MSU’s Dora Kiss Named MVC Swimmer of the Week

Swimmer of the Week:

Dora Kiss, Sr. MSU

500 freestyle: 4:45.42 (5th out of 46)

100 butterfly: 54.82 (7th out of 58)

200 butterfly 1:57.18 (1st out of 41) 

800 free relay (1st leg): 7:29.52 (6th out of 13)

Missouri State’s Dora Kiss shattered two school records to lead the Bears’ women’s swimming and diving team at the Purdue Invitational from Nov. 21-23. Kiss surpassed current Missouri State assistant coach Chelsea Dirks-Ham in the 100-yard butterfly preliminaries Saturday. Kiss topped Dirks-Ham’s record – which had stood since 2009 – by .14 seconds with a 55.20 finish to qualify for the A-final. Kiss would go on to break her newly minted school record again by taking seventh out of 58 in the finals by touching the wall at 54.82. The senior continued her solid performance as she dominated the 200 fly. After finishing in first during prelims by breaking an MSU record in the event that she previously held, Kiss improved the new mark in the A-final behind a first-place performance in which finished in a time of 1:57.18, almost two seconds faster than the record she had owned before the Invitational. She achieved NCAA consideration times in both of her 200 fly races as well as her 500 freestyle A-final swim. Kiss placed fifth in the 500 free finals with a 4:45.42 finish, just a second off from the school record she set at last year’s conference championships. Kiss also appeared on one MSU ‘A’ relay squad, swimming as the first leg of the Bears’ 800 free relay team which placed sixth in a season-best time of 7:29.52.

Diver of the Week: 

Kaixuan ‘Sherry’ Zhang, Southern Illinois, Senior

1-meter dive – 1st – 328.85

3-meter dive – 2nd – 344.10

Once again, Kaixuan ’Sherry’ Zhang finished in first place in the one-meter dives competing against some of her toughest competitors so far this season. Zhang finished with a 328.85 score, earning the Salukis 20 points. She remains undefeated in the one-meter dive this season. Zhang finished the three-meter dive in second place with a 344.10 score, trailing Purdue’s Mary Beth Dunnichay by only five points. 

Week Recap:

Friday- Sunday: The Illinois State swimming and diving team finished the three-day Louisville Invite Sunday, taking third place. Host Louisville won the meet with 2,067.5 points. Illinois State ended the three-day meet 1,131 points, coming in ahead of Kenyon (1,079.5) and Wright State (734). On Friday, the 400-yard medley relay consisting of Rachel Root, Rachel Holm, Kristin Verkler and Courtney Taylor swam to a third place finish, with a final time of 3:47.57. Illinois State divers competed in the 3-meter diving event Friday, as Kelly Sanks earned 212.85 points, finishing in fifth place, while sophomore Kristen Larson finished in seventh place with 188.7 points.

The following day, Taylor and Savannah Rubocki tied for fifth place in the 400-yard individual medley, with a time of 4:26.68. Holm tied her school record while placing a fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.36), while Root captured her own fifth place finish in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56.77. Both Illinois State relay teams that competed Saturday swam to fourth-place finishes. The 200-yard medley relay team, consisting of Root, Katie Breger, Holm and Sarah Thomas, swam a time of 1:44.38, and the 800-yard freestyle relay team, made up of Rubocki, Yvette KrukLaura Paskoff, and Verkler, swam a time of 7:44.05. Redbird divers competed in the 1-meter diving Saturday, as Sanks earned 206.60 points, finishing in sixth place, while Larson finished in seventh place with 170.15 points.

On the final day in the pool, Illinois State’s 400-yard medley relay team of RootHolm, Taylor and Verkler raced to third place with a time of 3:47.57, while the 200-yard freestyle relay team, consisting of Taylor, Holm, Paskoff and Thomas, swam to a fourth place finish (1:36.09). Redbird divers competed in the platform event on Sunday, which marked the first career performance event for both Sanks and Larson. Sanks placed third with 128.8 points, while Larson finished in fourth place with 120.95 points.

Friday-Sunday: At the Purdue Invite, the Missouri State Bears earned 260 points for sixth place and finished ahead of Southern Illinois (208) and San Diego (182). Purdue (1002) finished first with Notre Dame (707), Wyoming (500), Florida International (386) and Air Force (276) following the Boilermakers in the rankings.

MSU women’s senior Dora Kiss opened the action at the Invite by finishing third in the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries, then finished fifth in the finals with a season-best 4:45.42, which gave her an NCAA consideration time in the event.  Sophomore Sydney Zupan placed 18th for the Bears in a time of 4:56.54. Heather Snyder also made it to a finals event with her prelims best 5:05.59 finish. Leading the Bears in the 200-yard individual medley was Rebecca Amparano, who placed 17th in a time of 2:04.08. Freshman Josie Pearson finished 22nd (2:05.15), Lauren Pavel placed in the D-final with her top time of the year (2:06.55) and Briana Horozewski swam a season-best 2:07.38 in the prelims. In the final individual event of the day – the 50 free – Hope Ernhart led the way for the Bears’ women’s team with a 23.77 finish. In the 200 free relay, Missouri State’s Bump, Ernhart, Zupan and Stelnicki finished in a season-best time of 1:34.87 for a fourth-place finish.

One of the top highlights for the Bears Saturday was Dora Kiss’s school record-breaking 100-yard butterfly swims. The senior topped the record in morning preliminary races with a 55.20 finish, breaking a mark that was held by current MSU assistant coach Chelsea Dirks-Ham, whose time of 55.34 had lasted since 2009. Kiss advanced to the A-final where she was able to improve that time to 54.82, good for seventh place in the event. Freshman Josie Pearson achieved the first ‘B’ cut of her collegiate career in the 400 individual medley, taking runner-up in the A-final with a lifetime best and new school-record time of 4:18.09. Rebecca Amparano also made the A-final for the Bears and took seventh after her top time of the year in prelims (4:22.33). Both Briana Horozewski and CeCe Etter won their respective finals heats, as Horozewski touched in at 4:24.62 in the B-final and Etter came in at 4:28.39 in the C-final.  Kiss, along with Shawna ElseyEmma MetzMoriah MooreAlthea Felton and Hope Ernhart, finished with season-best times in the 200 free prelims. MSU’s Lauren Pavel finished a team-high 12th (1:03.62) in the 100 breaststroke to lead the women’s team, withAnna Bump also making a B-final appearance by taking 15th (1:04.19). In the remaining individual event of the day, Zupan led the MSU women’s squad with a 12th-place finish behind a time of 55.78 in the 100 backstroke. The Bears’ squad took sixth in both the 200 medley relay (1:45.04) behind Zupan, Pavel, Pearson and Ernhart, as well as the 800 free relay behind Kiss, Stelnicki, Zupan and Amparano.

On the last day of the invite, Kiss broke her second school record of the weekend as she won the event, topping her own MSU-record mark of 1:57.18 for an NCAA consideration time. Two more Bears notched points for the women’s squad in the 200 fly. Amparano had an A-final showing and took sixth in a time of 2:00.75, while Josie Pearson won the B-final with a lifetime-best 2:00.96. Pavel,  Olivia Gean and Zupan were the remaining MSU women’s swimmers to capture points for the squad. Pavel and Gean both represented the Bears in the 200 breast B-final with Pavel (2:18.22) taking 10th overall and Gean (2:21.78) finishing 14th. Zupan competed in the 200 back B-final and eventually took 16th overall (2:01.86).MSU first-year swimmers Brianna McCulloughErnhartLoretta StelnickiMoriah MooreAlthea Felton and Larson all earned personal-best times in their respective events Sunday.

Friday-Saturday: The Saluki women’s swimming and diving team finished the weekend at the Purdue Invitational swimming in six A Finals along with both boards.The Salukis came on strong on Day One with standout performances by Bryn Handley and Kelsie Walker in the 500-yard freestyle. Handley finished with a career best time, coming in at 4:50.46 for eighth place. Although she didn’t qualify for the A Final, Walker swam the 500 free in 4:48.10, a time that would have likely placed in the top-10 in the nation prior to this meet. Handley and Walker continued with big swims throughout the weekend, both with impressive performances in the 1,650-yard freestyle, Walker coming in seventh and Handley in ninth. SIU’s freestyle corps was successful in relays as well, earning second place in the 800-yard freestyle relay and sixth in the 400-yard freestyle. SIU’s medley relays came on strong throughout the weekend as well, with an eighth place finish in the 400-yard medley relay on Day One by Sarah James, Liane Tatigian, Lauren Stockton and McKenna Avery, followed by a seventh place finish in the 200-yard medley relay by James, Tatigian, Chandler Ott and Avery. Kaixuan ‘Sherry’ Zhang was met with tough competition this weekend, as she finished in second place for the first time this season in the three-meter dives, coming in second to Purdue’s Mary Beth Dunnichay whom she faced last year at the NCAA meet. Zhang rebounded on Day Two, however, claiming first place on the one-meter board with a 328.85 score. Rachel Williams came away with her best score of the season in the one-meter dive, finishing 11th in prelims at 246.20. The Saluki women finished the weekend in seventh place with 208 total points.

Friday-Sunday: Evansville’s women finished 5th out of 10 schools at the House of Champions meet in Indianapolis this weekend.

On Friday, the team made waves in the 200 free relay.  Mackenzie Harris, Maja Magnusson, Kristen Myers and Michaela Kent teamed up to take 4th place out of 19 teams with their effort of 1:36.78.  On her own, Kent came home in 9th in the 50 free, swimming a 24.00. The Purple Aces did well in the 400 medley relay as Kent, Amy Smith, Charlotte Lechner and Harris took 8thwith a 3:58.56. Maja Magnusson came in sixth place in the 500 free.  Her time checked in at a 5:08.45 out of the 24 participants in the final.  Jessi Hildebrand took 15th in the event, swimming a 5:18.52.

UE’s top relay finish of the second day came in the 800 free relay as Madi Jones, Bridget Sheridan, Jessi Hildebrand and Maja Magnusson posted a 7:53.69 to finish in 5th. The group of Michaela Kent, Amy Smith, Charlotte Lechner and Mackenzie Harris placed seventh in the 200 medley relay with a final of 1:48.51.  Lechner struck again in the 100 fly as her 58.44 was good for 10th place.  Madi Jones was just 0.2 seconds behind her in 11th. Kent had a strong finish in the 100 back.  Her final of 57.92 put her in fifth place.  Magnusson was the top UE finisher in the 200 free.  She swam a 1:57.92 en route to a 14th-place effort.  Amy Smith came home in 12th place in the 100 breaststroke.  She swam a 1:08.29. On the boards, it was Courtney Coverdale leading the way with a second-place finish in the 3-meter dive.  Her score was 251.35.

On Sunday, Sophomore Courtney Coverdale took top honors in the 1-meter dive as the University of Evansville swimming and diving teams completed the House of Champions. Coverdale’s score of 260.05 put her on top in the 1-meter event.  Her score was over 12 points better than the competition.   In women’s races, Maja Magnusson, Charlotte Lechner, Mackenzie Harris and Michaela Kent finished the 400 free relay in 3:35.73 to take 8th in the race.  Magnusson had a strong finish in the 1650 free.  She finished the event in 17:45.19 to take 6th. In the 200 backstroke, Taylor Davidson had a strong race as her 2:06.91 placed her in 11th.  Kasey Rein was the top finisher in the 200 fly.  Her 2:13.72 put her in 12th.  In the 200 breaststroke, Amy Smith registered a 12th place finish of her own, swimming a 2:29.34.

Swimming news courtesy of Missouri Valley Conference.

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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