annual MAC meet.
The RedHawks have won a MAC-record 16 team titles, but they haven't finished first in the league since 2009. Fifteen of the 16 trophies have been lifted by RedHawk teams coached by Coach Dave Jennings. Ohio ranks second with 11 MAC titles. In the 2011 MAC Championships, Miami placed third behind champion Ohio and runner-up Toledo.
In 31 previous MAC meets, Miami women have totaled 132 individual titles and 39 relay championships. Last year, Redhawks claimed four first-place finishes in individual races (100 backstroke by Kelsey Vehr) and one in relay competition (200 medley relay by Thornton, Vehr, Nicole Roddenbery and Maddie Kete).
"We've had a solid season," said Jennings. "Overall, we've swam pretty well. We had great performances at the Miami Invitational and ended our dual meet season on a very positive note against Ohio. Going into the MAC Championships, our big focus is to do what we did in those two meets. This sounds like a coaching cliché, but we just want to go to Akron and do the best that we possibly can. It's going to be a very competitive conference meet, with a number of teams that can vie for the championship. The teams who step it up will enhance their chance to win. Our chances are as good as anybody's, but we're going to have a great meet. Every point counts in a championship meet. Preliminary competition is critical for every team. I'm excited about this week. I have confidence that they'll swim very well and if they think that way, it could be a good meet."
FREESTYLE (best times in 2011-12):
100 Free - Westrick (49.97), Kete (51.30), Bruington (51.76), O'Connor (51.82), Barhorst (52.01)
1650 Free - Collett (16:47.67), Warmolts (17:09.39)
Jennings: "Our sprints have been pretty good throughout most of the year. Certainly, the 50 and the 100 have been solid events all year. I'm confident that our sprint events will be good this week. In the middle distance freestyles, that's an area that we're going to have to have our best performances. With seniors Chelsey Bruington and Lauren Wallace, sophomore Jenny Warmolts and freshman Courtney Collett, that's an area where we can make some breakthroughs. In the mile, Jenny and Courtney need to swim at a very high level."
BACKSTROKE (best times in 2011-12):
100 Back - Thornton (55.16), O'Connor (55.62), Brianna Fujan(56.43), Bootsma (56.98)
200 Back - Thornton (2:00.13), Brianna Fujan(2:01.72), Bootsma (2:02.65), Warmolts (2:03.99), O'Connor (2:04.92)
Jennings: "Leah Thornton, the MAC champ in the 100 back and runner-up in the 200 back, will be one of the meet's top swimmers. If our depth comes through, backstroke can be a really good point producer."
BREASTSTROKE (best times in 2011-12):
200 Breast - Pettinichi (2:18.64), Clagg (2:19.10), Scott (2:20.48), Schacter (2:20.77)
Jennings: "We've got a good combination of 200 flyers and sprint flyers. If our girls swim up to their ability--and I certainly believe that they can--those can be some really great events for us.
BUTTERFLY (best times in 2011-12):
200 Fly - O'Connor (2:00.10, Mallon (2:00.97), Rohr (2:03.76), Collett (2:04.16), Laura Krueger(2:07.44)
Jennings: "With Kelsey Vehr and Megan Brunn having graduated, we're going to have to make some breakthroughs in breaststroke. Stacie Clagghas raced well all season, but we'll need some of our other girls to really step up. We have the potential and the talent to make this happen."
INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY (best times in 2011-12):
200 IM - Tyler (2:05.82), Clagg (2:05.93), Thornton (2:06.43), Brianna Fujan(2:07.40), Bootsma (2:07.67)
400 IM - Clagg (4:22.65), Tyler (4:27.85), Brianna Fujan(4:29.79), Pettinichi (4:31.33), Scott (4:31.60)
Jennings: "I hope that we'll be very strong in the 400 IM with Stacie Clagg and Molly Tyler. However, we're weak in numbers in the 200 IM. If a couple of our girls can do well, that will certainly help us."
DIVING (best scores in 2011-12):
3-Meter - Craft (331.20), Houser (313.95), Werwinski (282.68)
Jennings: "We've got two strong divers in Nikki Craft and Lacey Houser. Both of them are definite candidates for the finals at both one and three meters. Lisa Werwinskihas worked very hard all year, so she'll have a chance to earn some points for us."
RELAYS (best times in 2011-12):
200 Free Relay - 1:35.10 (Westrick, Kete, O'Connor, Bruington)
400 Free Relay - 3:24.59 (Bruington, Kete, Barhorst, Westrick)
800 Free Relay - 7:22.96 (Bruington, Westrick, Kete, Thornton)
200 Medley Relay - 1:42.49 (Thornton, Clagg, Westrick, Kete)
400 Medley Relay - 3:44.40 (Thornton, Clagg, O'Connor, Westrick)
Jennings: "I believe that all of our relays will be pretty competitive this year. Our two medley relays should be very strong, much like the last several years. I think our 400 freestyle relay could be very good. Our 200 free relay could be good, too. We swam the 800 free relay very strong at the Invite, so we'll need that to happen again this week."
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Thursday, Feb. 23:
Trials at 11 a.m. - 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, one-meter diving (1 p.m.)
Finals at 7 p.m. - 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, one-meter diving, 400 medley relay
Friday, Feb. 24:
Trials at 11 a.m. - 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, three-meter diving (1 p.m.)
Finals at 7 p.m. - 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, three-meter diving consolation final, 800 free relay
Saturday, Feb. 25:
Trials at 11 a.m. - 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly
Finals at 7 p.m. - 1650 free (early heat for 1650 free @ 5 p.m.), 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, three-meter diving, 400 free relay
SCORING FOR INDIVIDUAL EVENTS: 20, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
SCORING FOR RELAY EVENTS: 40, 34, 32, 30, 28, 26, 24, 22