Women’s SCIAC Swimming & Diving Championship fields set for Finale

LONG BEACH, Calif. – A number of school records went down at preliminaries this morning with an NCAA cut met as the women’s preliminaries set the stage for an day three Finals at the 2011 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships hosted by Occidental College at the Belmont Olympic Plaza.

200 Backstroke
The current SCIAC record holder, Tessa Dover, nearly broke her own Meet Record (2:04.56), swimming a 2:04.73. Dover opened more than a body length lead over UR sophomore Jessie Chansler (2:10.89) in the final 50 yards of the race to finish more than six seconds in front. In the final heat of the prelims, Elsa Cheng went a 2:07 flat for CMS, finishing ahead of CLU freshman Shelby Brooks 2:09.76 and teammate Jenni Rinker who was four hundredths of a second back in 2:09.80. The final three spots for finals came out of the first heat of the morning with UR sophomore Caitlin Michaels winning in a time of 2:09.51 followed  by CMS’s Amy Tresenrider (2:11.02) and PP’s Julia Ticus (2:12.15).

100 Freestyle
Heat six saw a pair of freshmen duke it out in the pool with frontrunner Michelle Kee nearly breaking the CMS school record with a time of 52.13 while Occidental freshman Juliet Suess set a new Tigers’ record with a swim of 53.44. Joining the newcomers in the finals will be current SCIAC and Meet Record holder Alexandra Bollella (UR) and Emma Jones (CMS) who posted times of 53.28 and 53.26, respectively. The Bulldogs duo of Casey Sripramong (53.71) and Kathryn McIntosh (54.36) as well as Sagehens’ freshman Alex Lincoln (53.95) and Oxy sophomore Lauren Ransom (54.34) also earned slots in the final this evening.

200 Breaststroke
Caroline Chang has her sights set on returning to the top of the podium as she opened up a body length lead 125 yards in and led by two body lengths by the flip-turn at the 150 mark to finish just off the NCAA “B” cut. The Occidental freshman broke an 11 year old school record with a 2:25.08. Tung Chin won the first heat of the race to earn the number two seed tonight in 2:26.30 while McKenzie Nakamura was the top finisher in the second heat in 2:27.85 to enter the evening as the number four seed. Michelle Utama led from the gun and edged out Bulldog teammate Tiana Singley with a 2:27.35. Singley posted a 2:28.25. Finishing behind Chang and earning spots tonight are, Kelli Miller who will swim for CLU after going a 2:28.52 with CMS rounding out the field behind Olivia Graham (2:29.82) and Elica Sharifnia (2:30.32).

200 Butterfly
The top two seeds broke school records and met NCAA “B” cuts in the morning swim as leader Annika Jessen downed a CMS record set in 1999 by more than two seconds in a 2:06.37 while Occidental junior Mallory Ryan replaced her own record, lowering her swim by three seconds to 2:08.12. In heat two Charolette Dohrn took an early lead before Michelle Utama came back in the last 50 yards to steal the heat victory in 2:12.04. Dohrn went a 2:12.90. Defending champion Lauren Zehner from UR won her heat in 2:10.19 with Oxy sophomore Alena Morris (2:15.23) locking up the final spot. A pair of freshmen, Erin MacLean (2:09.97) from CMS and Laura Millet (2:15.23) from CLU earned appearances at finals.

This evening’s events will begin with the conclusion of the mile swim, which took place following the completion of the prelims this morning. After individual events, the meet will conclude with the 400 Free Relay.

Entering the final day of competition, the No. 9 College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Division III ranked Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps look as if though they have all but locked up their eighth consecutive SCIAC title, holding more than a 300 point lead over the next closest team, the University of Redlands. CMS currently has 766.5 points followed by UR with 438. Occidental used a pair of first place finishes and a second place relay swim early on in the evening to pull the race closer, finishing day two with 353.5 points. The fourth spot belongs to Pomona-Pitzer (260.5) followed by Whittier College with 203.5. Cal Lutheran University jumped from eighth to sixth as the University of La Verne (132), and California Institute of Technology (124) round out the field.

Tonight the day three finals will get underway at 5:00 p.m. following senior recognitions at 4:45. Be sure to log on to the SCIAC Championship website for the most in-depth coverage where you can watch live, listen and track results as they happen.