Feb. 20, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, MD – Michelle Parkhurst and the women’s swimming and diving team completed the third day at the ACC Championship Meet at Eppley Recreation Center Natatorium. Parkhurst successfully defended her ACC title in the 200 freestyle and reclaimed her school record in the 100 back, from freshman Kelli Kyle. The Tigers are sixth after three days, having amassed 222 points so far.
Parkhurst trailed North Carolina’s Eliza Butts by one-hundredth of s second after the first 100 yards of the 200 freestyle. Butts, however, ran out of gas down the stretch, as Parkhurst pulled away in the second half of the race to win by almost two full seconds. She claimed the 200 free ACC title for the second consecutive year, her sixth career ACC title, fourth individually.
The win was notable because it marks one of only swimming title so far not won by the Virginia Cavaliers, who have a sizable lead entering the final day. In the event, senior Cassy LaRussa moved up a spot on Clemson’s all-time top ten with a 1:49.35 in the event, which placed her 19th overall.
Kyle, a freshman from Lithia, FL has had a breakout meet so far in College Park, placing sixth overall in the 100 back with a 54.01 after tying Parkhurst’s school record of 53.58 in the preliminary round, which put her in the finals as the third seed. She also entered Clemson’s all-time top ten in the 100 fly during prelims at sixth all-time.
Kyle’s stop atop the Clemson record books in the 100 back was short-lived, however, as Parkhurst reclaimed the school record in her win of the consolation finals. She posted a 53.43 in the race, in which she was the defending ACC champion. However, her time in the prelims was good for 11th, placing her in the consolation finals heat.
Another freshman, Cara Lennon, had a terrific day as well, as she picked up points in the 100 back as well, placing 15th overall. Her times in the morning (54.97) and evening (55.03) were extremely consistent and the former was the third best time in Clemson history. The two dynamic freshmen, as well as Parkhurst, will compete on Saturday in the 200 backstroke, in which Parkhurst is the defending ACC Champion and Kyle and Lennon rank in the top seven in Clemson history.
Katrina Obas, a junior from Ottawa, Canada, posted a career-best time in the 100 breast, a 1:02.25, as she placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke. She again improved her standing as the second-fastest breaststroker in Clemson history, dropping her previous best by nearly half a second, and picking up valuable points in the event.
In the first event of the day, the 400 IM, the Tigers had two swimmers in scoring position, and each performed at a higher level than they had in the morning. Sophomore Elizabeth Savage placed 12th, dropping her time by more than three seconds from prelims to finals. Junior Mandy Snell placed 15th for the Tigers, as she shaved off time from her previous personal best in the consolation finals.
Carmen Groenewoud and freshman Kerry McLaughlin placed 20th and 23rd, respectively, as they completed their bonus consolation race. Groenewoud also competed in the consolation finals of the 100 breast, placing 23rd overall with a season-best 1:05.59.
Meggie Mizelle was the Tigers’ lone competitor in the 100 butterfly, as she finished 22nd overall. Earlier in the day, she moved into third in Clemson history with a 55.39 in prelims. Mizelle will compete tomorrow in arguably her strongest event, the 200 butterfly.
The Tigers took down another school record in the last event of the night, the 400 medley relay. The group of Parkhurst, Obas, Mizelle, and Rachel Regone swam a 3:41.25, which broke an eight-year-old school record. The group placed seventh overall in the event. So far, the Tigers have set school records in all four relay events, and will shoot for a fifth in tomorrow’s 400 free relay.
Two freshmen competed for the Tigers in the three-meter diving event, as Cassie Self finished 19th and Brooke George took 26th overall in the event. Saturday is the final day of competition for the women’s ACC Championships.
The Tigers will compete in the 200 backstroke, where three Tigers are seeded in the top 16 coming into the event, and Parkhurst is the defending ACC champion in the event. Following the 200 back is the 100 free, where Rachel Regone will try to pick up her third medal of the meet, having already grabbed silver in the 50 free and 200 free relay.
The Tigers will then take part in the 200 butterfly and 200 breaststroke, as well as the platform diving events, before taking on the field in the 400 free relay.
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