INDIANAPOLIS—Pitt swimming junior Lina Rathsack earned the status of being an Honorable Mention All-American in the 100-yard breaststroke Friday at the NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships as she produced two of the best swims in recent Panthers’ history at the IU Natatorium.
In the afternoon preliminary heats, Rathsack’s Pitt school record time in the 100 breast of 59.52 was the 12th-fastest qualifying time and garnered a second swim in the All-American night races.
With that performance, Rathsack became just the third Pitt women’s NCAA All-American breaststroker in program history, joining Angie Lopez (1974-75) and Jan Ujevich (1980). Rathsack also was the first Pitt women’s swimming sprinter to score points for the Panthers at NCAAs since 2003 when Carolyne Savini placed 11th in the 200-yard backstroke.
“We’re extremely proud of Lina for her incredible accomplishment today,” Pitt head coach John Hargis said. “Her hard work and persistent definitely paid off this year, and she isn’t done yet. She will swim in the 200 breast tomorrow looking to score more team points.”
In the evening’s consolation final, Rathsack once again lowered the Pitt school record in the event, finishing the 100 breast in 59 seconds flat. Despite dropping her time by over half a second and posting a mark that would’ve qualified for the championship final in the afternoon’s heats, Rathsack placed 13th as the NCAA consolation final produced an incredibly fast heat.
“That race was an example of what makes NCAAs so special,” Hargis added. “Lina swam a remarkable race with a tremendous time in her consolation final. To see how low the times at this meet have been, it is incredible for our sport. Everyone keeps getting faster and faster every year. If you aren’t improving, you’ll get left behind, and I think that’s a good thing for swimming.”
Rathsack’s 13th-place finish in the 100 breast produced 4.0 team points for Pitt, which puts the Panthers in a tie for 36th overall heading into the final day of the women’s NCAA Championships.
Also competing on Friday for the Panthers, junior diver Meme Sharp concluded her meet with another top-40 finish of the meet as she placed 38th in the 3-meter springboard competition with 269.0 points after six dives. Senior Kinga Cichowska swam the 100 breast with Rathsack, taking 42nd with a very strong time of 1:01.32. And Amanda Richey finished 49th in the 400 individual medley in 4:18.65.
To close the NCAA Championships on Saturday, Rathsack and Cichowska will both compete in the 200 breast, which will feature several preliminary heats in the middle of the 10 a.m. hour. Also, Richey will swim her best event, the 1,650-yard freestyle mile, in the late afternoon as she looks to challenge the All-America places.
“The girls are all competing at such a high level this week,” Coach Hargis said. “We still have three more swims tomorrow with Amanda, Lina and Kinga in some of their strongest events, and we’re confident that they each have the ability to score.”
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