Nov. 24, 2008
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Vanderbilt swimming and diving program saved its best fall performance for the final meet as freshman swimmer Laura Dillon broke Susan Hahm’s 19-year-old school record in the final day of the Hilltopper Invitational.
Dillon’s 200-yard breaststroke time of 2:22.00 tops Hahm’s previous record of 2:22.95. Hahm’s record has been untouched since it was set in 1989. Dillon’s record-setting time led to a photo finish with Western Kentucky’s Stephanie Martin, as Martin won the race by one-hundredth of a second over the Commodore. Fellow freshman Allie Voss joined Dillon with a top-three finish in the 200 breaststroke after swimming a season-high 2:26.78.
“It’s exciting to see a freshman come in and see success this early in the year,” Head Coach Jeremy Organ said. “She has been working very hard and to see that hard work translate into success was very rewarding.”
Dillon, a native of Reston, Va., became the second Vanderbilt freshman in consecutive seasons to set a school record. Sophomore Leigh-Ann Axt rewrote the Commodore record books last season by setting school records in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 and 200 butterfly.
Sophomore Jennifer Molchan closed out the fall season slate by posting a personal best time (52.78), to finish in fourth place in the 100-yard freestyle. Molchan’s time of 52.78 just missed Leslie Holt’s 18-year-old school record of 52.38.
Kelly Obranowicz joined Molchan with a season-high time of her own in the 100-yard freestyle (53.64), to finish seventh out of 18 swimmers. Obranowicz’s time was over one-half seconds quicker than her previous high mark. Later in the day, Obranowicz cruised to a season-high in the 200-yard butterfly with a team and season-high time of 2:07.71.
Alexandra Jennings continued her strong weekend as she shaved seven seconds off her previous 200-yard backstroke personal best by posting a 2:09.59, finishing in seventh place. This marks the second consecutive weekend that Jennings has posted a season-high time in the 200 backstroke.
VU’s 400-yard freestyle team of Zoe Cooper-Surma, Obranowicz, Molchan and Axt shattered the team’s 2008 high mark, with a 3:33.94, nearly eight seconds faster than the team’s previous high. The time was only 2.44 seconds behind the school-record of 3:31.55, which was set by Leslie Holt, Amy Batchelder, Wrenn Terrill and Julie Caldwell.
In the diving events, Nicole Woodworth earned third and fourth place honors in the one-meter and three-meter dive with marks of 197.40 and 204.95, respectively.
Coach Organ said his team took a lot of positives from their weekend performance in Bowling Green.
“I was real proud of the way we competed at Western Kentucky this weekend,” Organ said. “Everyone has been training hard and we got to see the result of that hard work this weekend.
“It’s a good feeling to hit the midway point on a high note. It’s now time to prepare for the second half of the season and to be swimming our best at the SEC championships in February.”
This ends the fall season slate for the Commodores. Vanderbilt will return to the pool Jan. 17, 2009 to square off against South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.