MVC Championship: Day One Preliminaries

    Esther Chen holds the second-best score going into tonight's one-meter dive final.

    Esther Chen holds the second-best score going into tonight's one-meter dive final.

    Feb. 14, 2013

    John Lock

    Complete Results

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois wrapped up preliminaries in the first day of the MVC Championship with five swimmers and four divers advancing to tonight's A Finals. Thirteen Salukis will score in tonight's A or B Finals. Tonight's finals session starts at 6 p.m. in the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium in the SIU Student Rec Center.

    The meet started with five heats of the 500-yard freestyle. Southern sent two swimmers to tonight's A Final and one to the B Final. Helena Amorim (4:58.92) posted the top time for SIU and the fourth-best time overall. Pamela Benitez (4:59.61) also made the A Final. Kirsten Groome (5:02.75) narrowly missed the A Final and will hold the second-fastest time going into tonight's B Final.

    The next swimming event was the 200-yard individual medley. Again, Southern sent two swimmers to the A Final. Hannah Pinion, who is the defending MVC champion in the event, posted the third-fastest time at 2:05.48. Charlotte Davies was right behind her at 2:06.99, which was the sixth-fastest time in the preliminaries.

    The final swimming event of the preliminaries was the 50-yard freestyle, which turned out to be the fastest and most thrilling event from the session. After eight heats, fifteen women swam faster than 24 seconds, and all of those times would have won the event at last year's Championship. Three of those times belonged to Saluki swimmers, with Luisa Silveira (23.57), Holly Johnson (23.83) and Shailey Brumley (23.99) all posting times sub-24 seconds. Rachael Barry (24.12) will join Johnson and Brumley in tonight's B Final, while Silveira will race in the A Final.



    Southern had the best top-to-bottom showing in the one-meter dive preliminaries, placing four divers in the final eight. Illinois State's Wenting Zhang, the defending champion in the event, posted the top score in the preliminary round, but Southern Illinois took the next two spots and four of the next seven spots. Southern was the only school that had more than two divers reach the finals.

    Esther Chen and Sherry Zhang, who are both new to the team this year, posted the second- and third-best scores in the one-meter dive. Brittany Weigel, the 2011 MVC co-Diver of the Year, posted the fitth-best score, and Anna Beeck finished eighth to take the last spot in the A Final.

    Tonight's finals session starts at 6 p.m. The schools will complete in three heats in all of the individual events from today's preliminary session. The meet will be bookended by the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard medley relay. There will be two heats of each relay this year.