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Swimming & Diving Wraps up First Half of their Season

The Herd returns to action January 14 at home against Akron.

Dec. 14, 2011

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - During the first three months of competition for Head Coach Russell Hunt's crew, he has seen his freshman and sophomores excel and at times dominate their time in pool. Herd Swimming & Diving has been able to put together one of the best seasons in the school's history and there are still two more months of action remaining.

To date, Marshall has collected seven wins to compile a record of 7-3. This matches the second best season in Marshall history and is three wins from matching the most ever at 10. The Herd has never grabbed more than six wins during it's time in Conference USA and that was during a 6-8 season the first year of competition in C-USA.

So far, a collection of freshmen and sophomores have directed the charge in the water as the Herd has posted top seven times in 10 events. This includes breaking records in Marshall's Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium and in Youngstown State's Beeghly Natatorium.

Hunt knew that his underclassmen had the opportunity to help this year and assist in the growth of the program, "This is a young team here, and I think the freshman and sophomore classes are showing their commitment to growing this program.  The underclassmen have a vision of what they want to accomplish, and it's helped to set the tone as we move into the second half of the season."

One of those freshmen, Kacey Preun, a native of St. Andrews, Manitoba has made the biggest splash during the first half.  Preun has captured 14 total victories, including going a perfect five-for-five in the 200 breaststroke. In every event she has competed in multiple times, Preun has a victory. The freshman also has been victorious in each meet the Herd has been a part of.  

Preun's best performance might have been during a three day, two event trip to the state of Indiana. In that time span, she would compete in five events and win all of them. This included posting career best times in the 500 Freestyle (5:02.22) and 200 Breaststroke (2:19.46). In total this year, the freshman has won more than half of the time she gets in the water.

Fellow underclassman sophomore Sarah Kay has been just as impressive. A native of Cape Town, South Africa is undefeated in the 200 Butterfly, with six wins. Also in the 100 Butterfly, Kay has grabbed four wins but has posted her three best times in each of her non-victories. Like Preun, Kay has won more than half of the time she has competed.

The sophomore's best outing came while competing against Xavier. During the home meet in late October, Kay was a perfect three for three and was a big factor in helping Marshall secure its third victory of year.

Not to be outdone, Madison Lawhorn has been dominating in the 100 Breaststroke.  A nearly perfect mark of seven for eight during the event, the sophomore won six in a row before falling at the Doug Coers Invite in November. But without trouble, Lawhorn recovered quickly and got back on the winning side with her career best time of 1:04.03 during the last fall meet of the year against Western Kentucky and Fairmont State. She crushed her previous top time by more than a full two seconds.

Lawhorn has broken the 100 Breaststroke record in two different natatoriums this season. She broke the 100 yard Breaststroke marks in Beeghly Natatorium with a time of 1:06.93 and the Fitch Natatorium Record with a time of 1:04.03. Additionally during the season's first half, Lawhorn also has a victory in the 200 individual medley and been a part of five different relay times that have posted top 20 all-time marks.

Lauren Hurd and Alex Dschaak, both freshmen, have been strong pieces to many of Marshall's top relay teams and are also new members to the Herd's all-time top ten performers list. Fellow freshman Kaley Gregory has come on strong as the season's progressed with a win in the 500 and 1650 yard freestyle.  Her winning time in the 1650 freestyle is currently the 13th fastest time in Marshall history. She also has joined the top ten performers list.

Juniors Jaimie Holmquist and Vera Niemeyer have been the top upperclassman in the water so far for Marshall. Niemyer has been strong all year in the 100 and 200 yard Backstroke events and grabbed a victory in each during the Coers Invite. Holmquist has swum strong in the 100 and 200 yard Freestyle events and grabbed a victory in the 200 Free while competing at Youngstown State. Both have been strong members of relay teams.

On the diving side, Lauren Rone did something only three other divers in Marshall history have done, qualify for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. With the Marshall all-time best score and Fitch Natatorium record in the one-meter diving event, Rone was able to qualify for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships that are held in mid-March in Buffalo, N. Y. The mark of 281.55, which beat the previous mark that set in 2007, also gave her the C-USA Diver of the Week award, a first for Rone.

"Coming into the season we knew that as we moved forward it would be important to rise up to challenges in competition and through the daily grind." Remarked Hunt, "I'd say we've done that thus far, and the semester culminated with a solid performance against one of the best mid majors in the country in Western Kentucky."

Additional natatorium records that have been captured by the Herd this season are Preun in the 1650 free at Youngstown and Kay in the 200 butterfly inside Fitch Natatorium.

Marshall will return to the water in January as they make their strong push towards the C-USA Championships in mid-February.  The Herd host Akron, January 14th starting at 2PM.