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MSU Women’s Swimming & Diving Travels to Indiana for Big Ten Championships


Spartans open four day event on Wednesday with 200 medley relay.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Spartans open four day event on Wednesday with 200 medley relay. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.


EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State women’s swimming & diving team will travel to Bloomington, Ind., Wednesday-Saturday, Feb. 16-19 for the 2011 Big Ten Championships hosted by Indiana. Wednesday’s action at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center will feature two events for the Spartans, the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay.


“I think we have prepared for this week very well,” said MSU head coach Matt Gianiodis. “For the kids who have experienced this before, I think we have prepared for this year’s Big Ten Championships better than we have in the past over my 14-years here. We have done a nice job. We have really dotted the “I’s” and crossed the “T’s” and the girls have responded well.”


With a pair of seniors on the Big Ten roster, MSU will certainly rely on the youth of its team as it faces its fellow conference foes this weekend.


In the pool, the Spartans are led by senior Becca Ebner in the butterfly. Ebner is ranked in the top-25 within the conference in both the 100 and 200 events. In the 100 butterfly, Ebner has a season-best time of 55.87 as well as a top mark of 2:02.73 in the 200 butterfly. Both times were recorded during the first half of the season at the Georgia Tech Invitational.


On the board, senior Sarah Mory takes the leadership reigns for the Green and White. Mory, an NCAA Regional qualifier, currently has the team’s best 1-meter score on the year with a 332.61 mark set during the Bowling Green dual. On the 3-meter board, Mory is second on the team with a score of 342.30, also achieved against Bowling Green.

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A pair of juniors join Mory on the board in Sarah Clay and Jordan Jackson. Clay is second on the team on the 1-meter with a score of 326.78 set against BGSU. Clay also sits atop the team’s leaderboard in the 3-meter with a 353.78 mark achieved during the meet against the Falcons. Jackson is fresh off a quarterfinals appearance in the 3-meter at the 2011 USA Diving Winter Nationals in Iowa City, Iowa. Jackson posted a season-best mark of 246.45 while in Iowa to go along with her top 1-meter score of 321.00 set against Grand Valley State. Both Clay and Jackson have also both qualified for the NCAA Zones.


Leading the distance squad this season is freshman KJ Burkland with her team-best marks in the 500, 1000 and 1650 freestyle events. Burkland is ranked in the top-40 within the Big Ten in all three events. Her best mark is in the 1650 with her 23rd-place time of 17:00.50. In 1000 free, Burkland is tabbed 30th (10:18.60) in the event while she is 38th in the 500 free (4:57.15). Freshman Whitney Woodbridge also gives the team two Spartans ranked in the top-50 in the 1650 with a time of 17:29.26 (40th). Joining Burkland in the 1000 free is sophomore Rachel Wilson with her 10:28.15 mark (47th).


Wilson also leads the team in the 200 backstroke with her mark of 2:05.60 for 48th achieved at the EMU Invitational.


Junior Kerry Sodonis leads the charge in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. Sodonis is 37th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04.72 posted at the dual against Bowling Green. Sodonis also ranks tops on the team, and 41st in the Big Ten, in the 200 breaststroke with her 2:21.20 mark. Sodonis clocked that time during MSU’s dual against Purdue.


Sophomore Jenny Rusch currently leads MSU in the 50 freestyle with her time of 23.71. Her time set at the Georgia Tech Invitational lists her 39th within the Big Ten in the event.


The Spartans enter the weekend after posting a 169-129 win over Bowling Green at home on senior night to conclude the regular season on Friday, Feb. 4. Both Ebner and Mory posted wins in their final home event of their careers.