Representatives from the University of Wisconsin mens and womens swim teams posted 12 top-10 finishes Friday on the first day of the 2006 Mel Zajac Jr. International Swim Meet in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Head coach Eric Hansen was impressed by the way his athletes competed in their first meet in over two months.
This was the first time weve raced since the NCAA championships, Hansen said, and from top to bottom, Im just very pleased with the way we performed today.
Former Badger and current UW Volunteer Assistant Adam Mania led the Badger effort on Friday. Mania, who represented Poland at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, earned twin third-place finishes in the 200-meter backstroke (2:04.86) and the 50-meter butterfly (25.45).
Junior Tom Molzahn (Barrington, Ill.) was the only current UW athlete to notch two top-10 finishes. Molzahn finished fifth in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 1:55.85 and sixth in the 50-meter butterfly at 25.89.
Mania and Molzahn were joined in the final heat of the 50-meter butterfly by sophomore Tommy Gregory (Cedarburg, Wis.) and freshman Scott Rice (Des Moines, Wash.). Gregory finished eighth in 26.31 while Rice claimed fourth place with a time of 25.64, however Rice is not competing with the Wisconsin club at the event.
Sophomore Jenny Gelden (Kenosha, Wis.) recorded the best finish by a current UW woman swimmer at the meet. Gelden finished in seventh place in the 50-meter butterfly in a time of 29.13.
Former Badger and Olympian Carly Piper earned fourth place in the 200-meter freestyle (2:04.14) for the best finish by a UW woman. Freshman Jen Illescas (East Elmhurst, N.Y.), who is scheduled to race in a team-high seven events this weekend, finished in 10th place in the same event with a time of 2:07.94.
Coach Hansen believes that Illescas is a good example of the improvement being made by all of his athletes so far this off-season.
Jen is someone who has represented the U.S. on the junior team," Hansen said. "Her progress is steady and she learns each time she competes. As a team, we were so young this past year, but our commitment to work this spring is already very evident.
Another highlight of the day on Friday was a fourth-place finish by freshman Eric Johnson (Federal Way, Wash.) in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:06.55). Johnson is the only Badger scheduled to compete in the 200-meter breaststroke on Saturday.
The Badgers will look to continue their success when the 2006 Mel Zajac Jr. International Meet resumes Saturday morning in Vancouver, British Columbia. Live results for the event can be found at http://www.pacificdolphins.com/meets/2006/zajac/results while daily recaps can be found at uwbadgers.com.