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Bower Qualifies for NCAA Swimming Championships

March 6, 2009

ATHENS, Ohio - For the first time since 2001, the Ohio University swimming and diving team will be sending a representative to the NCAA Swimming Championships, as junior Chelsey Bower qualified in both the 50 and 100 freestyle. She will be the first Bobcat to compete for an NCAA title since Kim van Selm swam in the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Championships.

Bower (Bethel Park, Pa.), a 2009 First Team All-Mid-American Conference selection, posted the 38th-fastest time in Division I in the 50 free with a MAC and school-record mark of 22.48, which she put up Feb. 27 during the prelims at the MAC Championships. Bower went on to win the 50 free MAC crown in 22.55 later that night. Her time of 22.48 was under the provisional qualifying standard of 22.80 and was one of the top 65 times across the country in the event, earning her an invitation to the NCAA Championships. Bower's time is the fifth-fastest from a mid-major school and was one of only six overall, with Miami's Alyson Schmidt being the sixth.

Bower will also compete in the 100 free after swimming a school-record 49.16 in the MAC finals Feb. 28, where she finished second, just .18 out of first. Her 100 free mark was the 41st-fastest in Division I and was under the provisional standard of 49.75. Seventy swimmers will compete for the 100 free NCAA crown, with only seven hailing from mid-majors, including Miami's Schmidt.

Bobcat junior diver Lindsay Hamilton (White City, Sask.) will also have a chance to join Bower and qualify for the NCAA Championships at the Zone C Diving Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. March 13-15. She will compete on both the one-meter and three-meter boards at the University of Minnesota's University Aquatic Center. The school record holder in both events qualified on the one-meter board with her score of 281.50 at the Zippy Invitational, Dec. 5, topping the 265-point plateau needed to earn a spot, and qualified in three-meter diving with a score of 294.70 Jan. 9 against Denison, which was above the 280 points required to be eligible. Hamilton also competed at the Zone C Championships as a freshman, when she posted a pair of top-12 finishes.

The Diving Zone C Championships consist of divers qualifying from schools located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Women's three-meter diving takes place Friday, March 13, while one-meter diving is on Saturday, March 14. The top 10 finishers on each board at the Zone C Championships will join the top finishers from the other four zones at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

The 2009 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships will be held March 19-21 in College Station, Texas and are hosted by Texas A&M University. The meet will take place at the Aggies' Student Recreation Center Natatorium.