Fighting Illini Take Down Big Ten Rival Nebraska in Front of Home Crowd; Meng Sets Two Pool Records

University of Illinois women’s swimming and diving team hosted the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday at ARC Pool in Champaign for a Big Ten showdown that was expected to be a very close meet. Last season, the Orange and Blue fell to the Huskers in Lincoln, 160-140, but overall, Illinois came into the meet with a 4-3 edge against Nebraska.

Make that 5-3 after today’s meet. (Complete results here)

The Illini began with a victory in the 200 medley relay from Allison Meng (26.22), Sam Stratford (29.59), Lori Lynn (24.61), and Megan Marchuk (23.72), who combined for 1:44.14. Nebraska’s Jackie Juffer (26.37), Jordan Ehly (30.63), Bria Deveaux (25.53), and Taryn Collura (22.86) finished second with 1:45.39.

The Orange and Blue the proceeded to win eight more events, including two 1-2-3 sweeps (200 free and 200 fly) and two 1-2 sweeps (100 fly and 200 IM). Stratford pulled in three individual wins. She led the trio of Illini in the 200 fly sweep with 2:04.70; Sarah Sykstus (2:05.06) and Gabbie Stecker (2:05.65) followed. Stratford then place first in the 200 breast with 2:20.10, and 200 IM with 2:05.17. Sykstus was runner-up in the later, touching in 2:06.86. Stecker notched a win of her own, going 4:59.25 to take the 500 free.

Meng was a double-winner for the day, clocking the fastest 100 back (55.42), and leading Lori Lynn in a 1-2 Orange and Blue sweep of the 100 fly, 55.81 to 56.49. Both times were pool records for the senior.

Marchuk went 1:53.13 in the 200 free ahead of teammates Amelia Schilling (1:53.41) and Sascha Meyers (1:54.58). Bella Schamber picked up a win for the Illini in the 100 breast with 1:06.76.

Nebraska had many strong performances during the afternoon, including a sprint free double from Collura. In the 50 free, Collura touched in 23.69 ahead of teammate Alexandra Bilunas (24.15), while in the 100 free she led the 1-2 Huskers charge with 51.89 to Deveaux’s 52.26.

Diver Anna Filipcic also contributed two wins to Nebraska’s efforts. She scored 316.87 points to take 1-meter diving and 325.28 points to win on the 3-meter board. Runner-up in both events was teammate Nicole Schwery. Francesca Giganti made it a 1-2-3 Huskers sweep in the 3-meter event.

Katt Sickle opened the meet with a Nebraska win in the 1000 free with her time of 10:22.71. Later she placed second in the 500 free (5:01.13) and third in the 200 IM (2:08.10). Erin Oeltjen provided excitement as well as points when she touched out Illinois’ Sloane McDermott 2:04.23 to 2:04.71 to win the 200 back.

Juffer and Ely contributed second-place points to the Nebraska total in the 100 back (56.78) and 200 breast (2:22.76), respectively. Bilunas (24.24), Oeltjen, (24.29), Deveaux (24.01), and Collura (23.03) combined to win the final 200 free relay in 1:35.57 ahead of Illinois’ Meng, Gabby Bethke, Kirsten Zborek, and Marchuk’s 1:36.02.

Final Scores

University of Illinois, Champaign 171 – 129 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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