Feb. 24, 2006
AKRON, Ohio - The Ohio women's swimming and diving team won the 800-yard freestyle relay for the 19th time in the last 20 years in leading the Bobcats in the second day of the Mid-American Conference Championships.
The lineup of Sigal Simsolo (Kibbutz Yakum, Israel), Ashley Marion (London, Ontario), Michaela Hahn-Lawson (Painesville, Ohio) and Ilse Petersen (Johannesburg, South Africa) became the tenth straight Ohio group to take first in the 800 freestyle relay. The group finished in a pool record time of 7:27.93, winning by over four seconds.
"To be successful in the 800, you have to have four people who are committed to the training," head coach Greg Werner said. "You have to be in good shape and you have to have more of a distance type mindset to excel in it. You have to be tough, you have to be patient and they also have to be dedicated to their training.
Emily Wylam (Yorktown, Va.), who owned the top MAC time in the 100-yard backstroke during the regular season, maintained her stranglehold on the event today. Wylam set the MAC record with a time of 55.69, surpassing the previous record by nearly a half-second. The previous record was set in 1994 by Miami's Camilla Johansson.
"Emily had a fantastic freshman campaign," Werner said. "She felt like she should have been better, though. She really has done a great job at her water-kicking and her power movements to make her the best 100-backstroker in conference history."
Marion added to her growing list of wins with a first-place time in the 400-yard individual medley. She finished in a time of 4:24.85, which was both a pool and personal record. The win marks the fourth event Marion has won. She won the 200 IM and was part of the victorious 400-yard medley relay squad yesterday.
"We saw right off the bat how versatile Ashley was," Werner said. "We knew she was one of the better swimmers in the conference. It is nice to see her shining now and standing on top of the podium because we knew she was something special."
Hahn-Lawson posted her second second-place finish of the tourney, taking second behind Marion in the 400 IM. Hahn-Lawson finished in a personal-best time of 4:26.72, also a pool record.
Petersen added a fifth-place mark in the 200-yard freestyle with a season-best time of 1:51.21. Sarah Vaughn (Athens, Ohio) set a personal-best time of 1:04.94 in the preliminaries of the 100-yard breaststroke and finished sixth in the finals. Simsolo finished seventh in the 100 back with a personal-best mark of 58.58.
The Bobcats are in third place after today's competition with 359 points, trailing Miami with 408.5 and Eastern Michigan with 385.5. Bowling Green is in fourth with 291 points followed by Toledo with 247.
"We have a tall order in overcoming Miami and Eastern Michigan," Werner said. "All we can do is take it one event at a time."
The final day of the conference championships kicks off tomorrow with prelims starting at 11 a.m. The finals are slated to begin at 7 p.m. The 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, 1,650 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay are scheduled for tomorrow.