Relay earns Big Ten record on first day of NCAA championships


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March 20, 2014

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- On a day where not many expected the University of Wisconsin women’s swimming and diving team to make huge strides, the squad performed just as head coach Whitney Hite had expected: phenomenally.

On the strength of a pair of top-8 finishes, one from junior Ivy Martin in the 50-yard freestyle and the other from 200-yard freestyle relay squad, the Badgers ended the first day of competition at the 2014 NCAA Championships in 10th place with 41 points.

“We had a really great day,” Hite said. “To score 41 points (on the first day) when we’re only projected to score 56 (for the entire meet), that’s a huge chunk of points we’re earning right off the bat.”

Wisconsin’s 200 free relay set the tone in the first event of finals, earning a sixth-place finish (1:27.97) while setting both a Big Ten and school record.

Martin, along with senior Rebecka Palm, junior Aja Van Hout and freshman Chase Kinney, swam the relay and earned UW a valuable 26 points, erasing the previous Big Ten record by nearly a second.

Martin also returned to the pool to earn a podium spot in the 50 free (21.79), earning NCAA All-America honors for the second-straight season with her fourth-place performance on Thursday evening.

“This was tough for (Ivy), but she really did a great job,” Hite said. “She had a lot of swims this morning and for her to be fourth in the nation is a great accomplishment.

"Needless to say I'm very proud of her.”

The NCAA championships resume Friday, March 21 with prelims beginning at 11 a.m. (CT). Finals are slated to start at 7 p.m. with the 200-yard medley relay event.

“We’re swimming great and I’m very proud of the way the women competed today,” Hite added. “They did an awesome job and they didn't get a lot of opportunities but I’m really proud of the way they’re maximizing the chances they are given.”

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