Swimmers wrap up action at USA Swimming AT&T Winter Nationals

    Jared Bradd swam the 50- and 100-yard freestyles at the national meet.

    Jared Bradd swam the 50- and 100-yard freestyles at the national meet.

    Dec. 1, 2012

    AUSTIN, Texas - The Southern Illinois swimming team closed its fall season with the final day of the USA Swimming AT&T Winter Nationals on Saturday. Eight Saluki swimmers competed in the three-day meet.

    "This shows that our swimmers belong on the national stage," head coach Rick Walker said. "There's a lot of schools who aren't here. This gives us a lot of confidence and enthusiasm heading into our conference championships."

    Till Pallmann and Jared Bradd got the Salukis started on day three in the 100-yard freestyle preliminaries. Pallmann (45.59) finished 44th and Bradd (46.03) finished 58th in the 67-swimmer event. Calvin Kolar swam the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:05.06. Isabela Castro swam the 200-yard butterfly in 2:03.73 and finished 32nd. Pamela Benitez swam the mile freestyle and finished sixth in her heat with a 16:43.56.

    The three-day national meet included the top programs and swimming clubs in the country. The field included Olympians, such as Ryan Lochte and Matt Grevers. One of the Olympians at the meet was SIU junior Pamela Benitez, who swam the 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 Olympics.

    "I try to take something from every meet I swim," Benitez said. "I've been at some big meets, and now I can add this to the list."

    The Salukis open the spring season at home on Feb. 2 against Evansville.