MVC Championships: Day Two Prelims

    Kaixuan Zhang breaks her own school record, while setting the pool and MVC Championship record in the 3-meter dive during Friday's prelims.

    Kaixuan Zhang breaks her own school record, while setting the pool and MVC Championship record in the 3-meter dive during Friday's prelims.

    Feb. 14, 2014

    Tim McCaughan

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois women's swimming and diving team wrapped up the second day of preliminaries at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. For this evening's finals session, Southern will have six swimmers going in the A Finals, and all three divers qualified for tomorrow's A Final in the three-meter dive.

    The session started with the 400-yard individual medley. After four heats, Hannah Pinion (4:28.15) posted the fifth-fastest time in the event. Pinion, the 2011-12 MVC Champion in the event, was the only Saluki to compete in the the event.

    The next event was the 100-yard butterfly. Sixteen swimmers swam under then 59 seconds. Isabela Castro (57.18) and Rachael Barry (58.10) posted the 10th and 12th best times, respectively, but no one could compete with Illinois State's Lexi Nash, who swam a 56.20 in the final preliminary heat. Castro narrowly missed the A Final by .06 and will hold the second seed heading into tonight's B Final. Lauren Stockton and Barry will join Castro in the B Final while Carly Schlupp and Kristina Ksarjian will compete in the C Final.

    Pamela Benitez, who finished second in the 500-yard freestyle last night, will be the second seed in the 200-yard freestyle heading into tonight's final. Benitez (1:52.09) will be joined by Helena Amorim (1:53.89) in the A Final. Ella Otto (1:54.50) will swim in the B Final and Morgan Timms (1:58.79) will be the second seed in the C Final.

    The final two swimming events were the 100-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard backstroke. In the 100 breast, Southern will have Holly Johnson (1:04.65) swimming in the A Final this evening. The two-time defending champion of the event, Renata Sander of Missouri State broke her own record in the event by swimming a 1:01.45 in the preliminary and securing the top-seed. Saluki freshman Riley Schroedter will compete in the B Final while Luisa Silveira and Ksarjian will swim in the C Final.

    In the 100-yard backstroke, Ella Otto (56.32) took third place. Sarah James (56.96) took the sixth spot in the A Final, and three Salukis will swim in the B Final. Katy Ovington (57.46), Kristy Hinkle (58.56) and Timms (58.94) will all score in the B Final for the Salukis.

    In the three-meter diving preliminaries, all three Salukis made the A Final. Kaixuan Zhang (401.00) dominated the event by 40 points. Zhang broke the school which she set in Nov., along with the pool and MVC Championship records.

    Teammate Esther Chen (317.15) finished third, while Brittany Weigel (287.40) finished fourth. Defending champion Wengting Zhang finished the contest in second place with a score of 360.55. While all the other preliminaries will be concluded with the finals tonight, the final for the three-meter dive will be Saturday night at 6 p.m. The consolation final for diving takes place tonight, instead.

    Today's finals session starts at 6 p.m. and will include seven swimming events and the three-meter dive consolation final.