ILLINOIS vs PURDUE (WOMEN’S DUAL)
- Saturday, January 7, 2023
- ARC Pool, Champaign, IL
- SCY (25 yards)
- Purdue – 158.5
- Illinois – 141.5
Illinois hosted Purdue for a Big Ten women’s dual meet on Saturday, falling to the Boilermakers in a 158.5-141.5 decision on their senior night. Though Illinois ultimately lost the meet, the program is continuing to take steps forward under first-year head coach Jeana Kempe. The Illini outscored Purdue 138.5-122.5 in the swimming events on the day, but Purdue, one of the premier diving programs in the NCAA, used their diving advantage to pull out the win.
The Boilermakers were simply dominant on the boards. In 1-meter, Daryn Wright won with a score of 321.60, leading a 1-2-3-4 charge by Purdue. Teammate Sophia McAfee was second (311.40), followed by Jenna Sonnenberg (298.58), and Kaitlin Simons (276.83). Wright also won 3-meter diving, racking up a score of 354.53. McAfee again took second (332.18), while Maycey Vieta came in third with a score of 311.03. Illinois’ Brooke Michael came in fourth with a score of 281.70, while Purdue’s Maggie Merriman was able to earn a point for her team by finishing fifth with a score of 278.63.
In the pool, Purdue’s Maggie Love was critical to her team’s success, winning all three of her individual events. Love won the 100 breast in 1:04.58, narrowly touching out teammate Masy Folcik, who came in second with a 1:04.63. Love then went on to win the 200 breast in 2:17.66. She got out to a big early lead, swimming a 1:05.73 on the first 100, then held onto that lead through the back half of the race. Love concluded her meet by winning the 200 IM with a 2:04.00, fueled in large part by a 34.81 on the breast split.
Kate Beavon was excellent for the Boilermakers as well, sweeping the distance events. In the 1000 free, Beavon clocked a 10:09.04, pulling away from Illinois’ Cara Bognar (10:13.06) and Liv Dorshorst (10:14.04) in the last few hundred yards of the race. Beavon then won the 500 free in 4:58.66, touching as the only swimmer in the field under 5:00.
Purdue also picked up a win in the 100 back, where Abby Marcukaitis swam a 56.74.
A huge part of Illinois outscoring Purdue in swimming was due to their sweeping the relay. The Illini picked up a very close win in the first event of the day, the 200 medley relay. Athena Salafatinos (26.79), Kaleigh Haworth (29.26), Isabelle Guerra (25.37), and Lily Olson (23.74) teamed up for a 1:45.16, touching just ahead of Purdue (1:45.26).
Illinois then closed out the meet with another close victory in the 200 free relay. Guerra (24.05), Olson (23.62), Salafatinos (23.87), and Logan Kuehne (23.34) combined for a 1:34.88 in that relay.
The Illini were great in the 50 free, where Laurel Bludgen won in 23.60, touching nearly a quarter-of-a-second ahead of runner-up Hannah Hill (23.83) out of Purdue. Illinois then had the third, fourth, and fifth place finishers, with Isabelle Guerra (23.92), Lily Olson (24.07), and Logan Kuehne (24.09).
It was a similar story in the 100 free, where Bludgen won again, this time with a 51.75. Hill came in second again, swimming a 52.13. Olson and Purdue’s Kendra Bowen tied for third at 52.62.
Illinois’ Sydney Stoll was another double event winner, taking the 200 free and 200 back. In the 200 free, Stoll swam a 1:52.95, pulling away a bit from Purdue’s Kendra Bowen (1:53.54) on the back half of the race. Stoll then won the 200 back convincingly with a 2:03.05, touching first by nearly three seconds.
Illinois swept the fly events between two swimmers. Cara Bognar won the 200 fly in 2:02.75, taking the race over on the third 50 then managing to build a lead of well over two seconds as she sped towards the finish. Illini freshman Alexis Wendel won the 100 fly in 56.85.