COLUMBIA, Mo.-Junior Rachel Heaney won the 200-yard butterfly in a school-record and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:58.50 to highlight the final day of the Missouri Invitational for Boise State women's swimming and diving. Freshman Devin Madsen also set a school record in the 200-yard backstroke.
The Broncos finished second in the team standings behind host Missouri for the third-straight year. Boise State tallied 823 points while the Tigers totaled 1020.5. UC Davis was third with 582.5 points while Boise State's Mountain West foe UNLV finished fourth with a score of 543. The Rebels did not participate in the diving events.
"We had a great weekend and learned a lot about this team," said head coach Kristin Hill. "Each person raced a lot of events this weekend and was very challenged in terms of mental and physical toughness."
Heaney took home the only event title of the meet for Boise State, winning the 200 butterfly in convincing fashion after finishing runner-up at the same meet in2010 and 2011. The North Bend, Ore., native was in second after prelims, but was the only competitor to break the two-minute mark during finals. She entered the meet with the fastest time in the Mountain West in the event and with this performance is nearly five seconds clear of the next MW time.
The conference's second-best time in the 200 butterfly now belongs to Brooke Balogh who took fourth in the event with a 2:03.08. Jenni Domanowski clocked a 2:04.64 in the prelims before finishing seventh at night, just in front of teammate Jessica Bottelberghe as Boise State represented half of the field in the championship final.
Madsen set the school record in the 200 backstroke with a 1:57.78 in prelims to qualify second and achieve the NCAA 'B' standard. She went on to finish third in the finals with the second-best time in school history. Sydney Johansen, whose record Madsen broke, won the consolation final with a 2:00.64. Nikki Cannon was just behind Johansen with a 2:00.90. In the bonus final Brooke Balogh finished first with a career-best 2:05.29.
This weekend Madsen earned two individual B cuts and helped two Bronco relays to provisional times. The freshman has enjoyed a strong first two months to her collegiate career, including facing some of the NCAA's stiffest competition. Missouri's Dominique Bouchard was the only swimmer in the 200 backstroke field with a better time than Madsen on the day. Bouchard posted the top time in prelims with the fastest time in the country. That mark was bettered later Saturday night, by Arizona's Bonnie Brandon at the AT&T Winter National Championships in Austin, Texas. Madsen went toe-to-toe with Brandon two weeks ago during the Broncos' duel with the Wildcats.
Boise State also continued to get major contributions from its breaststroke corps. Junior Chelsea Miller led the way in the 200-yard breaststroke with an NCAA provisional qualifying time. Miller's 2:14.12 in prelims is the second-fastest time in school history. She went on to finish fourth in finals with the fourth-fastest time in Boise State annals (2:14.57). Sophomore Emily Campbell continued her breakout season with a lifetime-best time in prelims and again in finals. Campbell qualified for the championship final and then tied the eighth-best mark all-time with a 2:17.11 to finish sixth in finals. Sophomore Heather Harper took fourth in the consolation final in 2:18.34, taking nearly three seconds off her prelim time.
Jennifer Cahill scored a second-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle leading a pack of three Broncos finishing in the top five. Cahill's time of 16:40.01 is good for No. 2 in school history. The record (16:27.80) was set by Cahill in a silver-medal performance at the 2012 Mountain West Championships. At that meet Cahill almost ran down UNLV's Jessica Heim for the conference title, getting out-touched by less than a second. Heim bested the Bronco senior again Saturday, this time using a strong middle section of the race to build an insurmountable lead.
Freshmen Emri Moore (16:55.89) and Taylor Padington (16:57.40) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, becoming the second and third Broncos to break the 17-minute mark in the 1650 freestyle.
Ciera Cortney, Erin Kohlbeck and Lexi Pfeiffer all qualified for finals of the day's diving event for the second-straight day. Cortney took third with a season-best score of 203.15. Kohlbeck finished fourth after qualifying first during prelims, while Pfeiffer scored a fifth-place finish.
Bottelberghe led the Bronco contingent in the 100-yard freestyle with a lifetime-best 50.90 to take second in the consolation final. Sam Wicks also set a personal best in finals at 51.18, tying with Stevie Hughey for fourth in the consolation final.
"Our strengths are different this year but we have a lot of them and it was fun to see the team compete at a high level this weekend," Hill said. "We only rested a bit and still had a number of lifetime bests and several team records, and many who put themselves in a great position to have their best season yet. There will be more to accomplish at our conference championships and I know this team is eager and excited to get to the second phase of this season."
Overall Boise State set two school records, earned six NCAA B cuts, improved on 31 lifetime bests, placed 36 marks on the all-time top-10 times list.
The Broncos will be back in action Dec. 15 against BYU in their home opener. The meet begins at noon (MT) at the Boise-West Family YMCA.