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DU holds steady at midway point

Michelle Howell was the runner-up in the 400 IM for the second-straight year.
Michelle Howell was the runner-up in the 400 IM for the second-straight year.

At the midway point of the 2013 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championship, the Big Red women remain in third-place with 198 points.  Emory University maintained its stranglehold on first place with 312.5 points, while Kenyon held in second-place with 254 points.  DU currently owns a one half point advantage over fourth-place Williams College while Johns Hopkins sits in fifth place with 148.

After a third-place finish in Wednesday's 200 individual medley, sophomore Michelle Howell returned on Thursday with a runner-up finish in the 400 IM.  Howell broke her own school record of 4:19.64 that was set during last year's second-place showing at nationals.  This year's time of 4:18.95 trailed only Williams' Caroline Wilson who won the event with a time of 4:14.27.

Following with an 11th place finish after touching third in the consolation heat was first-year Taylor Johns who hit the wall in 4:27.46 for her first All-America award.

In the night's first event, the 200 free relay, Ashley Yearwood, Morgan Nuess, Alyssa Swanson, and Maddie Armitage took the bronze with a time of 1:33.13.  Emory was the winner of the relay in 1:32.93.

Swanson joined some exclusive company after her seventh-place finish in 200 freestyle.  Her time of 1:50.11 resulted in her third All-America finish of this year's championship and the 20th All-America swim of her career.  Only 12 other female swimmers in DU history have posted 20 or more All-America performances.

In the consolation heat of the 200 free, Molly Willingham narrowly missed the victory, placing 10th overall with a time of 1:50.29.

Like Johns in the 400 IM, another rookie cut her teeth in the 100 butterfly as Claire Van Fossen touched in 56.59 which was good enough for 13th place.  That is also the first All-American award for Van Fossen.

The final event of the night was the 400 medley relay and the team of Lindsay Zeberlein, Natalie Lugg, Howell, and Yearwood finished in fifth place which earned 28 points toward the Big Red's cause.  Their time of 3:46.58 landed them behind only Williams, Emory, Johns Hopkins and Kenyon, who set a new meet record with a winning time of 3:40.13.

DU will return to Conroe ISD Natatorium on Friday for the 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, the 1-meter dive, and the 800 free relay.  Preliminaries will begin at 11 a.m. EST while finals are set to begin at 7 p.m. EST.