Bears Capture Four Victories on Day 1 to Establish Lead at MVC Championships
Freshman Dora Kiss squeezed out the win in the 500 free and broke the school record to boot
Freshman Dora Kiss squeezed out the win in the 500 free and broke the school record to boot

Feb. 14, 2013


 Day 1- Photo Gallery

CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Missouri State women's swimming & diving team rattled off four victories in the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 400 medley relay on Thursday to establish a lead following the opening day of the 2013 MVC Championships. The Bears, who are five-time defending champions, lead second-place Illinois State by 31 points and SIU by 33.

Less than a second separated the top four squads in the 200 free relay, a race which the Bears had won the past three years. In a hotly contested race, the Salukis came out on top with a time of 1:33.18, just .07 seconds from Missouri State's MVC record set in 2011. The Bears' A-Relay of Kate Gately, Megan Holthoff, Janke Engelbrecht and Andrea Uzcategui finished fourth overall in 1:34.15.

Another exciting race transpired in the 500 free as the top three medalists finished within .18 seconds of each other. Missouri State freshman Dora Kiss, who entered Thursday evening as the top seed, held off the late charges by SIU's Pamela Benitez (2nd) and Evansville's Michelle Tipton to pick up the Bears first individual title of the 2013 MVC Championships. With a 4:52.20, Kiss broke Dimitra Drakopoulou's varsity record by more than two seconds. Junior Hannah Molden, the Bears' second A-Finalist improved two positions and set a new personal best.

In the 500 free B-Final, the Bears swept the top three places. Suzanne Van Rensburg stayed put in ninth place, while freshman Carly Wright dropped 5.06 seconds to move up five spots to 10th. Snyder rounded out the three with a one-spot jump to 11th.

Reigning MVC Swimmer of the Year Renata Sander picked up where she left off last year. The junior from Belo Horizonte, Brazil caught the lead pack in the breaststroke leg and didn't look back, finishing in record pace (2:03.18). The mark set a new MSU and MVC Championship record. Freshmen Ibby Simcox and Emily Chesser picked up valuable points for the Bears with fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the A-Final.

The Bears were also loaded in the 200 IM B-Final as Roni Balzam, Rebecca Amparano and Anna Ahlin went finished 1-2-3 in the consolation heat and senior Kaylee Steffen finished 14th overall.

Gately, who entered the evening as the top seed in the 50 free, completed a Bears' sweep in Thursday's individual events. The freshman from St. Louis, Mo. capped off her first day of competition by out-touching a pair of Evansville swimmers by less than a tenth of a second. Senior Andrea Uzcategui, who also swam on the 200 free relay, stayed put in seventh place, while relay members Megan Holthoff and Janke Engelbrecht finished 12th and 16th, respectively.

Missouri State ended Thursday with a dominant showing in the 400 medley relay. The Bears' relay of Anna Ahlin, Renata Sander, Roni Balzam and Andrea Uzcategui touched the wall at 3:44.30 and defeated the field by more than four seconds. En route to first place, the Bears were just .06 seconds off the school, MVC and pool record.

Earlier in the day, all three MSU divers competed in the consolation finals. After narrowly missing the A-Final, junior Lindsey Conway flat out dominated her second go-around. She won the consolation final with a career best 264.10. Unfortunately, for the second time in a month, Conway was less than two points shy of her first-ever NCAA Zone `D' Regional cut (265). Both Paige Koebbe and Darya Wodetzki improved on their prelims marks to finish 12th and 16th, respectively.

The second day of competition at the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium will begin with prelims at 11 a.m. CST, followed by finals at 6 p.m. Although there are no official live results, follow @MissouriStBears on Twitter for updates, as well as the Valley's free, live video stream.

Team Standings - After Day 1
Missouri State - 251
Illinois State - 220
Southern Illinois - 218
Evansville - 162
Northern Iowa - 97



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