Redbirds Break 400-Yard Freestyle Relay Record
Kristin Verkler
Kristin Verkler

Jan. 11, 2014

NORMAL, Ill. - - The Illinois State swimming and diving team was victorious against conference opponent UNI today finishing with a final score of 189 to 108. This victory was led by a number of first-place wins and a pool record-breaking finish.

"After our winter trip to San Juan and the extended travel time, I was impressed with the performance the Redbirds showed under a little bit of adversity," said head coach Steve Paska. "In addition the team wasn't at 100 percent due to a number of the student-athletes' injuries and illnesses. During this meet we showed perseverance because if one swimmer was sick it was the next swimmer up! At the beginning of our meet it is always our goal to start with momentum and we did it again this week. The swimmers started the drive of this meet with first and second-place victories in the 200-yard medley relay."

The start of the meet began with a first and second-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. Sammy Schuckles, Courtney Taylor, Lexi Nash and Marissa Yontz finished first with a time 1:48.82. Following in second-place was Erica Halley, April Livingston, Kristin Verkler and Katherine Nelson with a final time of 1:51.41.

"The meet continued with a number of close races," said Paska. "I am impressed with the student-athletes attention to detail today, especially in the back half of the races. They went much better than the first." Two Redbird swimmers each took home two victories from today's meet. Verkler placed first in the 200-yard freestyle (1:57.50) and the 100-yard butterfly (59.70). Continuing on with the meet, Yontz won the 50-yard freestyle (24.11) and 500-yard freestyle (5:22.44). Throughout the course of the meet the Redbirds continued to place first in events. Valerie Jones won the 1000-yard freestyle (10:48.94). Next, Rachel Root took first-place in the 100-yard backstroke (1:00.14). The rest of the meet the Redbirds swept first-place in each race. Taylor placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.05). Nelson continued the driving force with a first-place in the 100-yard freestyle (54.52). Halley and Livingston finished off the individual races with Halley placing first in the 200-yard backstroke (2:08.96) and Livingston in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:26.26).



Illinois State finished off the meet by breaking the pool record for the 400-yard freestyle relay with a final time of 3:33.17. The relay consisted of Halley, Nelson, Verkler and Yontz.

The Redbird divers brought home a number of victories after not competing for four weeks. Diving coach Phil Hoffmann is pleased with the performance they put on at today's meet.

"Coming off of winter training, the first meet back is always a challenge to get the student-athletes back in a routine," said coach Hoffmann. "However, I am very proud of their outstanding performance against UNI. Wenting had a solid meet today, but her presentation on the 3-meter board was the highlight of the diving portion of the meet."

Wenting Zhang took home first-place on both the 1-meter (306.07) and 3-meter boards (330.31). Zhang was followed by Molly Schatz with a third-place finish on the 1-meter board (233.69).

Coach Hoffmann is also happy with the performance freshman Molly Schatz gave today. "Molly is very talented on the 1-meter board and is working hard to have a more well-rounded performance on the 3-meter board," said Hoffmann. "The rest of the team is looking really good just coming off of training. Next week will show how well we trained during break."

The Redbirds will compete again next Saturday, Jan. 18 at Horton pool against Washington. The meet will begin at 12 pm.

"Today's meet was a solid start to 2014, but we still have two more dual meets left for the season," said Paska. "Our team needs to work to get healthy for the first of the two, Washington who we will race this weekend. During the Washington meet we will be honoring our seniors at their home meet of the season." Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.

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