Klara Andersson blew to a 23.24, knocking off Trudy Maree's school record of 23.44 set exactly five years ago, to win the 50 freestyle Thursday night at the Sun Belt Championships. Andersson won by three hundreths of a second over Western Kentucky's Paige Drazga.
Earlier in the evening, junior Sabrina Beaupre won the 3-meter with a score of 328.60, just a tick off her 328.65 Sun Belt record from last year.
Last fall, sophomore Johanna Gustafsdottir told me the breaststroke was both her favorite stroke and her worst stroke. Well, the breast leg kept Gustafsdottir from being best again in the 200 individual medley at the Sun Belt Conference championships Thursday night.
Gustafsdottir led FAU's Eszter Bucz by 1.34 seconds after the butterfly and backstroke legs. But Bucz 33.94 on breast blew out the defending Sun Belt champion's breast by 2.02 seconds and she held on for the upset, 1:58.48 to 1:59.36. Gustafsdottir's time actually wasn't far off the school and Sun Belt record 1:59.14 she swam in last year's Sun Belt final.
Senior Marina Ribi (2:01.18, career best), freshman Jessica Chadwick (2:02.86) and sophomore Dani Meara (2:05.47) finished fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively, for FIU. Freshmen Becky Wilde (2:05.52) and Sarah Smith (2:08.42) picked up points in 10th and 15th.
In the 500 free final, even if junior Sonia Perez had equalled her school record 4:48.43 from Thursday morning's prelims (beating her own record of 4:50.32 set in November), she still would've finished fifth. As it was, her 4:49.88 left her 2.65 seconds out of fourth and 3.61 seconds behind North Texas' sweep of the top three spots. Freshman Dani Albright cranked a 4:52.96, beating her pre-meet best by over seven seconds, to finish 10th. Junior Mary Boucher's 4:58.15 gave FIU two more points from 15th.
FIU finished third in the 200 free relay behind Western (1:32.55) and North Texas (1:33.55) with a school record 1:33.99. Andersson, Valeriia Popova, Courtney VanderSchaaf and Ribi beat the 1:34.83 laid down in November by Gustafsdottir, Andersson, Popova and Kelly Grace.
North Texas' podium sweep in the 500 free and number of divers pushed it to the top of the team standings with 295 points. Western Kentucky has 287. FIU's in third with 236.
Friday features the 400 IM, in which Perez should be a contender; the 100 back, another shot at an individual win for Gustafsdottir; the 100 fly, Ribi's race; the 1-meter diving, which should be another Beaupre win; and the 400 medley relay, which is at a length more conducive to FIU's strength than the 200 medley relay in which they finished fourth Wednesday.