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Big East: Day Four Prelims

The women’s meet was highlighted by a BIG EAST record swim in the 200 fly from WVU’s Amanda Nugent (1:56.64) who blew away the field by over 3 seconds and beat the 2 year old record by over a second. WVU is holding on to 3rd place and despite being shut out of the 100 free final, hope some strong swims in the other events can prevent them from being tracked down by the rest of the women’s teams that are currently so close behind, namely Villanova who will have a strong night tonight.

Pitt and Rutgers will try to avoid falling from their current positions (currently 4th and 6th). The Pitt women only have 2 finalists and 2 consolation finalists with no representatives tonight in the 200 fly. Villanova could easily jump into 4th tonight (currently 13 points back) with 3 finalists and 5 consolation finalists led by Hayley Edwards who is chilling in 2nd for the 200 fly. The Rutgers women are in trouble in 6th as the UC lady ‘Cats (currently only 1 point back) send two women to the finals in the 200y back, one in the 200 breast, and have a total of 6 consolation finalists coming in tonight. Liz Hansson continues a strong BIG EAST meet with a 4th place ranking in the 200 back to lead UC.

The battle for 9th hinges largely on the 200 fly with 2 close teams only sending one woman each on to tonight from this morning. Georgetown (84pts) is currently ranked 13th in the event with Kristen Pratt and Seton Hall (76pts) currently in 10th with Jane Ehret. The outcome here could be huge for both teams.

Notre Dame started the men’s meet with some hope of tracking down leader Louisville, entering the day down 20. They opened up the 200 back by placing 4 men in the finals to UofL’s 2 but it was all Louisville for the rest of the morning. Brendon Andrews (UofL) used his straight-arm recovery to power to a 43.63 in the 100 free, good for 1st entering tonight. Carlos Almeida (UofL) also impressed as expected in the 200 breast, cruising to a 1:56.77 and he walked from the pool calmly, which leads me to believe that he has something left for tonight. He’s so quick to the surface after his pullouts and I look for him to challenge his record time of 1:54.85 from a year ago. Pedro Oliveira was slow off of the blocks in the 200 fly but was able to ride high throughout his swim and enters the finals in 1st with a 1:45.79, as well as comes in tonight 2nd in the 200 back (talk about versatility).

We see the same top 4 swimmers as last year in the 200 back, with ’10 champ Webster from SHU in third, 2010’s runner-up Oliveira in second, and 2010’s third place finisher Christie-Goldthorpe from West Virginia in 1st with a prelim time of 1:45.58. For WVU to fight for 3rd place overall, (currently 4th by 17 points) they will need Christie-Golthorpe to stave off the attack from the field as Webster clocked a 1:44.41 last year as champ. The battle for 3rd will come down to who can improve on their prelim seeds between Pitt and West Virginia with Pitt entering tonight with 4 finalists and 6 consolation finalists to WVU’s 3 and 7 respectively. Pitt will hope for a strong swim from Hermanus Kluever who dropped 2 seconds from his seed time in the 200 fly to enter the night ranked 2nd (1:47.35).

Syracuse swimmer Kuba Kotynia swam well and is being cheered for by everybody here as this will be the last we see of this Syracuse program. He enters tonight ranked 3rd in the 200 breast with a 1:57.54.

UConn (5th overall) continues to struggle, swimming slower than their seed times in most events and are in danger of losing to Seton Hall who currently sits 20 points back from them thanks in large part to strong swims from Webster, Matthew Benson, and crew. UConn sends 5 men to the consolation finals and will do their best to put an exclamation point at the end of this arduous weekend.