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Purdue Women’s Swimming: Twelve qualified for finals at Big Ten Championships

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -– The 22nd-ranked Purdue women’s swimming and diving team added another broken record and qualified 12 for finals Saturday during the early session of day four of the Big Ten Championships inside the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Casey Matthews Purdue Diver

Casey Matthews earned the highest qualifying mark in the platform while posting a season-best score during Saturday's first session at the Big Ten Championships. (PurdueSports.com)

Junior Allie Smith took down a program record for the fifth time during these championships when she completed the 200-yard backstroke in 1 minute, 55.72 seconds. The Green Bay, Wis., native bettered her previous record of 1:57.03 set at last year’s Big Ten Championships and qualified for Saturday night’s final with the fifth-fastest time.

Purdue is guaranteed big points in the platform diving competition after placing three athletes in the top eight during the qualifying session. Sophomore Casey Matthews led the way with a season-best score of 339.40 that moved her to second on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event and was the highest of all 20 competitors. Junior Kara Cook earned the third-highest score after posting a season-best tally of 304.50, while classmate Erin Mertz qualified sixth with her score of 255.20.

Three Boilermakers are set to appear in the 100 freestyle Saturday evening. Junior Ariel Martin recorded a season-best time of 49.90 that improves her standing on the list of NCAA provisional qualifiers and in third on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event to nab the 11th qualifying spot. Senior Leah Henninger swam a season-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 50.03 that improves her standing in fourth on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event and qualified 12th. Junior Lisa Butler touched the wall in a season-best time of 50.35 to qualify 17th.

Sophomore Lauren Roth swam the eighth-fastest time in the 200 butterfly and moved to fourth on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event with her NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 1:59.64. Senior Christine Inman also advanced to Saturday evening’s session while improving her stance in fifth on Purdue’s all-time performance list with an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 2:00.58 that ranked 14th.

Sophomore Kristen Gilson missed a scoring spot by less than two-hundredths of a second in the 200 backstroke. The Plano, Texas, native, who finished 14th in the 100 backstroke Friday night, swam a season-best time of 1:58.30 to earn the 17th-fastest time during the morning session.

Freshmen Ellesse Lunde and Seraphina Van earned spots in the ‘C’ final of the 200 breaststroke. Lunde garnered the 18th-fastest qualifying time with her season-best clocking of 2:17.54, while Van qualified 21st with her time of 2:17.72.

Senior Elizabeth Holmes lowered her season-best time in the 200 backstroke by more than five seconds when she touched the wall in 2:07.31. Sophomore Sara Bogert dropped more than one second off her season-best time in just four laps of the pool as she finished the 100 freestyle in 51.84. Freshmen Lauren Nichols and Lauren Gustafson added season-best times in the event by touching the wall in 51.01 and 51.15, respectively.

Classmate Megan Roach lowered her season-best time in the 200 breaststroke by almost exactly four seconds when she touched the wall in 2:19.73. Sophomore Christina Jacobs dropped more than two seconds off her season-best time in the event by finishing in 2:20.68. Classmate Sarah Dunleavy, swimming the event for just the second time this season, recorded a time of 2:21.41, and junior Jessica Davis completed her first 200 breaststroke of the season in 2:22.72. Fellow junior Mary-Margaret Lopez finished the 200 butterfly in 2:11.18.

Purdue has broken 14 program records and three freshman records during the first five sessions of the Big Ten Championships. The team also has recorded 86 season-best marks during the conference championship meet.

Saturday’s evening session, which is the final session of the championships, features finals in all of the preliminary events plus the 400 medley relay. The session is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, but timed finals of the 1,650 freestyle are slated to begin at 4:15 p.m. Live results and live video can be found at purduesports.com.

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