KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After a solid opening day of competition at the 2013 AT&T US Winter National Champions on Thursday, the Columbia women’s swim team returned for day two at the Allan Jones Aquatic on Friday, Dec. 5. The Lions began with its best morning prelims session of the weekend and made some noise in the evening finals sessions.
The 9 a.m. preliminaries began with 19 squads competing in the 200 medley relay. The quartet of Gabbie Tobak, Jennifer Shahar, Christina Ray and Mikaila Gaffey combined for a eight-place time of 1:41.96 to move on to the championship finals. The foursome put on its best performance in the finals to capture seventh place overall, with a time of 1:41.35.
The 400 IM was a Columbia sprinkled event on Friday. Alena Kluge led Lions in the morning session with a 12th-place finish time of 4:19.55, marking a spot in the bonus finals. The senior went on to place 13th overall after fifth-place finish in the ‘B’ finals, hitting the wall in a time of 4:18.96. Both Mallory Mckeon and Kristine Ng also earned consolation finals appearances behind a prelim 21st-place time of 4:27.02 (McKeon) and a 23rd-place time of 4:27.06 (Ng).
As a bonus, the Lions were more than happy to cheer on former swimmer Katie Meili ‘13CC, who put on an amazing performance in the 100 breast. The Texas native grabbed a runner-up finish in the championship finals with a time of 59.03, only trailing a meet record performance by winner Ali Atkinson. Gaffey also had a fourth-place finish in the consolation finals in the 100 breast, clocking in with a time of 1:02.43.
DAY ONE RECAP
On Thursday, Dec. 4, a number of Columbia swimmers kicked-off the first day of competition at the 2013 AT&T US Winter National Championships. After five events, the Lions finished the day in fifth among the 15 college teams who scored points.
For the second straight year, the Lions showed well in the women’s 200 IM. With a 23rd-place morning finish time of 2:01.45, in a field of 63 participants, Alena Kluge qualified for the 'C' finals in the event. She returned to finish as the consolation finals runner-up with a time of 2:00.26, which stands 19th overall.
A familiar face that joined Kluge in the 200 IM was former Columbia standout Katie Meili ‘13CC on Thursday. The two-time Ivy League swimmer of the year put together a strong perfomance that led to fifth place overall in the championship finals with a time of 1:57.35.
The 400 medley relay started with a phenomenal individual performance by Gabbie Toback for the Lions. Toback swam the fastest 100 back split in program history at 54:12 to lead off the 10th place squad. The first-year eclipsed her own program record time of 54.52, that was set only two weeks ago in the Lions home win over Yale. The squad of Toback, Jennifer Shahar, Trudi Patrick and Mikaila Gaffey combined for a top-10 time of 3:42.02.