Ohio Leaps to Top of Women's Swimming and Diving Championships

Updated 2/25/2011
Recap Courtesy of MAC Media Relations Departments

ATHENS, Ohio --
Bobcat fans throughout the Aquatic Center brought the noise Thursday night as the Ohio swimming and diving team captured the lead in the third session of the Mid-American Championships, finishing the round with 271 points overall. Highlighting the memorable night for the 'Cats was Lauren Funk, Lindsay Hamilton, and the 200 Freestyle Relay squad of Katey Brooks, Rachel Heim, Annie Donovan, and Funk, as they all took home first-place medals in their respective events.

Starting the day in last place due to an unfortunate disqualification on day one, Toledo needed an impressive effort on Thursday to keep the competition close, and that's exactly what they delivered.

In the day's first event, the 500 Free, defending champion Jacy Dyer reclaimed her title with a first-place time of 4:44.51. The time broke a pool record and was just 2.8 seconds off her current MAC record. But that wasn't the end of the scoring for the Rockets in the 500.

Three other Toledo swimmers finished in the top five to give UT a massive 66 point bump after just the first event. Finishing behind Dyer was fellow captain Laura Heckroth in second (4:46.36), followed by junior Claire Leichty in fourth (4:48.55) and freshman Rachel Johnson in fifth (4:49.79). All four Rocket times eclipsed the NCAA "B" standard and immediately jettisoned the Rockets into second place, just two points behind host Ohio.

The next event, the 200 IM, also featured a successful Rocket title defense. Sophomore Carly Harter - who won the event last season in her first trip to the conference championships - surged to a repeat with a first-place time of 2:00.50. The time clipped another NCAA "B" cut and was just over a second off the MAC record time set by former Rocket Meghan Reissig in 2009 (1:59.49).

Ohio saw a spectacular effort from Rachel Stearns in the event as she fought her way to a second-place finish with both a pool and personal record time of 2:01.59, also qualifying her for the NCAA "B" time. Amanda Cecere and Anastasia Bocharnikova grabbed 23 more points for Ohio as they finished fifth and ninth with times of 2:03.85 and 2:02.70, respectively.

Lauren Funk took home her first-place medal in the 50 Free with both a pool and personal-best time of 22.79, qualifying her for the NCAA "B" time. Donovan and Brooks finished third and sixth in the event with pool record times of 22.82 and 23.16, giving Ohio the momentum halfway through the session.

The "Lindsay Hamilton Show" was on full display in the 1-Meter Diving, as the Ohio senior took first with an overall score of 300.10, qualifying her for the NCAA "B" score. She also broke her previous personal-best score of 299.10 that was set at last year's Championships.

The excitement reached its maximum in the 200 Freestyle Relay, as Brooks, Heim, Donovan, and Funk stole the show with a first-place finish and a time of 1:30.30, setting both a meet and pool record to give Ohio firm possession of first place in the standings.

Teams return to competition tomorrow as the preliminary heats for the 400 IM, 100 Fly, 200 Free, 100 Breast, 100 Back, and 3-Meter Diving begin at 11 a.m. Finals action kicks off at 7 p.m.

Standings after Session 3
1. Ohio - 271
2. Toledo - 195
3. Miami - 175
4. Eastern Michigan - 160
5. Akron - 146.5
6. Buffalo - 143.5
7. Bowling Green - 131.5
8. Ball State - 83.5

For complete Day Two results, click HERE.