Swimming/Diving

No. 12 Wisconsin women conclude season at NCAA championships

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MADISON, Wis. – With one challenge remaining in the season, the Wisconsin women’s swimming and diving program looks to close out the year on a high note this week at the 2016 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, which run Wednesday through Saturday at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Following their performance at the Big Ten championships, the Badgers have been rejuvenated and are ready to perform one final time this campaign.

We left a little on the table at the conference meet,” head coach Whitney Hite said. We want to make sure that we leave everything we have in the pool this week. If we do that, we can walk away satisfied with our season. What I’ve been telling the team is that what we’ve done this season, how we’re feeling about the past, it doesn’t matter now. What matters now is what we do Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“If we swim like we’re capable of, we’re going to have a good meet.”

Logo Wisconsin Badgers 1600x1600

Thumbnail Photo is Courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics

Ranked No. 12 in the nation, the Badgers enter the NCAA championships as the second-highest ranked team in the Big Ten, trailing only No. 3 Michigan. UW will be represented in nine individual swims, as well as four relays over the course of the four-day meet.

What I always hope for our women is that they come away with a good experience,” Hite said of his expectations. Placing is just fine. Not that it doesn’t matter, it does, we want to be as high as possible, but I know the effort will be there. If we do what we do, we’ll be just fine and in a place that is one of the best in the country.”

Wisconsin holds a 15th-place seed in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:29.10), which marks UW’s strongest relay event of the meet. The 200-yard medley relay is 21st (1:37.67) and both the 400-yard medley (3:34.96) and 400-yard freestyle (3:17.30) relays rank 24th heading into the national meet.

The strength of this team is in our relays,” Hite added. “We’re hoping for some good performances on relays this week.”

Junior Chase Kinney will represent the Badgers in a pair of sprint freestyle events. Kinney is seeded 15th in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.12 seconds and is 19th in the 100-yard freestyle with her mark of 48.38 seconds.

Chase is someone that is going to have a great impact, not only on relays, but individually as well. She’s super valuable to us. She’s that big hitter, kind of like Ivy Martin was for us in the past. Danielle Valley can score a lot of points individually as well.”

Valley will tackle a pair of distance freestyle events in the 500- and 1,650-yard swims. The junior holds an 18th-place seed in the 500-yard freestyle after posting a time of 4 minutes, 40.10 seconds at the conference championship. Valley is 13th in the mile with a time of 16:04.18.

Fellow junior Dana Grindall will compete in both butterfly events for the Badgers, as she holds a 32nd-place seed in the 100-yard event and a time of 52.61 seconds. She is also ranked 34th in the 200-yard event with a time of 1:56.60. Grindall, the school record holder in the 200-yard butterfly, looks to lower the mark of 1:56.48 at this year’s national championship.

Completing the quartet of juniors attending this year’s national championship meet on the women’s side is Maria Carlson, who will compete for UW in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events. Carlson is seeded 39th in the 100-yard event with a time of 1:00.66, while she holds a 40th-place rank in the 200-yard event with a time of 2:10.89.

Wisconsin’s Jenny Holtzen will be the lone senior competing for the Badgers this season at the NCAA championships. Holtzen, seeded 34th overall with a time of 16:16.26, will tackle the mile alongside distance training partner and teammate Valley.

With a solid representation of individual and relay swims, the Wisconsin women look to leave an impression at the final meet of the season.

What my coach used to tell me is that experience is the only teacher,” Hite said. “That’s really correct. I can describe it, we can simulate it, but until you actually go through the process of competing at the NCAA championships, that’s when you really learn and understand what it takes.

In the past, we’ve had swimmers like Ivy Martin who have almost protected us a little bit. Now we don’t have that. I’m really excited though, because now we get to see others step up.”

The 2016 NCAA Championships begin Wednesday and conclude Saturday. Preliminary sessions begin at 9 a.m. CT each day, with nightly finals slated for 5 p.m.

ESPN3.com will live stream finals sessions on Friday and Saturday. Wednesday’s evening session, Thursday’s sessions, along with the morning sessions on Friday and Saturday, will be streamed live on NCAA.com. Additionally, ESPNU will air a two-hour broadcast via tape delay at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 29. Live results for the championships will be available on NCAA.com.

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