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WIAC Swimming & Diving Championship Draws Near For Titans

WIAC Swimming & Diving Championship Draws Near For Titans

UW-Oshkosh aims for a second straight top-four finish when it performs at this weekend's Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Women's Swimming & Diving Championship (presented by Culver's) in Brown Deer.

Competition in the three-day meet begins Thursday (Feb. 14) and concludes Saturday (Feb. 16) at the Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center. Sessions start at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday (Feb. 15) and at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday.

UW-Eau Claire is serving as the host institution for the 48th women's championship that will be held concurrently with the 57th men's championship. Medals will be awarded to the top eight finishers in each of the individual events and to the individuals comprising the top three relay teams.

UW-Oshkosh finished fourth with 409.5 points last year to enjoy its best performance at the WIAC Championship since 2005. The Titans scored points in 15 individual events, including 30 in the 200-yard breaststroke.

UW-La Crosse scored 863 points to win its seventh straight WIAC title and 18th overall in 2018. The Eagles were followed by second-place UW-Whitewater in the five-team meet with 730.5 points, third-place UW-Eau Claire with 689, UW-Oshkosh and fifth-place UW-Stevens Point with 387.

UW-Oshkosh's Sydney Challoner enters this weekend's championship ranked in the top 10 against her WIAC challengers in four events. She owns the league's fastest 200-yard butterfly time this season at 2:10.56 while ranking second in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:14.40, third in the 100-yard butterfly at 59.55 seconds and eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:10.90.

Challoner finished third in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:28.87 at last year's championship while placing fourth in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:14.26 and seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:08.54.

Titans Jennifer Lutz and Alexandra Schuster are also ranked among the WIAC's best.

Lutz is ranked seventh in the 200-yard backstroke at 2:17.47, 12th in the 200-yard butterfly at 2:21.51, 11th in the 100-yard butterfly at 1:02.61 and 16th in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:04.29. Last year, she finished sixth in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:00.30, seventh in the 200-yard butterfly at 2:15.89 and 10th in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:02.76.

Schuster ranks 10th in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:02.53, 13th in the 50-yard freestyle at 25.57 seconds and 14th in the 100-yard freestyle at 55.38 seconds.

UW-Oshkosh's Lexi Gray, Alyssa Hassel and Tessa Shorten also own multiple top-20 league championship seeds.

Gray ranks 12th in the 1,650-yard freestyle at 19:28.38, 15th in the 500-yard freestyle at 5:36.10 and 18th in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:04.30. She finished eighth in the 1,650-yard freestyle at last year's meet with a time of 18:46.22 and 14th in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:04.66.

Hassel lists 14th in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:14.07 and 15th in the 200-yard breaststroke at 2:41.42.

Shorten ranks 16th in the 100-yard freestyle at 56.06 seconds and 17th in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:03.87. She placed ninth in the 100-yard freestyle at last year's championship with a time of 54.99 seconds, 12th in the 50-yard freestyle at 25.37 seconds and 13th in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:02.48.

Three other Titans are also seeded in the top 20 as Brianna Beseler ranks 16th in the 1,650-yard freestyle at 20:02.59, Rebecca Birriel ninth in the 400-yard individual medley at 5:01.73 and 10th in the 200-yard breaststroke at 2:39.47, and Hannah Cunningham 15th in the 50-yard freestyle at 25.68 seconds.

Birriel finished fourth in the 400-yard individual medley at last year's championship with a time of 4:46.73 and ninth in the 200-yard breaststroke at 2:33.45 while Beseler place 16th in 1,650-yard freestyle at 20:43.20. 

UW-Oshkosh's lone diving entry is Johnna Seelman, who is seeded sixth in the 3-meter category and seventh in the 1-meter section. Seelman finished 12th off the 1-meter board and 13th off the 3-meter plank at last year's championship.

This year's meet features 14 student-athletes who have combined to win 19 individual and 34 relay first-place medals at previous conference championships.

UW-La Crosse's Victoria Campbell is the defending champion in the 200-yard freestyle and was a member of the triumphant 800-yard freestyle relay squad. She was joined on the relay team by Jaime Kloehn and Ellie Szczupakiewicz. In 2017, Campbell and Kloehn contributed to the first-place 800-yard freestyle relay team, while Campbell also added a 400-yard freestyle relay title, along with Maddie Volk.

Maria Vaudreuil claimed the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes a season ago while Lilly Larsen secured the 200-yard backstroke.

UW-Eau Claire's Samantha Senczyszyn earned Swimmer of the Meet honors at the 2016 and 2017 championships and has collected six individual titles and seven relay crowns in her career. In 2017, she posted first-place finishes in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 400-yard individual medley and 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley and 400-yard medley relays. In 2016, Senczyszyn was victorious in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley and 400-yard medley relays.

The Blugolds' Jessica Short has seven individual first-place finishes and seven relay titles to her credit. She has won three consecutive championships in the 100-yard backstroke and could become just the second individual in league history to win the event four times, joining UW-La Crosse's Brooke Reynolds (2012-15).

A year ago, Short added the 100-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay. In 2017, Short won the 200-yard backstroke, 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley and 400-yard medley relays. At the 2016 championship, she was victorious in the 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relays.

Brittany Farr, Olivia Hanzak and Emily Ries joined Short on last year's 400-yard freestyle relay squad, while Farr was also a part of the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley and 400-yard medley relay teams in 2017.

UW-Whitewater's Erin Hawker is the reigning Swimmer of the Meet after posting first-place finishes in the 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard individual medley and 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley and 400-yard medley relays. Olivia Theobald joined Hawker on the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley and 400-yard medley relay teams, while Bailey Weston was a third member of the 200-yard freestyle relay unit.

UW-La Crosse's 18 WIAC team titles rank second behind UW-Eau Claire's 19 first-place finishes. UW-Stevens Point has collected six championships and former conference member University of Wisconsin four.

2019 WIAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championship Website