INDIANAPOLIS - The 2013 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships came to a close today in Indiana University’s Natatorium. Columbia swimmers Katie Meili and Alena Kluge swam their final events of the season in day three of competition. The pair had a big day as they both set individual program records and gave Columbia its best national team ranking since the 1998 season at No. 21 in the country.
Kluge began the day in the prelims racing in the 200 backstroke. The junior posted a solid morning swim as she hit the wall in a school record time of 1:58.29 for 48th place. Kluge broke her own record of 1:58.99 set in this season’s Ivy League Championships earlier this month.
The 400 IM Ivy League champion has raised the bar in her third season at Columbia. Kluge had a solid showing in the 400 IM as the Ivy League’s sole representation in the event at NCAA’s. The All-Ivy League honoree finished with a time of 4:18.84 for 43rd place. The Toronto, Canada native also competed in the 200 IM on the first day of action and claimed 47th place overall with the third best time of her career at 2:00.07.
Meili capped a phenomenal NCAA Championships run with a record performance in the 200 breaststroke. She clocked in with a program record time of 2:08.93 in the morning prelim heat for ninth-place overall. She went on to win the consolation finals with a new school and Ivy League record time of 2:08.00 to maintain ninth-place and earn All-American honorable mention in the event.
On opening day at NCAA’s, the Colleyville, Texas native earned her first of two first team All-America honors this season with a seventh-place finish in the 200 IM. A school and Ivy League record time of 1:54.72 set a high mark for a fantastic three day meet.
She returned in day two of action to grab first team All-America honors in the 100 breast for a second straight season. With a third place finish time of 59.14, Meili claimed the second highest NCAA finish in school history since Cristina Teuescher’s championship finishes in the 1998 and 2000 seasons.
For the second consecutive season, Meili has displayed great showings on the biggest collegiate stage. In the 2012 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, Meili highlighted her junior season with the programs first All-America honor since Cristina Teushcer in 2000. On the first day of competition, she captured All-America honorable mention with a tenth-place overall finish in the 200 IM with a time of 1:56.73
Meili’s second day garnered another impressive performance in the100 breast as she hit the wall at 59.44 for a fifth place finish. With a top-five finish, she captured All-America honors for the first time in the event and Columbia capped the 2011-12 season with a national top 25 team finish.
The three-time first team All-American holds three Ivy Leauge records, five individual program records and is a member of all four school record relay squads. The multi-dimensional swimmer set five Columbia records this season, including an Ivy League record time of 58.44 in the 100 breast, which was her first of three conference records on the year. Meili has put together an outstanding career at Columbia and stands as one of the Ivy League’s all-time greatest swimmers, earning back-to-back Swimmer of the Meet awards at the 2012 and 2013 Ivy League Championships.
With 37 total points, the Columbia swimming and diving team finished 21st at the NCAA Championships, the highest finish in program history since a No. 20 finish in the 1998 championships. A stellar year for the Lions saw Columbia capture third place in the Ivy League Championships with the highest point total in school history at 1132. The Lions posted a 6-2 dual meet regular season record and finished the year setting a combined 24 pool records at Princeton, Rutgers, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth and at Columbia's Uris Pool.