Chekanovych wins 100 yard breast; Drury leads heading into final day
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- For the first time in NCAA history, a national title will head north of the border.
In the women’s swimming and diving competition Friday night at the CrossPlex Natatorium, Simon Fraser’s Mariya Chekanovych won the 100 yard breast stroke in record-setting time for the Canadian institution, which is in its first year with active member status. Her time of 1:01.50 broke the previous record of 1:01.58 set by Wayne State (Mich.)'s Kayla Scott a season ago. Scott was the runner-up this year in a time of 1:01.85, while Florida Southern’s Kelsey Gouge was third in 1:03.84.
"There's something about [Chekanovych's] consistency,” Simon Fraser head coach Liam Donnelly said. “She has been at her best this season when we are in high pressure situations, like in our dual against UCLA. I'm pleased that she put forth her strongest effort when it counted most and to set an NCAA record as a freshman is a nice accomplishment."
In the 100 yard backstroke, Bente Heller of Alaska Fairbanks won the race in 54.26 seconds, defeating defending champion Julie Widmann of Ashland in the process. Widmann finished in 55.42 seconds, narrowly edging Wayne State’s Sarah Maraskine, who was third in 55.48 seconds.
Nova Southeastern’s Erin Black defended her title in the 500-yard freestyle as she touched the wall first in a time of 4:50.29. For a consecutive year, UC San Diego’s Anjali Shakya finished as the runner-up to Black with a time of 4:51.89, while Drury’s Sarah Pullen placed third in 4:51.98.
In the 200 yard butterfly, LIU Post’s Joyce Kwok won her second first-place trophy of the week as she finished in 2:00.28, beating out Southern Connecticut’s Amanda Scott, who finished in 2:00.74. Naomi Thomas of UC San Diego was third in 2:01.31.
In the 800 yard freestyle relay, Tampa’s quartet of Kristine Kassl, Alexandria Greenhill, Alexandra Hippolito and Heather Glenday put together a strong performance, winning in a time of 7:24.70, more than two seconds ahead of its nearest competitor. Wayne State placed second in 7:26.87, while UC San Diego was third in 7:27.37.
Meanwhile in the team race, Drury holds a narrow lead as it enter the final day of competition just 19.5 points ahead of Wayne State. The Panthers have 295.5 points, while the Warriors are within striking distance with 276. UC San Diego is in third place with 255.5 points, Wingate is in fourth with 199.5 and LIU Post rounds out the top five with 164.