WVUSports.com

WVU Earns One Silver and Two Bronze On Day 2

  • By Samantha Strejeck
  • |
  • February 23, 2017 10:43 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  – The West Virginia University swimming and diving team won a silver medal and two bronze medals on the second day of the 2017 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship in Austin, Texas, on Thursday.
 
 
The Mountaineers won the silver medal in the men’s 400 medley relay and won bronze medals in the women’s 200 individual medley and the women’s 400 medley relay.
 
West Virginia advanced nine swimmers and divers to the A finals and 15 to the B finals in Thursday’s competition. Additionally, four Mountaineers earned NCAA B qualifying times in their respective events, on top of six swimmers etching their names on WVU’s top-10 all-time list.
 
“A very strong night,” said coach Vic Riggs. “We did a great job this morning getting people in the right heats tonight. Our 500 freestylers were really good tonight. Emma (Skelley) and Trayton (Saladin) led the way with a fourth and fifth-place finish. Morgan (Bullock) had a great 200 individual medley, finishing third, followed by Luke's (Hene) sixth-place finish in the men's 200 individual medley. Then Julia (Nilton) and Merwane (El Merini) had great 50 freestyle’s, finishing fifth and sixth.
 
“I think the most excited part is we had best times by over 90% of our finalist tonight, and we had a freshmen in four of our six A finals.”
 
With only being a freshman, Morgan Bullock earned bronze in the A final of the 200 individual medley, where she swam an NCAA B qualifying and career-best time of 2:00.80. Bullock now holds the second-fastest time in WVU history in the event, just over a second short of reaching alum Breanna McCann’s 1:59.27 set in 2013.
 
Freshmen Luke Hene and Jack Portmann led the WVU men as they advanced to the A final in the 200 individual medley. Hene touched the wall in sixth with a time of 1:49.83, and Portmann placed eighth in 1:50.55.
 
The Mountaineers showed a strong performance in relay competition. A WVU silver-medal men’s team of sophomore Merwane El Merini, sophomore Jake Armstrong, freshman Jack Frazier and sophomore Drew Damich finished second in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:14.30.
 
The WVU women’s team of junior Amelie Currat, sophomore Emma Harris, freshman Morgan Carr and freshman Julia Nilton won bronze in the 400 medley relay, touching the wall in 3:40.65.
 
In the women’s 500 freestyle, senior Emma Skelley advanced to the A final thanks with an NCAA B cut and career-best prelim time of 4:46.45, where she placed fourth overall in 4:46.76.
 
For the men, two Mountaineers advanced to the A finals of the 500 freestyle, with two earning top-10 times. Freshman Trayton Saladin placed fifth with a personal-best time of 4:25.31, the sixth-fastest time at WVU. Following in sixth place was teammate freshman Ryan Kelly with a 4:26.69, the seventh-fastest time in Mountaineer history.
 
West Virginia advanced one to the A final in both the men's and women’s 50 freestyle. For the men, sophomore Merwane El Merini placed fifth with an NCAA B qualifying and career-best time of 19.59, to set WVU’s third-fastest time. In the women’s race, freshman Julia Nilton advanced to the A finals, placing sixth overall after a prelim and NCAA B-cut time of 22.95. Nilton’s prelim time marks the third-fastest time in school history.
 
On springboard, three Mountaineer women's divers all advanced to the finals on 1-meter. Sophomore Averly Hobbs advanced to the finals after a 265.50 in the prelims, placing fifth overall with a score of 263.80. Sophomore Julia Calcut scored a 269.75 in the prelims to advance to the final, where she scored 263.55 to place sixth, and sophomore Madelyn Woods placed seventh in the finals (248.75) after a 272.40 in the prelims.
 
“Tonight was a very good night for the divers,” said diving coach Michael Grapner. “I'm really happy with the results and their performances. I have been encouraging confident and aggressive diving for the girls, and I definitely saw that today. The girls are off to a very good start and looking forward to a competitive 3-meter competition tomorrow.
 
“Along with a great performance from our women divers, finishing fifth, sixth and seventh, we are in a great battle for second place going into the last two days.”
 
On the first day, the Mountaineer men won silver medals in all three events, the 200 medley relay, 800 freestyle relay and 1-meter springboard, with junior Michael Proietto’s school record on 1-meter.
 
Proietto won silver with a school-record score of 366.58. West Virginia earned its second silver medal in the men’s 200 medley relay, thanks to a team of freshman Luke Hene, sophomore Jake Armstrong, freshman Jack Frazier and sophomore Merwane El Merini. The squad crossed the finish line in 1:28.71. In the men’s 800 freestyle relay a squad of freshman Ryan Kelly, sophomore Drew Damich, freshman Trayton Saaldin and junior Chris McMahon touched the wall in 6:32.00 to earn silver and marking the second-fastest time in WVU history.
 
Each day of the Big 12 Championship will begin with preliminary events at 11:00 a.m. ET. The finals will follow in the evening.
 
FloSports is providing live video coverage of the Big 12 Championship on FloSwimming.com. Fans can also follow the meet live at sidearmstats.com. Additional championship information is available at Big12sports.com.
 
2017 Big 12 Championship’s Schedule of Events:
Note: For each individual swimming event, the women's event will be swum first, followed by the men's event. Championship relays will be swum prior to B relays.
 
Friday, Feb. 24
Preliminaries – 11 a.m. ET
100 butterfly
400 individual medley
200 freestyle
100 breaststroke
100 backstroke
200 freestyle relay
 
1 p.m. ET: Women’s 3-meter diving
3:30 p.m. ET: Men’s 3-meter diving
 
Finals – 6 p.m. ET
Women’s 3-meter diving
 
7 p.m. ET:
100 butterfly
400 individual medley
200 freestyle
100 breaststroke
100 backstroke
Men’s 3-meter diving
200 freestyle relay
 
Saturday, Feb. 25
Preliminaries – 11 a.m. ET
200 backstroke
100 freestyle
200 breaststroke
200 butterfly
400 freestyle relay
 
12:45 p.m. ET: Men’s platform diving
3:40 p.m. ET: Women’s platform diving
 
Finals – 5:30 p.m. ET
Men's platform diving 
 
7 p.m. ET
200 backstroke
100 freestyle
**1,650 freestyle
200 breaststroke
200 butterfly
Women’s platform diving       
400 freestyle relay
** The start times for all but the final heat of the 1650 will be set to finish heats by 6:00 PM
 
For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow the team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.