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Women’s Swimming: Purdue breaks 4 records, advances 8 to finals at Big Ten Championships

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The 22nd-ranked Purdue women’s swimming and diving team broke four school records and advanced eight to the finals Thursday during session two of the Big Ten Championships inside the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Kristen Gilson

Kristen Gilson lowered her season-best time by more than 16 seconds in the 500 freestyle during Thursday's first session.

Purdue’s 500-yard freestyle record fell twice in a 10-minute span during the first race of the morning. Sophomore Lauren Roth, swimming in heat seven, touched the wall in 4 minutes, 46.73 seconds to break Erica Chandler’s record of 4:47.09 set in 2005 and qualify ninth. Freshman Caitlin Hamilton then took the pool in the next heat and swam 4:44.27 to best Roth’s record and record the fourth-fastest qualifying time. Both swimmers bettered their standing on the list of NCAA provisional qualifiers in the event.

Junior Allie Smith continued Purdue’s penchant for making records fall as the meet moved to the 200 IM. The Green Bay, Wis., native, who swam on Wednesday night’s school-record 200 medley relay, swam a school-record time of 1:59.25 and advanced to Thursday night’s final with the fourth-fastest qualifying time. The swim broke her record of 1:59.94 set at last year’s Big Ten Championships.

Fellow junior Ariel Martin put her name on a school record for the fourth time this meet when she touched the wall in 22.57 and earned the third-fastest qualifying time in the 50 freestyle. The Jeffersonville, Ind., native, who swam on the record-breaking 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays and broke the program’s 200 freestyle record Wednesday night, bettered her previous record of 22.72 set at last year’s Big Ten Championships.

Classmate Lisa Butler also qualified for Thursday night’s 50 freestyle action. The Holland, Mich., native moved to fifth on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event while earning the 12th-fastest time of the morning session by finishing in 23.01.

Sophomore Amy Gutwein logged an NCAA provisional-qualifying time and nabbed the final qualifying spot in the 500 freestyle as she lowered her season-best time by almost 10 seconds with her 4:52.11 clocking. Freshman Seraphina Van also advanced to Thursday’s evening session in her first conference championships competition. The Cypress, Texas, native grabbed the final qualifying spot in the 200 IM with her season-best time of 2:04.26.

Purdue also advanced two to the 1-meter springboard final. Junior Erin Mertz moved to fifth on Purdue’s all-time performance list in the event while posting the third-highest score when she put 309.90 points on the board. Sophomore Casey Matthews advanced when she placed fourth in the preliminary competition with her season-best score of 302.90.

Sophomore Kristen Gilson dropped a huge season-best time as the first Boilermaker in the pool. The Plano, Texas, native won her heat of the 500 freestyle in 4:52.90 seconds to finish 28th among all competitors. In her only other 500 freestyle this season, Gilson touched the wall in 5:09.69. Junior Jessica Skiba and freshman Courtney Tumbush also logged season-best times in the 500 freestyle. Skiba touched the wall in 4:55.58 to drop her season-best time by more than five seconds, while Tumbush logged a 4:55.98 time to better her previous season best by almost nine seconds.

The Boilermakers recorded six more season-best times in the 200 IM. Sophomore Sarah Dunleavy lowered her previous season-best clocking by more than five seconds when she touched the wall in 2:04.45 with the 28th-fastest time. Senior Christine Inman clocked 2:04.91, while sophomore Christina Jacobs bettered her previous season best by more than six seconds with her 2:06.85 time.

Freshman Ellesse Lunde finished in 2:08.86 to record an improvement of more than five seconds. She was followed by classmate Megan Roach, who showed a better than five second improvement in 2:09.42, and junior Mary-Margaret Lopez, who finished in 2:09.49.

Junior Katie Beck logged another season-best time in the 50 freestyle when she finished in 23.49, and freshman Lauren Gustafson tied her season-best clocking of 23.50. Sophomore Sara Bogert eclipsed the 24-second barrier for the first time this season when she touched the wall in 23.55 and was followed by freshman Lauren Nichols in 23.58.

Senior Leah Henninger, the anchor on Purdue’s 800 freestyle relay Wednesday night, earned a season-best time of 23.65 in the quickest race on the schedule. Jessica Davis, a junior who swam the second leg on Purdue’s 200 medley relay Wednesday night, clocked a season-best time of 23.95. Freshman Emily McIlrath clocked a season-best time of 24.01 in the event and was followed by senior Elizabeth Holmes in her season-best time of 24.45.

Senior Ashley Karnes finished 19th in the 1-meter by scoring 243.45 points. Junior Kara Cook logged a 29th-place finish with her score of 222.05.

After the first two sessions, Purdue has broken seven records in six different events. The Boilermakers have recorded 28 season-best marks after just four preliminary events and two finals.

Thursday’s evening session, which features finals in all of the preliminary events plus the 200 freestyle relay, begins at 6:30 p.m. ET. Live results and live video can be found at purduesports.com.

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