Category Archives: Swimming/Diving

SWIMMING: Donahue misses cut in 200 Fly, WKU finishes 25th at NCAAs

Junior swimmer Claire Donohue qualified 17th in Saturday’s NCAA Swimming Championships 200 Fly preliminaries, one spot shy of making the finals for the event.

Donahue, the Sun Belt Conference Female Swimmer of the Year, placed 18th in the 200-yard butterfly and 20th in the 100-yard butterfly as a sophomore. She’ll have one more shot at the 2011 NCAAs to make the 200 Fly finals.

Donahue’s efforts alone tallied enough points to tie Western in 25th place at the Championships.

She finished fourth in Friday’s 100 Fly final.

Neither Donahue nor Head Coach Bruce Marchionda could be reached for comment following today’s meet.

Jeremy Brown

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SWIMMING: Donahue finishes fourth in 100 Fly, 17th in 200 Fly prelims

Junior Claire Donahue followed up on her fourth-place qualifying effort Friday to nab a fourth-place finish in the finals of the 100 Fly at the NCAA Swimming Championships, completing her swim less than a half second behind NCAA Champion Elaine Breeden of Stanford.

“This is a pretty special night for Claire and for the WKU program,” Head Coach Bruce Marchionda said. ” It has been fun to watch her progression over the past three years.”

Donahue went to the NCAA Championships last year as well but did not score. By making the finals of the 100 Fly on Friday, she became only the second Western swimmer ever — as well as the first woman — to ever get there.

Donahue now looks ahead to Saturday’s 200 Fly, where Marchionda said her goal is to finish 16th or better.

“She is going to use the performance that she had today to motivate her to perhaps come back tomorrow and place in the 200 Fly,” Marchionda said.

Jonathan Lintner

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SWIMMING: Donahue seeded fourth at NCAAs

Western Kentucky junior swimmer Claire Donahue’s time of 52.24 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships preliminary round Friday morning was fast enough to place her among the top-eight swimmers for this evening’s finals.

The Championships are being held at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Donahue’s time, which has her seeded fourth, guarantees her a medal in the event, making her the first woman in Western history to do so.

Placing in the top eight finishers also solidifies her status as an All-American swimmer.

The University of Southern California’s Lindsey Deppaul is seeded first in the event with a time of 51.67. Finals will take place at 6 p.m. CT.

“She’s in a position where anything can happen,” said Head Coach Bruce Marchionda. “Time is irrelevant at this point. She just has to go out and race.”

Jeremy Brown

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Swimming: Donahue seeded for nationals

Junior butterflyer Claire Donahue has known that she would be competing in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships for nearly two weeks now.

But on Wednesday, the news became official.

Donahue will be swimming both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.. on March 18-20.

Donahue’s Sun Belt Conference record time of 51.95 seconds in the 100-yard butterfly at the conference championships on February 19 was the fastest time in the country at that point. After last weekend’s Pac-10 and Big 12 Conference championship meets, however, Donahue is seeded with the fourth fastest time in a field of 44 competitors.

Donahue also received entry into the field of 42 swimmers competing in the 200-yard butterfly. Her time of 1:56.97 is seeded as the 22nd best.

“It all comes down to training,” Donahue said. “I think I’ve done what I’ve needed to do.”

This will be Donahue’s second consecutive appearance at the championship meet. She placed 20th in the 100-yard butterfly and 18th in the 200-yard butterfly last year.

Head Coach Bruce Marchionda has said throughout the season that Donahue is one of the fastest butterflyers in the nation, and she will have a chance to prove that two weeks from today. Top-16 finishers will be named honorable-mention All-Americans while the top eight finishers will medal and be named All-Americans. Medaling in the 100-yard butterfly has been a goal of Donahue’s and Marchionda’s all year.

“If everything goes well, if she swims how she’s capable of swimming, she’ll definitely finish top eight,” Marchionda said. “That’s been the goal since the beginning of the season.”

Jeremy Brown

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Swimmer headed to nationals

Junior butterflyer Claire Donahue has propelled the Lady Toppers throughout the season with her dominance in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events while also contributing her skills to the 200- and 400-yard medley relays.

Her outstanding performance in the water not only led the women’s swimming and diving team to a third straight Sun Belt title but has also landed her a spot in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships March 18-20 at Purdue University in the 100-yard butterfly.

Donahue finished 20th in the 100 butterfly at last year’s NCAA meet and 18th in the 200 butterfly. Her Sun Belt Conference record time of 51.95 in the 100 butterfly during last weekend’s conference championships is the fastest time in the nation this season thus far, according to collegeswimming.com.

The Pac-10 Conference and the Big 12, considered the two most dominant conferences in women’s collegiate swimming, are set to swim their conference championship meets this week. However, Donahue’s time earned her an “A” cut, ensuring her a spot in the NCAA championships.

“I think I’ve improved enough this year to finish top eight,” Donahue said. “That’s been my goal all season.”

A top-eight finish would notch Donahue All-American honors, wmaking her the first All-American Head Coach Bruce Marchionda has coached at Western. He coached two All-Americans during his tenure at Clemson. When asked if Donahue could become Western’s first national championship swimmer Marchionda was taken aback.

“Let’s not even talk about that,” he said. “If everything goes well, if she swims how she’s capable of swimming, she’ll definitely finish top eight. That’s been the goal all season.”

Donahue also picked up a “B” cut in the 200 butterfly.

“It’s kind of a weird formula” Marchionda said of the cut process. “They analyze all the times but basically what it comes down to is you need to be top 24 in the country. Then they’ll fill in event by event until all events are even.”

Also earning a “B” cut for the Lady Toppers last weekend was freshman backstroker Hilary Mishler. Mishler’s time of 1:56.92 in the 200-yard backstroke at last Saturday’s finals was a Sun Belt Conference meet record. Marchionda said that the Lady Toppers also have an outside shot of advancing either their 200- or 400-yard medley relay to the NCAA championships.

Senior freestyler Sean Penahle was the only Topper to pick up a “B” cut last week. Penhale’s time of 15:11 in the 1650-yard freestyle has him ranked near the top 10 in the country Marchionda said.

“Hilary and Sean will both be really close,” Marchionda said.

The swimming and diving season is over for the majority of the Toppers and Lady Toppers, but this weekend will present an opportunity for a few swimmers to improve their times for possible NCAA cuts at the Championship Qualification meet in Knoxville, Tenn.

Marchionda said he will be taking junior Brittany Doss, Penhale, and a handful of women swimmers to the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatics Center to improve their times. He said Penhale has a good shot at picking up a “B” cut in the 200-yard freestyle while hoping Doss can drop time in her 100-yard breaststroke to pick up her cut.

“We’re going to take a couple people who we think can go a little faster,” Marchionda said. “We call it a last chance meet because it’s the last chance to try and put up some better times.”

Jeremy Brown

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Sun Belt honors WKU swimmer, diver

The Sun Belt Conference named freshman Luke Musser its male Swimmer of the Week, while freshman Kylie Ruiz was named the female Diver of the Week.

Musser won the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke in Saturday’s season-opening meet against Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami (Fla.) in Atlanta.

Ruiz finished third in the three-meter diving competition.

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