Feb. 16, 2012
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Missouri State women wasted no time at all during the finals session on Thursday at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Swimming & Diving Championships. After the first day of action, the Bears built up a 68-point lead Illinois State.
With their fastest time of the season, the squad of Anna Ahlin, Andrea Uzcategui, Janke Engelbrecht and Ali Stauffer captured gold in the 200 free relay (1:34.80). The Bears edged out Evansville and Illinois State by less than .30 seconds and made it the third straight year that a MSU quartet has won the 200 free relay to kick off the Championships.
The distance group continued to drop time into the finals and consolation heats of the 500 free.
Dimitra Drakopoulou was Missouri State's highest finisher in fourth place. With a time of 4:54.76, the senior captain bettered her previous school record in the event, which she set at the 2010 MVC Championships. Suzanne Van Rensburg and Hannah Molden held their position in the finals, finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.
In the consolation finals, Marta Nogueroles and Dawn Richerson teamed up to take the top two spots of the heat.
Another Missouri State record was rewritten in the following event as sophomore Renata Sander overtook senior captain Brianna Willoughby's mark in the 200 IM with her second-place finish and time of 2:03.49. Sander wasn't alone as three others, including Ahlin, swam under the previous MVC record (2:04.51).
The Bears racked up an impressive 83 points in the 200 IM as all six swimmers entered in the event made the championship finals. Finishing behind Sander were Ahlin (3rd), Willoughby (5th), Melissa Oishi (6th), Roni Balzam (7th) and Kaylee Steffen (8th).
Missouri State was well represented in the 50 free, in which the top-five finishers were all within .10 of each other. Engelbrecht and Stauffer tied for third (24.15) and were just .06 seconds behind first-place finisher Katherine Nelson. MSU teammate Andrea Uzcategui finished closely behind in fifth with a 24.19.
Sophomore diver Lindsey Conway collected 13 points for the Bears in the championship finals as she stayed in sixth with a score of 240.70.
Building momentum for the second day of competition, the Bears ended the night in record-setting fashion as the 400 medley relay of Ahlin, Sander, Balzam and Stauffer set a new Missouri State, MVC and pool record with their mark of 3:44.24.
Friday's preliminary session will start at 11 a.m. and will reconvene at 6 p.m. for finals.
Team Standings After Day One
Missouri State - 293
Illinois State - 225
Southern Illinois - 213
Evansville - 130
Northern Iowa - 87