Bears Crowned MVC Champs for Fifth Straight Year
Senior Dimitra Drakopoulou scored her first gold medal in the 1650 free on Saturday.
Senior Dimitra Drakopoulou scored her first gold medal in the 1650 free on Saturday.

Feb. 18, 2012

2012 MVC Championships Complete Meet Results
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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For the fifth consecutive year, the Missouri State women’s swimming & diving team has been crowned champions of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bears took home the 2012 State Farm MVC Swimming & Diving Championship on Saturday at Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium.

It is the ninth time in 10 years that the Bears have won the title and this year’s margin of victory is the second-largest in MSU history. The Bears defeated second-place Illinois State by 252 points.

"The night before the meet, we talked to the team and our goal was to get a contribution from every single person and I know that definitely happened," interim head coach Dave Collins said. "It was exciting to see the swimmers & divers improve after they've worked hard the enitre year. It never gets old jumping in the water on Saturday night as it has become a tradition."

In the process of winning its fifth straight title, Bear swimmers rewrote the MSU record books in 500 free, 1000 free, 1650 free, 200 back, 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 fly, 200 IM, 800 free relay and 400 medley relay.

Distance swimmer Dimitra Drakopoulou capped off her MSU career with her first individual gold medal. Her time of 16:46.50 broke her previous school record and her 1000 split (10:05.62) also set a new varsity mark. Drakopoulou held off a surge by Southern Illinois’ Kirsten Groome, who placed second and had won the event the two previous years.

For the second time this meet, Anna Ahlin defended her MVC title and won the 200 back. The sophomore’s time of 1:58.17 is her first-ever NCAA “B” cut and also broke former Bear Jordan Hawkins’ school, MVC and pool record from 2009. Also winning her second medal of the weekend is freshman Megan Holthoff who placed third. Brynne Buell, Brianna Willoughby and Kaylee Steffen finished fifth through seventh, respectively.

The Bears were well represented in the finals of the 100 free with all five swimmers entered in the event. As the top seed heading into this evening, Andrea Uzcategui was MSU’s highest finisher placing fourth. Ali Stauffer finished sixth, while Janke Engelbrecht and Hannah Molden tied for seventh for the second time today.

The breaststroke duo of Renata Sander and Melissa Oishi teamed up for Missouri State’s second 1-2 finish of the meet. Sander’s winning time of 2:15.31 was her second NCAA “B” this weekend and was a new school, MVC and pool record.

In the 200 fly, freshman Roni Balzam was unable to make push at the end and overtake top seed Isabela Castro of Southern Illinois. Finishing second, Balzam bettered her school record by 1.34 seconds. Junior Marta Nogueroles and senior Katie Lindeman racked up fifth- and sixth-place points for the Bears.

Sophomore Paige Koebbe was Missouri State’s representative in the 3-meter diving finals and moved up one position to fifth in the overall rankings. Her score of 240.20 was a career best mark.

The 400 free relay of Ahlin, Uzcategui, Willoughby and Stauffer were just .03 seconds from defeating Illinois State.

In all, Missouri State collected six individual gold medals this weekend, with Ahlin and Sander winning two apiece. The Bears also won three out of the five relays including the 200 free, 200 medley and 400 medley relays.

Missouri State collected the most first-team honors of any team with 11 student-athletes. The Bears also had nine on the All-MVC honorable mention squad.

In addition to All-MVC honors, Sander was named MVC Swimmer of the Year after winning the 100 and 200 breast, and swimming on the first-place 200 and 400 medley relays.

All-MVC First Team
Anna Ahlin
Roni Balzam
Dimitra Drakopoulou
Janke Engelbrecht
Megan Holthoff
Melissa Oishi
Renata Sander
Ali Stauffer
Andrea Uzcategui
Suzanne Van Rensburg
Brianna Willoughby

All-MVC Honorable Mention
Brynne Buell
Lindsey Conway
Paige Koebbe
Katie Lindeman
Hannah Molden
Marta Nogueroles
Laura Peterson
Dawn Richerson
Kaylee Steffen

Final Team Standings
Missouri State – 977
Illinois State – 725
Southern Illinois – 705
Evansville – 440
Northern Iowa – 298



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