Prelims: Day Three at Women's NCAAs
AUSTIN, Texas – Sophomores Meredith Cavalier and Lauren Perdue, along with the 400 freestyle relay team, will compete tonight in the consolation finals at the 2011 Women’s NCAA Championships, which continued Saturday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Preliminaries were held in the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly, platform diving and the 400 freestyle relay.
“The main goal was to come in here today and see if we could improve our opportunities as a team and move up,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “There were mixed results this morning but we have a decent opportunity to maybe move up a spot if we can perform well this evening.”
Cavalier will appear in her first career final on Saturday night, making it back in the consolation of the 200 backstroke. She clocked a time of 1:54.76 to finish 14th overall in the morning session.
“Just an phenomenal start to the day with Meredith Cavalier coming in as an unseeded athlete and will be able to score points in the backstroke for us,” Bernardino continued.
Perdue will return for the third consecutive night in an individual event after earning a berth in the consolation final of the 100 freestyle. She touched in 48.35 for the 10th-fastest time of the morning.
“I don’t know what it was – I don’t know why the next day can’t bring greatness,” Bernardino said of Perdue’s second place finish Friday in the 200 freestyle. “I am disappointed because I feel she should have been in the final, but she has the ability come out with a strong race tonight and win that heat.”
In the final event of the preliminaries, the 400 freestyle relay team just missed All-America honors, and instead will swim in the consolation final. Perdue, Kristen Moores, Hannah Davis and freshman Emily Lloyd touched in 3:16.19 for a ninth-place finish. Tennessee grabbed the last spot with a time of 3:15.91.
“We missed by two tenths but I guess we’ll find out how they handle adversity tonight,” Bernardino said. “It’s part of what we’ve gone through with this group. They’ve had to step up and be better than they have been before. I’d like to think they will come back and do something special tonight.”
Three Cavaliers – seniors Claire Crippen and Liz Shaw and freshman Rachel Naurath – competed in the preliminaries of the 200 butterfly. Shaw led the way with a 22nd-place finish in 1:57.60, followed by Naurath (28th, 1:57.95) and Crippen (39th, 1:59.58).
“Liz and Rachel were in perfect position at the 100 and 50 marks and they just came unglued in their final 50. That is highly unusual – they are great finishers.”
Additionally, junior Kelly Flynn placed 32nd overall in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:12.67.
Seniors Katya Bachrouche and Anne Summer Myers, along with Naurath, are scheduled to swim the 1650 freestyle this afternoon. The first of five heats is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. (5:30 EDT).
Finals begin at 7 p.m. CDT time (8 p.m. EDT) tonight from Austin and will be webcast on www.espn3.com.