Hutchins sets school record in dual meet at USC


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LOS ANGELES – In its first test of 2016, the Wisconsin swimming and diving program fell against USC in a Tuesday afternoon dual meet at Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Badger women were beaten by the Trojans, 174.5-124.5, while the men’s team was topped by USC in a 186-113 final.

Despite the pair of team losses, the UW distance swimming pair of Danielle Valley and Matthew Hutchins shined on the west coast, as Hutchins swam a school record and both Badgers recorded career-best times to win their respective 1000-yard freestyle race.

Cruising to an impressive win in 8 minutes, 58.45 seconds, Hutchins rewrote the UW record books for the men’s 1000-yard freestyle by surpassing the former school record of 9:01.33. Hutchins moved up to fourth place nationally in the event. He also won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:22.96.

Valley’s time of 9:43.37 seconds in the women’s 1000-yard freestyle shattered her previous personal best of 9:49.88 and was just a second off from capturing a school record of her own in the event. Not only did the time win Valley the event, but also ranks as the third-fastest nationally this season. Valley also claimed a title in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:44.81.

“Danielle Valley and Matt Hutchins were outstanding,” UW head coach Whitney Hite said. “Those are some of the top times in the country and certainly in a dual-meet situation. We’re coming off of two weeks of really good training in Hawaii at a very high and difficult level. To turn right around and face one of the top teams in the country is always difficult, but we don’t shy away from challenges like that.

“I thought we did a nice job of competing. I know that we had every excuse in the book as far as being tired and traveling, but I didn’t hear any of that. We did a nice job. We fell a little short, but USC is a very, very good team and we had some good performances.”
Nathan Mueller swam a personal best in the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:26.47, which was good for third place. Michael Sullivan was fourth in 9:29.73.

Four other Badgers claimed first-place finishes in Tuesday’s dual meet, including Grace Wold’s swim in the 200-yard butterfly. Wold’s winning time of 2:00.11 just out-touched the second-place finisher by seven one-hundredths of a second.

Sprinter Chase Kinney continued on her fast track in the 50-yard freestyle with a first-place finish and a time of 22.71 seconds. Kinney was also second in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 49.72 seconds.

Freshman diver Hazel Hertting claimed the title in the women’s 1-meter diving discipline with a combined score of 264.30 points after a six-dive rotation. For the men, Clark Carter also won the 1-meter diving event with a personal-best score of 311.18 points.

“I can’t recall the last time that we won a board event at a dual meet against anyone that’s really good,” Hite said of the pair of diving wins. “I feel like that’s a huge step and a huge piece for us. I’m really excited about that.”

In the women’s breaststroke events, Anna Meinholz led the Badgers with a second-place finish in both the 100- (1:03.45) and 200-yard (2:16.35) events.

Jake Mandli led the way for Wisconsin in the men’s breaststroke, as he finished second in both the 100- (56.13) and 200-yard (2:00.71) events.

Cannon Clifton claimed a pair of second-place finishes as well, as the sprinter’s time of 20.56 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle was just short of first place by one-hundredth of a second. Clifton was second in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 45.13.

Both UW’s men’s and the women’s teams went 2-3-4 in the 400-yard individual medley event, as Valley and Josh Anderson led the efforts. Valley was second in the women’s event with a time of 4:19.43, while Madeline Hazle was third in 4:23.30 and Jenny Holtzen was fourth in 4:26.51. For the men, Anderson finished second at 3:57.39. Right behind him was Todd McCarthy with a time of 3:59.02 and Chris Wills was fourth in 4:06.73.

Wisconsin takes a short two-week break from competition before returning for back-to-back dual meets at Auburn and at Georgia, Jan. 29-30.

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