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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Both relays earned spots in the finals as the Virginia women’s swimming team began competition Thursday at the 2010 NCAA Championships. Preliminaries were held in the 200 freestyle relay, 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle and 400 medley relay. The meet, which runs through Saturday, is being held at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center on the campus of Purdue University.

In addition to the two relays making the finals, freshman Lauren Perdue earned a spot in the finals of the 50 free.

Live coverage of the 2010 Women’s NCAA Championships can be found by clicking here. Finals begin at 7 p.m. this evening.

“What a great way to start day one,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “We really hoped we could get both these relays into the finals. Both got in and we topped it off with a first-year athlete making into the finals, a huge performance and a wonderful swim by her.”

In the very first event, the 200 freestyle relay, Virginia was able to swim its way into the finals. The team of Mei Christensen, Lauren Perdue, Kelly Flynn and Hannah Davis finished in 1:29.23, besting its winning time from the ACC championships by .02 seconds.

Perdue, a freshman from Greenville, N.C., then became UVa’s first individual swimmer to earn a spot in the finals after she tied for fourth in the 50 free. Perdue broke her own school record with a time of 22.26; she set the record at the conference championships with a winning finish in 22.29.

The 400 medley relay team of Christensen, Katherine McDonnell, Lauren Smart and Perdue then capped the morning session earning a spot in the finals. The Cavalier quartet finished in 3:33.45 to place seventh overall.

“We have to stay clean on our exchanges tonight,” Bernardino said. “It was a solid morning. Hannah Davis broke 22 (seconds) for the first time ever on her relay split and that was gigantic to help that relay get in. We have a good start and now we have to maintain our focus and see if we can keep pushing forward.”

Junior Katya Bachrouche, competing in her first NCAA Championships, led the Cavaliers with a 20th-place finish in the 500 freestyle. She touched in 4:42.88 while teammates Jenna Harris (4:44.85) and Jen Narum (4:45.09) placed 33rd and 34th, respectively. Anne Summer Myers touched in 4:47.76 to finish 47th overall.

Junior Amanda Faulkner, who won the ACC crown in the 200 IM, paced a trio of Virginia swimmers in the event with a 21st-place performance (1:58.92). Classmates Liz Shaw (1:59.30) and Claire Crippen (1:59.67) were 24th and 27th, respectively.

Hannah Davis (23.01) was 43rd in the 50 free and Kelly Flynn (23.04) finished 46th.

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