By Melissa Maykut
OXFORD, Ohio - Breaking Allison Stevens' 200 free record from 2009 wasn't enough. Instead, senior Bekka Westrick went a step further and broke her own newly made record when she won the 200 free final in 1:47.29. She previously set the record in the 800 relay when she swam the lead leg in 1:47.55.
Westrick helped her team break a second record this Invitational when the senior and teammates Cynthia Donovan, Annie Marquiss, and Maddie Kete won the 200 free relay in 1:31.60, breaking the 2009 record 1:31.93. Miami's second relay, consisting of freshman Natalie Rohr, senior Laura Krueger, senior Ellen Barhorst, and freshman Gabbie Veri finished fourth in 1:34.91.
"I was very pleased with that," head coach Dave Jennings said. "That's way ahead of where we were over the last couple years, so certainly we have a lot of work to do if we want to be in contention for the relays at our conference meet, but that was a really solid relay, both relays A and B, so I was very pleased with that."
In her final event of the night, Westrick won the 50 free in 22.75. Senior Maddie Kete came in a second behind Westrick, finishing the race in 23.13. Donovan finished third in 23.38, while teammate Marquiss placed sixth (23.48). Freshman Sara Krueger took seventh in the event (23.80) and senior Ellen Barhorst finished eighth (23.83).
Senior Maegan O'Connor earned a first-place finish in the 200-butterfly, touching the wall in 2:02.52. She also placed ninth in the 100-backstroke final, while teammates Leah Thornton finished third (55.56), Katie Bootsma took sixth (56.56), and Brianna Fujan took seventh (56.68).
The RedHawks also had strong finishes in the 100 breast, taking third, fourth, fifth, and seventh place. Junior Nicole Wagner led the way for Miami finishing third (1:03.25), while sophomore Gabbie Pettinichi finished fourth in 1:03.71. Senior Stacia Schacter placed fifth (1:03.50) and senior Stacie Clagg snatched the seventh place spot in 1:03.83.
Freshman Aubrey Kluth had an impressive race in the 400 IM finishing third in the championship race in 4:21.87. Clagg placed fourth in the event (4:23.49), while three RedHawks took spots seven through nine, respectively: junior Kayla Scott finished seventh (4:28.61), freshman Shannon Ahearn placed eighth (4:29.06), and Fujan finished ninth (4:29.42).
Freshman Emma Szczupakiewicz took a fifth-place finish in the 200 fly in 2:04.31 and teammate Mandi Grandjean finished seventh in 2:04.91.
"The team has done a really nice job," Jennings said. "I think they're fighting well, they're competing well, they're handling disappointment well, so I think that's a sign of a good team."
The men's team had trouble fighting off Denison, Emory, and Western Kentucky, but battled to several respectable finishes.
Freshman Chris Dieter tied for third in the 200 free, hitting the wall in 1:40.06, while teammate Davis Staley sprinted to a fifth-place finish in the 100 back in 51.44. Davis also finished eighth in the 200 fly in 1:52.12.
Sophomores Joe Baumgartner and Chris Breger, and freshmen Jake Prodoehl and Chris Dieter fought to a fifth-place finish in the 200 free relay, swimming the event in 1:24.18. Baumgartner also had a strong race in the 50 free, taking sixth with a time of 20.99.
Junior Michael Cavanaugh finished ninth in the 200 fly with a time of 1:53.65, while senior Alex Reinhardt placed eight in the 400 IM (4:08.32).
Both teams finished the night with the 400-yard medley relay. Miami's top team, consisting of Thornton, Clagg, O'Connor, and Kete, finished second in 3:45.24, while the women's second team, consisting of Brianna Fujan, Pettinichi, Grandjean, and Marquiss finished fourth in 3:48.41.
The men's top team, consisting of Davis, Cavanaugh, Baumgartner, and senior Anderson Whipp, placed fifth in the relay in 3:26.33. The men's final relay team, consisting of freshman Sean Neri, junior Jonathan Profitt, Breger, and Dieter finished eighth (3:29.16).
Overall, head coach Pete Lindsay said his team competed well.
"I thought they swam pretty well tonight," Lindsay said. "They were pretty loose...they were competing, they were racing tonight. I don't think they were intimidated by anybody, so that was a good thing."
The final day of the Invitational will begin Saturday, Dec. 1 at 9 a.m.