Record Breaking Day for the Redbirds
Marissa Yonts
Marissa Yonts

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Dec. 6, 2013

AKRON, OHIO - Illinois State swimming and diving is in first-place after their first day of competition at the Zippy Invitational with a final score of 484. Junior Marissa Yontz along with other swimmers and divers led the way to first-place with their record breaking day.

The Illinois State 50-yard freestyle record was broken today by Yontz. She placed second in the prelims with a record breaking time of 23.52. She continued onto the finals earning fourth place with a time of 23.54. Head coach Steve Paska believes today's performance is a reflection of her efforts this season.

"Marissa has an outstanding fall record," said Paska. "Today's performance reflected her hard work and it was a great way for her to start off the Zippy invite."

The Redbirds started the Zippy Invitational with the 200-yard freestyle relay. Erica Halley, Sammy Schuckles, Katherine Nelson and Yontz helped Illinois State finish first today with several season best splits and a final time of 1:34.38. Claire Haggerty, Laura Paskoff, Lexi Nash and Kristin Verkler also finished in the top ten of the 200-yard freestyle relay earning fifth-place (1:37.92).

"Both relay teams who participated in the 200-yard freestyle relay were instrumental to gaining momentum in the final portion of the meet tonight," said Paska. "It was important for both relay teams to place as high as possible in this event. This relay event was a huge contribution to Illinois State placing so high tonight."

Cecilia Holmes earned seventh-place in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:04.20, which was also a season best. Following Holmes with season bests in the 500-yard freestyle were Yvette Kruk earning eleventh-place (5:05.26), Valerie Jones placing thirteenth (5:07.30) and Keely Hunt with a time of 5:12.30.

Continuing with the momentum of the night Courtney Taylor earned fifth-place in the 200-yard IM with a season best of 2:06.94. Haggerty (2:07.88), Allison Soper (2:15.51) and April Livingston (2:16.53) also put up a personal bests in the 200-yard IM during the invite, and Verkler clocked a season best at 2:09.90.

During the 50-yard freestyle in the prelims Halley earned a season best of 23.82 putting her in fifth-place. Along with Halley, Nelson (24.10) and Pasoff (24.69) set season bests in the 50-yeard freestyle. Sammy Schuckles set a personal best of 24.19 in the finals landing her ninth-place overall.

"Tonight's big finish was a solid way for us to end the evening session from start to close," said Pask. "I am happy with the student-athletes performance especially those who helped build momentum throughout the night."

In diving, Wenting Zhang earned first-place in both the prelims and finals on the 1-meter board. Zhang scored 282.45 in the prelims and 295.40 in the finals. Diving coach Phil Hoffmann is proud of today's performance and looks forward to tomorrow's competition.

"Zhang had a solid performance tonight and this will help us evaluate what she needs to be working on over the winter months, said Hoffmann. "For us this meet is always about helping the team out in scoring points. Today's performance was definitely a step in the right direction. Zhang and Maggie Kopp did an excellent job at leading the divers today and I look forward to seeing how the team will perform tomorrow. All four of the divers are getting ready for tomorrows competition and I and looking forward to seeing them compete as a group."

The Redbirds will begin the second day of the invitational with the preliminary rounds at 9 a.m. eastern time and the finals are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Live results for the Zippy Invitational can be found at http://wagonwheelchallenge.com/swimstats/ Live streaming for the Zippy Invitational can be found at http://www.mac-sports.com/Schools/Akron/LiveStreaming.aspx GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.