Redbirds Fall to Ball State; Tazzioli Again Qualifies for Zone Meet
Jan. 14, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State swimming and diving team lost its home dual meet this Saturday to Ball State, after an exciting day of competition in Horton pool. The meet marked ISU's first dual of the spring semester.
The Redbirds, coming off a fourth-place finish at the Copa Coqui Invite in San Juan, Puerto Rico, returned to Normal to compete in their first dual since Illinois in November. Head coach Steve Paska is pleased with the performances of his student-athletes.
"Today showed us we are a little rusty from competition," Paska said. "We have been training exceptionally hard, and the swimmers' volume has increased tremendously. One thing that was missing today was our breakout speed, hence the back half was just not as fast as we wanted it. I am overall very pleased with the performances today, and it was a great experience to take with us going into back-to-back dual meets in the upcoming weekends."
Freshman Valerie Jones finished first place in the 1000-yard freestyle (10:35.37), with freshman Cecilia Holmes behind her in second with a time of 10:36.37. Holmes also snagged a second-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle (5:07.99).
"Cecilia had a couple solid races today," Paska said. "She continues to prove herself as a true competitor, and I am always impressed with how she performs."
Junior Kelly Healy shattered her personal best time in the 500-yard freestyle by over 20 seconds (5:22.12). Paska credits more mid-distance training to the Naperville, Ill., native's personal best swim at the competition.
Many other notable performances were swam by Jeanette Nolte, who finished first in the 200-yard butterfly (2:07.95). The ISU junior also had two second place finishes in the 100-yard butterfly (57.56) and the 200-yard IM (2:12.24). Tori Alland finished second in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:53.88.
Diving senior Brittany Tazzioli made her mark in the 1-meter dive for the second time this season. Her score of 269.70 on the board gave the team captain another zone meet qualifying score, where she will compete in March.
"This was a really great accomplishment for Brittany to hit a qualifying score twice this season," head diving coach Phil Hoffmann said. "It is especially impressive coming off our winter training trip in San Juan."
Another senior captain, Polly Hirt, earned a season-best performance on the 1-meter board with a 244.12, to place third. Maggie Kopp had season-best performances on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards, with a 204.07 and a 216.52. Junior Maureen Doyle had two solid diving performances, scoring 231.90 on the 1-meter and a 214.95 on the 3-meter board, both leading to fifth-place finishes. Junior Madicyn Prouty also had an impressive 1-meter board, scoring a 230.32.
"The whole meet was a team effort," Hoffmann said. "We are a lot farther along at this point in the season than I thought we would be, and I am extremely impressed with how deep our team is. Our depth is really going to be what will carry us through to the conference meet in February."
The Redbirds will travel to UIC next Friday at 5 p.m. with Valparaiso. The team has two dual meets left in their 2011-12 season, leading them into the Missouri Valley Conference Championships scheduled in February.
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