Thursday, February 20, 2003
Freshman Britt Nelson (Cortland, N.Y./Homer H.S.) recorded Valparaiso's highest finish, second in the 500 freestyle, of the Midwest Championships as the Crusaders stand in fifth place after the opening day of competition at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Eastern Illinois leads the meet with 194.5 points, followed by Miami (Ohio) with 164 points. Western Illinois is in third place with 143 points, with IUPUI in fourth (139.5 points), and Valpo (124 points).
The Brown and Gold opened the meet with a fourth place finish in the 200 freestyle relay as Ashley Seale (Maryville, Tenn./Maryville H.S.), Nelson, Daniella Trombatore (Redding, Calif./Shasta H.S.), and Leah Schneider (Sussex, Wis./Arrowhead H.S.) touched the wall in 1:41.84.
Nelson then shined in the first individual event of the championships with her second place finish in the 500 free. The rookie's time of 5:13.73 was the second fastest time in school history. Katie Urbas (Ballwin, Mo./Marquette H.S.) also swam in the A final, placing seventh with a time of 5:19.93, a season's best. Jennifer Penninga (DeMotte, Ind./Kankakee Valley H.S.) won the B final with a personal best 5:23.78 to earn a ninth place finish overall, while Maggie Kroemer (Brown Deer, Wis./Milwaukee Lutheran H.S.) was 14th touching the wall in 5:33.23.
Seale was victorious in the B final of the 200 individual medley as her time of 2:16.19 marked a personal best. Schneider was .81 seconds behind Seale in 11th place overall, while Julie Fisher (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) also scored for the Brown and Gold with her 13th place finish in 2:18.81.
The 50 free, the final individual event of the evening, saw Trombatore register Valpo's highest finish with her 13th place effort in a time of 25.77 seconds, her season's best. Freshman Lauren Bambach (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman H.S.) was two places behind Trambatore with her time of 25.92, her collegiate best.
The Crusaders 400 medley relay finished in fifth place to conclude the first day of competition, as Bambach, Seale, Urbas, and Nelson touched the wall in 4:12.05.
Valpo will return to the pool on Friday morning for day two of the three-day championships. Preliminary heats will begin at 9 a.m. CST with the finals slated for 5 p.m. CST.