COLUMBIA, Mo.-Boise State women's swimming and diving finished second at the Missouri Invitational with another strong final day, Sunday, in Columbia, Mo. The Broncos capped the three-day meet with school records in all six swimming events and in the platform diving competition.
Boise State racked up 880 points to beat Big 12 foe Nebraska (710 points) and division two powers Drury (534 points) and Truman State (253 points). Host and 25th-ranked Missouri won the invitational with 1241 points.
"This was the fastest meet in school history," said head coach Kristin Hill. "Winning the WAC title last year was phenomenal, but we were even faster this weekend with just three days of rest. It bodes well for what's to come at the end of the season. Our goal has been to have our first NCAA Championships competitors this season, and we're well on our way."
Juniors Amber Boucher and Stephanie North each achieved NCAA provisional qualifying marks in the 100-yard freestyle as they traded the school record. North turned in a lifetime best 49.79 in the preliminary heats to claim the school record and edge out Boucher by five one-hundredths of a second as the teammates qualified first and second in the event. They also finished 1-2 in the finals, this time with Boucher breaking the school record and picking up her third individual victory of the weekend in 49.59. Sophomore Stevie Hughey swam a career-best time of 52.19 to finish fourth in the B Final. Junior Kelsy Diener also scored.
Redshirt junior Amanda Burnett became the first Bronco to post a qualifying score for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships at a championship style meet with her school record total of 246.10 on the platform. Boise State has never sent a diver to the zone meet.
In the final event of the day, the Broncos claimed their first relay victory of the weekend in the 400-yard freestyle in a school record time of 3:21.45. The time is an NCAA 'B' mark. Despite fast legs by North, Hughey and Diener, Boise State still trailed by more than a half second to Missouri 'A' heading into the last leg. The Broncos' anchor, though, was Boucher. The Keizer, Ore., native closed her historic weekend with a blazing 48.37 final leg to run down the Tigers' top team, and give Boise State the victory by more than four tenths of a second.
"Winning the 400 free relay and breaking the school record by more than a second and a half was a fun way to finish," Hill said.
Sophomore Jennifer Cahill led the way in the 1650-yard freestyle with a fourth-place finish and school record time. Cahill finished in 17:04.57, more than three seconds faster than her own all-time mark she set at the Missouri Invitational last season. Freshman Rachel Heaney was right behind Cahill in fifth place, turning in the No. 3 time, 17:10.49.
Diener, a transfer from San Diego State, burst to the top of the all-time Boise State list in the 200-yard backstroke, lowering her previous season best by more than 10 seconds to finish fifth and secure the top spot with a time of 2:01.44. Junior Morgan McLain finished seventh in the event with a lifetime best, 2:02.63. Seniors Denise Green and Andrea Thiltgen, along with sophomore Lily Donohue, also scored in the 200 back.
Freshman Chelsea Miller made a pair of outstanding swims in the 200-yard breastroke. Miller's preliminary time of 2:17.71 was enough for the school record, but she was not finished. The San Antonio, Texas, native turned in a lifetime best of 2:16.24 to claim second place and lower the record. Miller missed an NCAA provisional cut by just four one-hundredths of a second. Senior Erin Stotts also scored for the Broncos, finishing 11th overall, after recording a career best in her preliminary heat.
It was another new Bronco, freshman Rachel Heaney, setting the all-time mark in the 200-yard butterfly. Heaney narrowly missed the school record in the morning session, but would not be denied during the finals. She finished in 2:01.13, earning second place in the event. Sophomore Christine Raininger, the former records holder, finished right behind Heaney in third place with a lifetime best of 2:01.41.
The Broncos set 13 school records at the 21-event invitational. Boucher set all-time bests in all four individual events she swam, and contributed to the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay records. All three championship-meet diving marks fell as freshman Ciera Cortney earned a pair of them. Fellow freshman Heaney and Miller etched their names into the Boise State record books with No. 1 times in the 200-yard butterfly and 200-yard breaststroke, respectively.
All told, Boise State swimmers posted 86 lifetime bests at the Missouri Invitational.
Boise State will devote the next month to training before returning to competition Jan. 7, at No. 24 UCLA, and Jan. 9, at the San Diego Relays.