Redbirds Finish First at Butler Invitational
Marissa Yontz
Marissa Yontz

Jan. 27, 2013

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Illinois State swimming and diving team ended their dual meet season finishing in first-place at the Butler Invitational with a score of 947. Multiple swimmers finished in the top spots during the invite contributing to the Redbirds victory.

"Today was the last meet before the conference championship, and it was a solid team effort," head coach Steve Paska said. "We had a number of swimmers step up and perform this weekend. The depth of this program showed this afternoon as a number of student-athletes finished in the top eight during multiple events."

The Redbirds took first place swimming past Xavier (599), IUPUI (573) and Butler (289).

Sophomore Marissa Yontz captured first-place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.10. She also took second-place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time 24.54 and third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:56.18.

Senior Tori Alland earned first-place with a time of 5:07.15 in the 500-yard freestyle. She took second in the 200-yard freestyle finishing in a time of 1:55.89 and fourth in the 100-yard freestyle swimming a 54.21.

Senior Jeanette Nolte touched the wall first in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:09.29 and then finished in second-place during the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.09.

Junior April Livingston and sophomore Kristin Horney also received first-place finishes. Livingston swam a 2:25.31 during the 200-yard breaststroke and Horney finished in 24.52 during the 50-yard freestyle.

"Today was a total collective team effort. The student-athletes swam great and everyone helped contribute to lead the Redbirds to this victory," Paska said.

Other notable performances were swam by junior Erica Halley who finished in third-place during three events. She finished with a time of 24.62 in the 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 59.80 and 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:09.06.

Sophomores Cecilia Holmes and Valerie Jones both finished in the top four during the 1650-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard IM. Holmes swam a 17:50.39 during the 1650-yard freestyle taking second, during the 500-yard freestyle Holmes swam a 5:12.81 finishing in second-place and a time of 4:42.59 in the 400-yard IM to place third.

Jones followed behind Holmes in all three events. In the 1650-yard freestyle finishing third with a time of 17:55.15, during the 500-yard freestyle earning third with a time of 5:13.83 and the 400-yard IM finishing in 4:42.72 to take fourth place.

"Today was a solid performance by the whole team. As we are beginning our preparation for the conference championship the coaching staff will begin to determine the line up for the conference meet," Paska said. "This was a solid win for us as the Redbirds finished out the 2012-13 dual meet season. Now we are looking forward to the Missouri Valley Conference Championship."

The Redbird divers also competed today. This was the second invitational they competed in this weekend.

Sophomore diver Wenting Zhang took first-place on both boards. She earned a score of 316.75 on the 1-meter board and a score of 342.20 on the 3-meter board. Freshman Kaitlyn Neiheisel also had a successful performance at the invitational. She received a score of 235.60 on the 1-meter board and a score of 245.55 on the 3-meter board. Her score on the 3-meter board was a season best.

"It was a great end to a long weekend, but I think the student-athletes stood up to the challenge," diving coach Phil Hoffmann said. "It was great diving at a new pool, and I enjoyed the event. We got a lot of positive feedback that we will be using to our advantage as we enter the conference championship."

The `Birds will return to the pool Feb. 14-17 in Carbondale, Ill. for the MVC Championship.

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