BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The Western Kentucky University swimming teams swept the 200-yard medley relays in record fashion to highlight Wednesday's opening day of the Sun Belt Conference Swimming and Diving Championships at Rockwall Aquatics Center of Excellence in Rockwall, Texas.
"It was a phenomenal start to the meet," WKU coach Bruce Marchionda said. "It just got everybody excited and we put up some very fast splits. Kristiana (Feeser) had a great split in the fly and we were able to break that record which was very, very exciting for us."
After the first day of competition, the Hilltoppers are tied with Denver atop the men's standings with 74 points. Florida Atlantic is third with 64 points. On the women's side, North Texas is first at 110 points, with Denver second (101 points) and the Lady Toppers third (98).
The swimming competition began with the 200-medley and the 800 freestyle relays. Three different school records and one conference records were set between the four races.
The Lady Toppers quarter of Allie Duff, Claire Conlon, Kristiana Feeser and Paige Drazga finished first in the 200 medley relay with a SBC championships and conference record time of 1 minute, 39.78 seconds. The mark also represented a school record and an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.
The men also picked up a first-place finish in the 200 medley relay. Seth Musser, Luke Musser, Heitor Rodrigues and Billy Kunkel posted a school-record time of 1:27.70. The mark missed setting a SBC record by .15 seconds and is an NCAA "B" cut.
In the 800 freestyle relay, WKU finished fifth with a time of 7:22.06 posted by Susan Marquess, Hannah Runyon-Hass, Georgia Smith and Duff. The men turned in a runner-up finish in the event behind Adam Dajka, Drew Cato, Kunkel and Seth Musser touching in at 6:37.13.
"We finished in the 800 freestyle relays were we expected," Marchionda said. "I feel very good about our performances and where we are right now. It is a long four day meet and this is only a few events."
The women's 3-meter diving competition opened the meet and Lady Toppers junior Caitlin Dean qualified sixth for the finals session. In the preliminary round, Kylie Ruiz placed ninth with a score of 211.10 and Chelsea Jordan was twelfth with a 183.60.
In the finals, Dean picked up a third-place finish with a mark of 264.50. The finish improves on last year's event where she finished 11th.
Thursday begins with the preliminaries in the 500 freestyle at 11 a.m., followed by the 200 individual medley and the 50 freestyle.
The men's 3-meter diving preliminaries are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. The evening session will feature finals in all three events, concluding with the 200 freestyle relay.
"Tomorrow is not our strongest day so we are hoping to keep everything very close on both the men's and women's side," Marchionda said. "And I feel like if we can do that, we perhaps may have a chance to pull ahead on that third day."
Live results from both sessions Thursday and post-race videos will be available at SunBeltSports.org.