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AUSTIN, Texas – Sophomore Lauren Perdue broke her own school record and earned a spot in the final of the 50 freestyle and freshman Rachel Naurath set a school mark in the 500 freestyle as the 2011 Women’s NCAA Championships began Thursday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Preliminaries were held in the 200 freestyle relay, 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, 400 medley relay and 1-meter diving.

Perdue broke her own school record in the 50 freestyle, earning a spot into the finals with a time of 22.01. That time was the fifth-fastest of the morning and bested her previous school record time of 22.16.

“I feel good we had Lauren’s relay leg to look at,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said of the 200 freestyle relay, the first event of the day. “We made some adjustments with respect to breathing and it resulted in a lifetime best. She is within an eyelash as it will be a very exciting night.”

Senior Katya Bachrouche topped her school record she set at ACCs (4:39.09) with a time of 4:38.56 in the seventh of eight heats in the 500 freestyle. Then in the final heat, freshman Rachel Naurath topped that time, touching in 4:38.48, which proved to be just .01 short of making the finals. Naurath placed ninth and Bachrouche 10th in the morning session; both will compete tonight in the consolation final.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled for Katya and Rachel,” Bernardino said. “Those are the two fastest times in the history of our program – just two outstanding swims for each of those young ladies.”

Virginia’s 200 freestyle relay team commenced the meet with a spot in the consolation final, finishing 12th in 1:29.41. Swimming for the Cavaliers was Perdue, Hannah Davis, Kelly Flynn and Emily Lloyd.

“Most of the morning was really positive,” Bernardino said. “We knew the 200 free relay would be a race that came down to tenths of a second and we were tenths of a second out of the final. But we have a chance to move up and do some good things.”

Senior Claire Crippen was one spot away from honorable mention All-America honors with a 17th-place showing in the 200 IM. She touched in 1:58.53.

Virginia’s 400 medley relay team of Meredith Cavalier, Flynn, Liz Shaw and Perdue finished 18th overall with a time of 3:37.79. Only Perdue returned from that relay a year ago which earned All-American status with its fifth-place finish.

“We ended on a bit of a disappointing note,” Bernardino said. “We would have like to have seen that last relay sneak in; we knew it was a long shot. We have lots of swim for this evening so we have to go out there tonight and be the best we can be.”

Senior Anne Summer Myers was 33rd overall in the 500 freestyle with a mark of 4:44.72.

Seniors Kristen Moores (23.00) and Davis (23.01) placed 51st and 52nd, respectively, in the 50 freestyle. Lloyd was 60th overall in 23.26.

Finals begin at 7 p.m. CDT time (8 p.m. Eastern) tonight from Austin.

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