Big Ten Championships: Record-breaking swims and diving drama rule Day Two

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 17, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa women's swimming and diving team was able to move up from eighth place overall to seventh, thanks in large part to the efforts of Becky Stoughton and Veronica Rydze. Stoughton took third place in the 500-yard freestyle — resetting a school record in the process with her time of 1:40.82 minutes, which after she had already broken her own record in the preliminaries. Rydze took fifth in the 1-meter springboard competition with a score of 319.35.

The diving competition was a dramatic affair from start to finish, starting with the preliminary round. Redshirt freshman Joelle Christy was tied for 16th place — the last spot in the finals. She got a second chance to compete in the consolation finals, and beat Northwestern's Mary Campbell in the consolation.


Day Two of the Big Ten Championships featured suspense and speed, but also mixed results for the home team.

The championship round Thursday night was a veritable slugfest of dives. Six divers finished with over 300 points; Iowa diving coach Bob Rydze said that's the kind of score an athlete would happily take and not think twice about on most nights. But each dive was absolutely critical, he said.

"This conference is hard," he said. "You've got to be at the top of your game all the time — you just can't miss a dive. [Veronica Rydze, his daughter] tonight missed a gainer-and-a-half pike, and got about 42 points instead of 55 points. All of the sudden, it's a different ballgame. You can't miss."

But Veronica Rydze did miss — and so did Indiana's Gabrielle Agostino, who fell from first place through four dives to a fourth-place finish.

Multiple swimming records were broken throughout the day. Wisconsin's Beckie Thompson set a Big Ten Conference record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.04 seconds to defend her title for the third consecutive year. Indiana's Alyssa Vavra set a conference record in the 200-yard individual medley, and her time of 1:55.44 minutes was also good for an NCAA "A" — or automatic — qualifying time.

Iowa set a school record in the 200-freestyle relay with a time of 1:31.68 minutes, but the quartet of Danielle Carty, Heather Arseth, Daniela Cubelic, and Emily Hovren were only able to muster a seventh-place finish in the event. Carty also posted a career-best time in the opening leg of the race, and Hovren swam a personal-best in the 200-yard medley.

Competition will resume today at 11:00 a.m. with preliminaries for the 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke, as well as the 3-meter springboard. Finals for the 400-yard medley relay will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

— by Tork Mason

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