Redbirds Finish Zippy Invite 4th, Freshman Jones Leads the Way
Lauren Pojman
Lauren Pojman

Dec. 4, 2011

AKRON, Ohio - The Illinois State swimming team finishes 4th after their third and final day of competition in the Zippy Invitational at Akron Sunday. Freshman Valerie Jones led the Redbirds, with a personal best performance in the 1650-yard freestyle (17:10.08), to finish fourth.

"Valerie swam a very smart race," head coach Steve Paska said. "She had a remarkable weekend, and is always an intense competitor. She had 3 personal best swims this weekend, and it was a fabulous way to finish her first Zippy Invite."

Along with the 1650-yard freestyle, Jones also had personal best times in the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard IM earlier in the weekend. Other notable performances in the 1650-yard freestyle came from senior Michele Stoeppelman, giving a season best performance (17:27.90), to finish 8th. Right behind Stoeppelman was freshman Cecilia Holmes, who had a personal best time of 17:28.08, to finish 9th. Junior Danielle Schumacher swam a season-best time in the event (17:28.77), to finish 10th.

Freshman Samantha Schuckles represented the Redbirds in the 200-yard backstroke finals, breaking her previous personal best time with a 2:04.60, to place 12th. Schuckles broke and rebroke the record for the 100-yard backstroke in the previous days of the weekend's competition.

Senior Lauren Pojman gave an outstanding performance this weekend, notably in the 200-yard breaststroke. Pojman knocked 5 seconds off her previous personal best time in the event during prelims with a time of 2:26.59. She then swam off another two seconds in the finals with a time of 2:24.24, placing 18th.



"Lauren had a fantastic weekend, and I am very proud of her performances," Paska said. "She has been an outstanding student-athlete for us for three and a half years, and she just continues to improve every year. She has unbeatable work ethic and passion. She is always a hard worker, and she really earned her accomplishments this weekend."

Junior Arica Woolbright swam in the 200-yard breaststroke with a season best time of 2:24.97, to finish 13th. Woolbright knocked two seconds off her time from her prelim swim Sunday morning. Senior Sarah Piechocinski swam a personal best time of 2:25.43 in the event, to finish 19th in the finals.

Junior Jeanette Nolte swam a personal best time in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:06.80, to finish 7th. Junior Sarah Rendek finished 8th in finals for event, and also swam a personal best time in the prelims with a 2:07.79. Senior Amber Siggins swam a season best time in the prelims with a time of 2:10.30, to finish 20th in the finals.

Freshman Katherine Nelson represented the redbirds in the 100-yard freestyle finals, finishing 12th with a personal best time of 52.69.

"There were numerous pool and meet records recorded during this meet," Paska said. "It was definitely the fastest Zippy meet in its history, and there was a lot of great competition. To finish fourth against a number of solid swimming programs this weekend is a great accomplishment and honor. I am very proud of our student-athletes and this was a great way to finish up the first part of the year for the Redbirds." Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.