Minneapolis, Minn. - The Nebraska swimming and diving team completed the first round of preliminary events on Thursday morning at the Big Ten Championships held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. The Huskers competed in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard IM, and the 50-yard freestyle.
In the first preliminary swimming event of the morning, Bailey Pons finished 21st in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:49.49. Morgan Flannigan and Ashleigh Grammar each posted career-best times, finishing the event in 39th (4:55.23) and 58th (5:03.28), respectively.
500-Yard Freestyle Results
21st - Bailey Pons, 4:49.49
39th - Morgan Flannigan, 4:55.23 (season best)
58th - Ashleigh Grammar, 5:03.28 (season best)
64th - Michaela Cunningham, 5:20.92
Eight Huskers competed in the 200-yard IM preliminaries, including Katie Davis who finished 40th. Her time of 2:03.27 was a career best for the senior, and it moved her into seventh all-time on the Nebraska 200-yard IM list.
Natalie Morris and Ellan Dufour finished back-to-back in 54th and 55th for the Huskers. The duo posted times of 2:04.75 and 2:04.77, respectively.
200 IM Results
40th - Katie Davis, 2:03.27 (career best)
54th - Natalie Morris, 2:04.75 (career best)
55th - Ellan Dufour, 2:04.77
66th - Ashley Reiter, 2:05.92 (career best)
69th - Kelsey Larson, 2:06.24
74th - Samantha Hardewig, 2:07.04 (career best)
75th - Kristin Strecker, 2:07.10 (season best)
88th - Melisa Mexia, 2:11.19 (career best)
The 50-yard freestyle preliminaries saw Taryn Collura finish fifth and break the all-time Nebraska record with a time of 22.42 seconds. Olympic Medalist Therese Alshammar was the previous record-holder for the Huskers with her 1999 time of 22.58 seconds.
Ariel Weech finished in 13th with a career-best time of 22.81 seconds, moving her into third all-time on the Husker 50-yard freestyle list. Shannon Guy also posted a career-best time of 23.17 seconds, finishing in 25th place.
Both Collura and Weech earned NCAA B Cuts with their times and will advance to Thursday evening's finals. Weech will compete in the B Finals while Collura will have a shot at gold in the A Finals.
50-Yard Freestyle Results
5th - Taryn Collura, 22.42 (career best/school record)
13th - Ariel Weech, 22.81 (career best)
25th - Shannon Guy, 23.17 (career best)
52nd - Rebekah Land, 23.77 (career best)
60th - Kelly Dunn, 23.95
76th - Megan Ziemann, 24.68 (season best)
77th - Sara Weinberg, 24.75 (career best)
Head Coach Pablo Morales was pleased by how well the team performed and excited for Thursday evening's session.
"We were seeded well in the 50 Free and our girls really came through," Morales said. "We have one in the finals and one in the consolation finals, so we are guaranteed two point-scoring individual swims in tonight's session. We are also leading off the session with the 200-yard freestyle relay, which has been a strength of ours this season, so hopefully we can get the session off to a great start."
The Big Ten Championship's third session, including the finals of the 200-yard IM, 500-yard freestyle, 50-yard freestyle and one-meter dive, will take place tonight beginning at 6:30 p.m. Check back in to Huskers.com and follow @HuskerSwim on Twitter for updates.