Dec. 1, 2011
MADISON, Wis. -- The Texas Invitational kicked off on Thursday, as the Badgers embarked on arguably their toughest challenge so far this year.
The men went up against a field where five of eight teams were ranked in the NCAA’s top 25. While on the women’s side of things, four of the eight teams competing were ranked in the top 25.
Lester was one of two top-eight individual finishers for the Badgers on the first day. Lester finished eighth in the 100-yard butterfly (47.52) and posted an NCAA B qualifying time in the process. Lester also challenged in the 200 IM placing ninth with a time of 147.67. The time was also fast enough for a NCAA B qualifying time. Also for the men, Michael Weiss placed ninth in the 500 free with a time of 4:25.44.
In the 400 medley relay, the men’s ‘A’ team of Weiss, Lester, Garret Mulchrone and Wes Lagerhausen claimed a ninth-place finish with a time of 3:16.56.
For the women, Rebecka Palm claimed an eighth-place finish in the 100 fly (54.09), but posted a faster NCAA B qualifying time of 53.56 in the prelims. Beckie Thompson raced to an eleventh-place finish in the 50 free with a time of 22.67, but also put up a faster NCAA B time of 55.61 in prelims.
In the 500 free, Aja Van Hout missed the qualifying mark for the ‘A’ finals in the prelims by just a mere .02 seconds, posting a time of 4:47.33. She would take home a 15th-place finish with a time of 4:51.86. Monika Stitski and Danielle Beckwith were also in the mix in the 500 free, as Beckwith bester her prelim time to claim a 12th-place finish (4:46.63). Stitski finished right behind Beckwith in 13th with a time of 4:48.11.
The Badgers also made their presence felt in the 200 IM, as Laura Miller (15th) and Van Hout (16th) posted times of 2:02.90 and 2:0.04, respectively.
Underscoring the level of competition at the meet is the fact that Pal, Thompson, Van Hout, Stitski and Beckwith all posted NCAA B qualifying times, whether in the prelims or finals.
In relay competition the Badgers took home a fifth-place finish in the 200 free relay as Thompson, Palm, Ivy Martin and Ruby Martin raced to a time of 1:30.40. In the 400 medley relay, Ashley Wanland, Amie Osten, Palm and Thompson claimed sixth with a time of 3:38.51.
The Badgers return to the pool tomorrow for day two of competition. The Texas Invitational will conclude on Saturday.