WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The University of Arkansas swimming and diving team placed first at the Purdue Invitational with 811.5 points.
In the 1,650 free, The Razorbacks picked up the top-two places when Chelsea Franklin and Jamie Marks finished in 16:11.63 and 16:15.18, respectively. That is Franklin’s career-best time in the event. In her first time racing the mile as a Razorback, Nicole Menzel picked up a time of 16:21.00. Alison Templin also earned a new career-best when she stopped the clock at 16:26.24 for fifth. Franklin, Marks, Menzel and Templin along with Ashley Largo each earned an NCAA ‘B cut time in the mile.
"To come in and compete the way we did is pretty big for us," head coach Jeff Poppell said. "The last day is our best day and we had some great performances. This is the day that we are always kind of looking forward to, but we just always have to be in the hunt going in."
On the platform, Liana Bugslag finished fourth with 225.80 while Alex Roman and Kesha Naylor were just behind her in the next two places. Bugslag’s score gives her an NCAA Zone qualifying mark.
During the prelims, Jillienne Schilling won her heat of the 200 back when she stopped the clock at 2:01.46. Also in the 200 back, Aubrey Hertzler and Julia Kucherich had career-best performances by improving on their fastest time. Katie Whitbeck took third in the 200 fly. Her time of 2:01.50 is the fastest time this season for the Razorbacks.
"The girls came back this morning on a mission and obviously wanting to win. I couldn’t be any prouder of them and overall it’s a great experience to win in a competition against five top-20 programs," Poppell said.
The Razorbacks improved on the season bet time in the 400-free relay as well. Carly Mercer, Sigrun Sverrisdottir, Menzel and Whitbeck swam their way to a time of 3:26.56 for fifth overall.
The Razorbacks finished with 811.5 points. That is more than 100 points ahead of the second-place finisher, No. 20 Louisville. A year ago, Michigan took the Purdue Invitational but finished in fifth this weekend.
UA now heads to BYU and Utah on Dec. 3 and 4, respectively for the last dual meets of the fall.
|1. No. 17 Arkansas – 811.5||2. No. 20 Louisville – 689|
|3. No. 21 Ohio State – 677||4. No. 19 Purdue – 520.5|
|5. No. 13 Michigan – 405||6. Missouri State 182|
|7. Cincinnati – 155||8. Southern Illiois – 125|