PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Big East Championships continued on Thursday evening with the men’s and women’s finals of the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle and 200 free relay. After the evening’s events, Notre Dame continued its hold on first place in the men’s competition with 406 points and Louisville stood atop the women’s leaderboard with 304 points.
In the women’s 500-yard freestyle, West Virginia’s Rachael Burnett took the crown in a time of 4:39.63. Burnett, the two-time defending champion in the event, led the second place-finisher by more than three seconds. She broke a Trees Pool record and bested her own Big East record of 4:41.65 that she set in 2010.
Finishing second was West Virginia’s Amanda Nugent with a time of 4:42.80. Villanova’s Hayley Edwards finished in 4:43.52, earning her third place.
Notre Dame led the charge in the men’s 500 free competition, earning points for first, second, fourth, seventh and eighth place. Frank Dyer took the lead early and never let up, finishing in 4:18.50, a new Trees Pool and Big East Championship record. Brennan Jacobsen took second with a time of 4:24.28, narrowly edging Pittsburgh’s Morne Boshoff who finished third in 4:24.36.
It was a battle of freshmen in the women’s 200 individual medley as the top-three finishers were all participating in their first Big East Championship. Notre Dame’s Emma Reaney took control of the field, winning the event in 1:56.42, setting new Trees Pool and Big East records.
She broke the previous pool and championship record of 1:57.83. Louisville’s Tanja Kylliainen finished second with a time of 1:59.72 and Camille Dixon of Pittsburgh rounded out the top-three with a time of 2:01.42.
On the men’s side, Notre Dame’s William Bass took the title from three-time defending champion Carlos Almeida of Louisville. Bass finished in 1:44.81, just ahead of Almeida who came in at 1:46.05.
With the victory, Bass broke the old Trees Pool (1:45.71) and Big East (1:45.26) records, both previously held by Almeida. The third-place finisher was Alex Burtch of Louisville with a time of 1:47.09.
Cincinnati women took first and second place in the 50-yard freestyle. Defending champion Liz Hansson won the event with a 22.96 while teammate Helena Pikhartova finished second in 23.13. Louisville’s Aileen Cole and Danielle Barbiea along with Connecticut’s Chinyere Pigot all tied for third place with a time of 23.19.
The Louisville men swept the 50-yard freestyle event, taking first, second and third place, in addition to tying for fourth and finishing seventh and eighth. Defending champion Brendon Andrews kept his crown as the fastest male swimmer in the league, touching the wall in 19.68. Joao De Lucca took second with a time of 19.88 and Matthew Schlytter finished third in 19.94.
The evening’s events wrapped up with the 200 freestyle relay. In the women’s competition, the Cardinals took first place in a dramatic race to the finish. Anchor Aileen Cole made the turn neck-and-neck with Notre Dame’s Lauren Scott but was able to edge the competition, touching the wall first for a total time of 1:31.47.
The other U of L relay swimmers were Kristina Brandenburg, Danielle Barbiea and Lacey Bobo. The Irish finished in second place with a time of 1:31.65. Coming in third place was Cincinnati with a time of 1:32.56.