March 20, 2003
AUBURN, Ala. - Preliminaries have begun at the 2003 NCAA Championships from the James E. Martin Aquatic Center in Auburn, Ala, and Arizona women's swimming and diving squad has qualified for the consolation final in one event, the 200y free relay and the championship final in another, the 400y medley relay.
In Thursday's opening event, the Wildcat quartet of sophomore Jessica Hayes and freshman Jenna Gresdal, Lisa Pursley and Marshi Smith finished 12th in the preliminaries in a season-best time of 1:32.11.
The Wildcats once again came through in the concluding event of Thursday's preliminaries. Arizona's 400y medley relay squad of senior Beth Botsford, junior Jessica Wagner, Pursley and Hayes finished second in their heat, sixth overall, in a season-best mark of 3:36.79.
The eighth through 16th place teams qualify for the evening's consolation final, and the Wildcats will be right in the midst later Thursday evening.
Elsewhere, Smith established a new personal best in the 50y free when she touched the wall in 23.33 en route to a 39th place finish.
Arizona boasted two swimmers both the 50 and 500y free. In the 500y, sophomore Emily Mason finished 17th, one spot short of the consolation finals (4:47.17). Teammate freshman Katie Willis placed 46th in the event in a time of 4:54.09. In the 50y, Hayes finished 53rd while Gresdal earned 57th with times of 23.44 and 23.58, respectively.
The Championships resume Thursday night at 7 pm (CST) with the championship and consolation finals of the events contested in the morning preliminaries.
Day One Event Competitor Prelims Finals Place 200 Freestyle Relay Hayes (23.30), Smith (22.78) 1:32.11 Gresdal (23.02), Pursley (23.01) 500 Freestyle Emily Mason 4:47.17 -------- 17th Katie Willis 4:54.09 -------- 46th 50 Freestyle Marshi Smith 23.33 -------- 39th Jessica Hayes 23.44 -------- 53rd Jenna Gresdal 23.58 -------- 57th 400 Medley Relay Botsford (52.91), Wagner (1:00.28) 3:36.79 Pursley (53.71), Hayes (49.89)