Theresa Michalak broke her own conference record in the 200 IM on Thursday, finishing the race in 1:58.07 on the first day of the NSISC Championships. Led by Michalak’s victory and the 200 Medley Relay team, the 10th-ranked University of West Florida swimming and diving team stands in second place after the first day of competition.
No. 8 Lindenwood leads the meet with 221.5 points, No. 10 UWF has 178, and No. 3 Delta State is in third with 162.
“That final was one of the more fun sessions we’ve had in our history at this event,” head coach Andrew Hancock said at the end of the night. “Everyone made some tremendous adjustments from the morning, got aggressive and really showed off tonight. We’re trying to focus on the process a little bit and not worry too much about the points. We feel like if we focus on our effort, the points will take care of themselves, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Michalak was dominant in her 200 IM win, posting faster times than all of her competitors in each 50-yard leg. The wire-to-wire win is Michalak’s second in the event and her fifth individual NSISC Championship, tying her with Peggy de Villiers for the most in UWF history. Her A-cut time of 1:58.07 was good for a nearly five-second cushion over Anastasiia Manakova of Henderson State. Pia Hulley, Ana de Paula, Sophia Oliva and Amelia Strom each scored points for UWF.
UWF had great runs in the 200 Medley Relay and the 50 Free, with a victory in the relay and two top-five finishes in the sprint.
The 200 Medley Relay team of Hulley, Michalak, Taby Read-Cayton and Danica Burnett posted one of the strongest times in the event in UWF history, coming up just 0.03 seconds short of tying the school record. Michalak’s leg was the fastest in the pool and Burnett’s was the second-fastest anchor leg in the event. West Florida also took the win in the B Final, adding valuable points to the team score. Nicole Machado, Gabrielle Spangenberg, Lauren Johnson and Mariana de Paula put together a 1:46.41 to help UWF stretch its lead over Delta State to end the first evening of action.
Read-Cayton and Burnett arguably stood out even more in the 50 Free, where the freshman Read-Cayton took silver and Burnett took fifth, with a 23.49 and a 23.70, respectively. UWF had five student-athletes add points in the B Final, with Mariana de Paula (24.17) and Lauren Johnson (24.76) scoring personal bests.
Madeline Pitt picked up a bronze in the 1000 Free with a 10:10.33, good for a personal best and a B-cut. The race also saw Angelina Gallastegui and Rebecca Halfast pick up points for the Argonauts.
The 200 Free Relay, 400 IM, 100 Fly, 1-meter Diving and 400 Medley Relay are on tap for tomorrow evening at the DSU Aquatic Center. UWF has the fastest times in the conference in both relays, while Michalak holds the fastest NSISC time in the 100 Fly and Monica Amaral is the reigning national champion in the 1-meter event.
“We’ve got some good divers going tomorrow and we’ve got some good swims coming up tomorrow,” Hancock said. “We feel there are some points to grab there.”
Action continues on Thursday morning at 10 for prelims, and the evening finals session will begin at 5 pm. Links for live scoring and a live video broadcast, which costs $8, are available on GoArgos.com.