WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -– The 22nd-ranked Purdue women’s swimming and diving team broke two records while advancing 11 athletes into scoring positions during Friday’s early session of the Big Ten Championships inside the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Junior Allie Smith broke a school record for the fourth time this meet by finishing the 100-yard backstroke in 53.62 seconds. The Green Bay, Wis., native, who twice took down the program mark in the 200 IM Thursday and swam on the school-record 200 medley relay Wednesday, bettered the previous record of 53.84 she set at last year’s Big Ten Championships. Her time betters her NCAA provisional-qualifying mark this season and puts her in the fifth seed for Friday night’s final.
Emily McIlrath took down Purdue’s freshman record in the 100 breaststroke when she touched the wall in 1:02.62. Her time erases the program’s second-oldest freshman record by taking down Lindsay Lange’s time of 1:02.69 set in 2000. McIlrath, who bettered the NCAA provisional-qualifying standard, moves to third on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event and qualified 12th for Friday night’s final. She also posted a season-best time of 56.02 in the 100 butterfly.
Sophomore Jessica Davis moved to second on Purdue’s all-time performance list and earned an NCAA provisional-qualifying time while placing fifth in the 100 breaststroke preliminary swim. The Tempe, Ariz., native touched the wall in 1:01.26 to lower her season-best time by more than two seconds. Senior Christina Jacobs also qualified to swim the event in Friday’s final with her season-best time of 1:03.38.
The Boilermakers advanced four to the 200-yard freestyle final, led by school-record holder Ariel Martin. Martin, who broke the record with her 1:46.15 leadoff leg during the 800 freestyle relay Wednesday night, qualified with the fifth-fastest time as she touched the wall in 1:46.63. Sophomore Lauren Roth was next to finish with her season-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 1:47.44 that places her second on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event.
Junior Lisa Butler earned the 10th-fastest time in the preliminary swim as she finished in 1:47.85. Her time, which is a season-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying mark, moves her to fourth on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event. Senior Leah Henninger also nabbed a spot in Friday evening’s swim when she finished the race in a season-best time of 1:49.37 to qualify 23rd.
For the second straight day, the Boilermakers advanced multiple divers to the final as Purdue took three of the top 16 places from the 3-meter preliminary round. Sophomore Casey Matthews posted a score of 355.10 to record the second-highest score of the session. Junior Erin Mertz qualified in the fifth position with her 311.30 score, and classmate Kara Cook posted a score of 289.70 to place 11th.
Junior Katie Beck qualified 16th in the 100 backstroke while lowering her season-best time and earning an NCAA provisional-qualifying mark when she touched the wall in 55.45. The Brecksville, Ohio, native also put up the 20th-fastest time, a season-best 55.68, in the 100 butterfly but will not swim that event in the evening session. Sophomore Kristen Gilson advanced to the 400 IM final with her season-best time of 4:21.02 that placed 16th.
Purdue is sending three athletes into competition in the 100 butterfly Friday evening. Freshman Seraphina Van qualified 22nd with her season-best time of 55.83 and was followed by junior Mary-Margaret Lopez in a season-best time of 55.86. Senior Christine Inman grabbed the final qualifying spot with her season-best, 55.87 clocking.
Freshman Courtney Tumbush lowered her season-best time by almost seven seconds in the 400 IM when she touched the wall in 4:25.73. Sophomore Sarah Dunleavy dropped nine seconds off of her previous season-best clocking in the event with her time of 4:27.57. Senior Elizabeth Holmes recorded a season-best time by more than three seconds when she finished the 100 backstroke in 58.69. Sophomore Sara Bogert also earned a season-best time in that race as she finished in 1:00.28.
Freshman Caitlin Hamilton swam to a season-best time of 1:49.74 in the 200 freestyle one day after breaking the program record in the 500 freestyle twice. Sophomore Amy Gutwein lowered her season-best time in the event when she touched the wall in 1:51.29, as did junior Jessica Skiba with her 1:51.65 time. Freshman Lauren Gustafson knocked two seconds off of her previous season-best time in the event when she finished in 1:52.11.
Freshman Ellesse Lunde just missed advancing in the 100 breaststroke. The Scituate, Mass., native touched the wall in a season-best time of 1:04.06 and was one finishing position away from swimming in the evening session. Classmate Megan Roach lowered her season-best time in the event with a 1:05.40 swim. Fellow freshman Lauren Nichols, swimming the 100 butterfly for just the third time this season, touched the wall in 59.40.
Purdue has broken 12 program records and two freshman records during the first four sessions of the Big Ten Championships. The team also has recorded 59 season-best marks during the conference championship meet.
Friday’s evening session, which features finals in all of the preliminary events plus the 400 medley relay, begins at 6:30 p.m. ET. Live results and live video can be found at purduesports.com.