Zhou and 800 Free Relay Lead Engineers on Day One of MIT Winter Invite

Zhou and 800 Free Relay Lead Engineers on Day One of MIT Winter Invite

- Event: 2017 MIT Winter Invitational

- Results: 2nd of 7 (186 points) - After Day One

- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center Pool)

- The Lead: The No. 8 ranked MIT women's swimming and diving team opened action at the annual MIT Winter Invitational on Friday evening as the Engineers competed in the 800-free relay, the 1650-free and the 1-meter dive.

After one session in the pool, MIT is in second place with 186 points only behind No. 5 NYU, which has 188 points. Tufts University (157) is in third, RPI (115) is in fourth, Wheaton College (94) is in fifth, Wellesley College (92) is in sixth and Keene State College (47) is in seventh. 

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- The women's 800 free relay "A" team comprised of senior Mary Thielking (Fishers, Ind.), sophomore Kathy Pan (Ann Arbor, Mich.), freshman Ashley Pearson (Stafford, Va.) and classmate Hannah Mahaffey (Lawrenceville, Ga.) clinched first place and registered an NCAA "B" cut time of 7:36.99 in the opening event of the meet.

- The "B" quartet of freshman Nina Levine (Bedford, N.H.), junior Clare Wieland (Lake Forest, Ill.) sophomore Lilia Staszel (Brighton, Mich.) and classmate Delaney Burns (Scituate, Mass.) finished seventh in the 800-free relay with a time of 7:54.17. 

- In the 1650-free, sophomore Rachel O'Grady (Sarasota, Fla.) finished in fifth place with a time of 17:35.42. However, her 1000-split time of 10:35.99 was a new personal best for O'Grady. She was followed by freshman Audrey Gaither (Ross, Calif.), who clocked a time of 18:34.74 for 11th place in her first collegiate 1650. The freshman also posted a 1000-split time of 11:05.95.

- In the diving well, MIT had five finishers inside the top-14 in the field of 20 student-athletes highlighted by a first-place finish by sophomore Blake Zhou (Palo Alto, Calif.). Zhou notched a collegiate-best 310.05 points over six dives, while freshman Deborah Wen (Honolulu, Hawaii) followed suit with a personal best score of 290.30 for third place.

- Junior Morgan Matranga (Moraga, Calif.) finished 10th with 244.20 points, classmate Dolly Payne (Los Alamitos, Calif.) finished 11th with 232 points and freshman Bethany Moore (Eden Prairie, Minn.) took 14th with a score of 186.60.

UP NEXT:

- The Engineers return to the pool tomorrow morning for the second day of the 2017 MIT Winter Invitational. Prelims begin at 10:00 a.m. and finals will start at 6:00 p.m. Events scheduled for tomorrow include the 200-free relay, 200-fly, 200-free, 100-breast, 100-back, 400-IM, 50-free, 400-medley relay, women's 3-meter diving and men's 1-meter diving.

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