Cavaliers Start Strong on Day One of UVa Invite
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Freshman Lauren Perdue tied the Aquatic and Fitness Center pool record in the 50 free Thursday on day one of the 2009 UVa Invitational. The Cavalier men’s and women’s team are competing along with American, Washington and Lee, West Chester and the Kansas women in the three-day event.
Perdue clocked a time of 22.51, an NCAA ‘B’ mark, in the 50 free to lead a trio of Cavaliers in the event. Her time matched that of Auburn’s Eileen Coparropa, who set the record in 2003. Senior Mei Christensen (23.13) placed second and junior Kristen Moores (23.17) was third.
“It was a really good night,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “Our athletes are wise and experienced, so in the morning they swam times that qualified them. This evening they were a lot more energetic and all-in-all, it was a positive night and a good start to this meet.”
The Cavalier women also went 1-2-3 in the 500 free and 200 IM. Senior Jen Narum (4:46.05) led the way in the 500 free with teammates Katya Bachrouche (4:46.92) and Jenna Harris (4:52.08) taking second and third, respectively. All three times were NCAA ‘B’ qualifying standards.
“It’s really important to keep our energy up and stay excited for every race,” Narum said. “We were able to come into finals with more energy than we did this morning. That really helped everyone get up and race faster. I am proud of the distance corps; all the way down, everyone had really good swims.”
Senior Katherine McDonnell (2:00.96, ‘B’), junior Liz Shaw (2:01.05, ‘B’) and freshman Christine Olson (2:02.98) led the Cavaliers in the 200 IM.
Junior Scot Robison paced the Cavalier men in the 50 free. Robison clocked a winning time of 20.23, followed by sophomore Peter Geissinger (20.86) and sophomore Danny Wall (21.00).
“We started off really well,” Robison said. “My goal was to get people fired up and get things going. In the 50 free I wanted to go under the ‘B’ cut and I was happy with that.”
The men also went 1-2-3 in 500 free, led by junior Matt McLean (4:26.33, B). Classmates John Snawerdt (4:26.65, B) and Taylor Smith (4:29.14) were second and third, respectively.
Senior John Azar claimed the 200 IM (1:49.81) for the Virginia men.
Both the men’s and women’s 200 freestyle relay teams earned NCAA ‘B’ cuts with their first-place finishes to open the meet. Perdue, Christensen, Kelly Flynn and Davis finished in 1:31.60 while Robison, Geissinger, Zach Kohl and Eric Olesen clocked a time of 1:21.37.
The final event of the day, the 400 medley relay, was also a strong one for Virginia. The women’s team of Lauren Smart, Olson, Shaw and Flynn finished in 3:41.58 to edge out their teammates. Christensen, McDonnell, Davis and Perdue placed second with a time of 3:41.64. Both were NCAA ‘B’ qualifying standards.
Likewise, the men went 1-2 in the 400 medley relay, lead by Olsen, Azar, Geissinger, and McLean, who finished in 3:19.58. Teammates David Wren, Simon Norstedt, Dan McMahon and Robison were second in 3:21.40.
“Hopefully we can carry the momentum with us when we leave here tonight,” Bernardino said. “The big lesson of the middle day is that we just need to be solid and strong in the morning and come back at night and perform at high levels again.”
The women totaled 470 points on day one, followed by Kansas (213), West Chester (140), Washington and Lee (82) and American (61). The Cavalier men also lead with 435 points, in front of West Chester (207), Washington and Lee (170) and American (81).
Day two of the UVa Invitational continues Friday with the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 breast, 200 back and 800 free relay. Prelims begin at 11 a.m. and finals begin at 6 p.m. from the Aquatic and Fitness Center.