Hannah Pinion won two MVC titles, setting the conference and school record in the 200 IM in the process.
Feb. 18, 2012
By John Lock
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois women's swimming and diving team finished third at the MVC Championship for the third consecutive year. Two Saluki swimmers set MVC Championship records at the meet, Hannah Pinion in the 200 individual medley and Isabela Castro in the 200 butterfly. Pinion also won the 400 IM.
Nine Saluki swimmers earned first-team All-Conference honors, two more than last year, and four earned second-team honors.
The night started with the mile. Kirsten Groome, the two-time defending conference champion in the event, rallied from a five-second deficit with 100 yards to go but fell just short of winning for a third straight year. Jennifer Kwok finished the event with the ninth-best time.
Isabela Castro and Hannah Pinion gave SIU two of the top four finishers in the 200-yard backstroke. Marcella Otto won the B Final in the event. In the 100 freestyle, Pamela Benitez finished third. In the 200 breaststroke, Kristin Geppert finished third and Melissa Larocquefinished fifth.
Isabela Castro defended her title in the 200 butterfly and set a Championship record in the event. Castro's time made her the second-fastest individual in the history of the school in the event. Castro broke the record in the prelims, but needed to beat it again to win the final. Missouri State's Roni Balzam broke Castro's record, but Castro took an additional second off her time to win the event.
In diving, Anna Beeck posted a score that would have broken the Championship record, but MVC Diver of the Year Wenting Zhang (Illinois State) posted an even higher score. The 400 freestyle relay team ended the night by finishing third.
First-team All-Conference awards were given out to all individuals who finished in the top three of an individual race or who were part of a first-place relay team. Second-team All-Conference honorees placed fourth through eighth in an individual event or were a part of a second-place relay.
Missouri State won the MVC for the fifth consecutive year, tying Southern's record for consecutive championships. Missouri State's Renata Sander. Evansville's Rickey Perkins was named the MVC Swimming Coach of the Year. Illinois State earned honors for MVC Diving Coach of the Year, Phil Hoffman; MVC Diver of the Year, Wenting Zhang; and the Elite 18 award, Danielle Schumacher.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS ALL-CONFERENCE HONOREES
Swimming Coach of the Year - Rickey Perkins, Evansville
Diving Coach of the Year - Phil Hoffmann, Illinois State
Swimmer of the Year - Renata Sander, Missouri State
Diver of the Year - Wenting Zhang, Illinois State
Elite 18 Award - Danielle Schumacher, Illinois State