Nov. 18, 2007
IRVINE, Calif.--- The University of New Mexico women's swimming team finished eighth, with a total of 379.5 points, at the Nike Cup Invitational hosted by the University of California Irvine. The Lobos finished 10th last year with 349 points.
The Lobos best performance came in the 200-yard freestyle where five swimmers had top-30 finishes. Sophomore Ashley Grisdale finished ninth in a time of 2:04.65, followed in 12th-place by Nanette Wittenberg (2:06.81), 23rd by Wilmarie Velez Santiago (2:10.22), in 24th by Jennifer Patterson (2:13.75), and 27th by Katrina McLoughlin (2.09.90).
UNM's second top-10 finish of the day came from members of the 400-yard freestyle relay team, Theresa Rogers, Patterson, McLoughlin, and Tori Clarridge with a time of 3:34.55. Sally Bellinger, Melissa Neary, Carly Hilo, and Andrea Zarins finished 25th in the same event (3:39.15).
"The team swam better than I had even hoped they would," said head coach Tracy Ljone. "We had numerous breakthrough performances. Every single person had a great meet. We dropped times in every race on the season bests and most of the team was right at their life-time best times which is a great sign this early in the season. We had a record number of ladies make it back to finals. "
Patterson led the way in the 200-yard backstroke with a 15th-place finish in a time of 2:08.22. She was followed by Ashley LaBree in 21st-place (2:08.87), and Lisa Toelle in 23rd (2:09.66). Clarridge placed 19th in the 100-yard freestlye, clocking a time of 52.81.
The 1600-yard freestlye proved to be another strong event for the Lobos. Freshman Jennifer Burgess finished 15th (17:48.34), followed by Bridget O'Hara in 16th (17:51.27) and Amina Adnan in 24th (18:09.66). Hilo recorded the best time in the 200-yard breaststroke with an 18th-place finish. In the same event Zarins finished 25th (2:26.29), immediately followed by Rogers in 26th (2:26.62).
"There were some nationally-ranked teams and individuals here and the girls raced with all of them. I am so proud of how the team swam this weekend, it is a great way to end the fall semester going into the winter break."
The Lobos return to action December 6 when they will face Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Ariz. at 3 p.m. Members of the diving team will travel to Austin, Texas, for the Texas Invitational hosted by The University of Texas, Nov. 29 through Dec. 1.