Feb. 16, 2012
PITTSBURGH, Pa.--For the third consecutive year at the BIG EAST Championships the women's swimming team broke a school record in the 800 freestyle relay and Villanova got off to a fast start in this year's conference meet at Trees Pool on Wednesday evening. The new school record in the 800 free relay was made even better by a runner-up finish for the Wildcats, who came in under the NCAA "B" cut by more than nine seconds.
Villanova beat its seed in the 800 free relay by five spots and finished with a time of 7:14.11, trailing only conference champion West Virginia in the event. The quartet of juniors Hayley Edwards (Pilesgrove, N.J.), Natalie Elphick (Durban, South Africa), Roxy Tammadge (Durban, South Africa) and freshman Katrin Heider (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany) will each earn All-BIG EAST honors for their performances on the relay.
"The 800 free relay has become a point of pride for our program," Wildcat head coach Rick Simpson said. "We are extremely excited about coming in second tonight. We started out as the No. 7 seed and thought it would be a four-team race. I was hoping we could break into that top four and grabbing the second spot it huge for the team. Hayley swimming a split of 1:47 in the leadoff leg was tremendous and overall this relay finish gets the entire team off to a great start at the meet."
Edwards, Elphick and Tammadge have each been a part of all three record-setting relays in the past three years. This year they broke their own record in the 800 free relay by nearly two seconds after swimming a time of 7:15.97 at last year's BIG EAST Championships in Louisville. Villanova came in third in the relay last year, making this the second straight meet where the Wildcats have garnered all-conference honors in the meet's opening relay.
The official split for Edwards in the first leg of the relay was 1:47.57 and Elphick then followed with a time of 1:49.92 to bring Villanova to the midpoint of the relay. At that point the Wildcats stood in third place but trailed Notre Dame by little more than half a second. By the time Tammadge swam a split of 1:48.23 in the third leg Villanova had solidified itself in second place with a nearly two-second lead over the Fighting Irish. Heider anchored the relay with a split of 1:48.39.
Wednesday evening's opening session of the BIG EAST Championships concluded with the 200 medley relay in which the Wildcats tied for sixth place with a time of 1:42.82. That time was also a school record and broke the mark that Villanova set last season by a mere one-hundredth of a second.
Senior Yolana Du Plessis (Boksburg, South Africa) led off the 200 medley relay and was followed by junior Erin Malone (Sydney, Australia), Edwards and freshman Sarah Aemisegger (Oreland, Pa.). Du Plessis and Malone also occupied the first two legs of last year's record-setting relay.
Heading into the first full day of individual and relay competition on Thursday the Wildcats stand in sixth place in the women's team rankings with 66 points accrued through the first two relays.
COMPLETE VILLANOVA RESULTS
Wednesday Evening Session at BIG EAST Championships
Trees Pool (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Women's 800 Yard Freestyle Relay
Villanova 2nd of 11 7:14.11 Hayley Edwards 1st Leg (Leadoff) 1:47.47 Natalie Elphick 2nd Leg 1:49.92 Roxy Tammadge 3rd Leg 1:48.23 Katrin Heider 4th Leg (Anchor) 1:48.39
Women's 200 Yard Medley Relay
Villanova tie-6th of 11 1:42.82 Yolana Du Plessis 1st Leg 26.15 Erin Malone 2nd Leg 28.63 Hayley Edwards 3rd Leg 24.80 Sarah Aemisegger 4th Leg 23.24