I was a four-time Big Ten champion in men''s swimming, earning the most league titles in that sport in Illini history. My crowns came in 1968 and ''69 as I swept the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes. I also was a two-time All-American: in the 100 breaststroke in 1967 and in the 200 breaststroke in ''68. I arrived at Illinois as an IHSA state champion, winning the 100 breaststroke in 1965 for Champaign High.
In 1987, I established the Illinois school record in the 50 free with a time of 23.76 seconds. I''ve seen been passed many times, so my time is now seventh-best. But I was part of a 200 free relay that also earned a spot on the school''s top 10 all-time list, and as a group we placed 28th at the 1987 NCAA meet.
In 1988, I became the second Illini diver to earn All-American honors, following Robin Duffy in 1982. I placed seventh at the NCAA meet in 3-meter diving, while my teammate, Ann-Marie Beavis, didn''t finish because of an injury.
I''m one of seven Illinois women to earn All-American honors in swimming or diving. In 2001, I earned honorable mention honors in the 400 individual medley, an event in which I was 14th at the NCAA meet. It was the third time I swam that event at nationals, and I also excelled in the 200 IM and the 200 breaststroke.
I competed for the Illinois swim team in 1995 and ''96, making a major mark with academic accomplishments. In 1996, I won the George Huff award, was named Academic All-Big Ten and was a first-team at-large selection to the presitigious GTE CoSIDE team, the only woman in UI swimming history to earn the distinction.
I excelled in a sport that''s no longer offered at Illinois: men''s swimming. In 1934, I won the first of two NCAA titles in the 50-yard freestyle, tying a meet record by finishing in 23.8 seconds. The next year, I broke the record with a 23.0 clocking. That mark stood until 1943. I wone three NCAA titles in all, including the 100-yard freestyle in 1935. I also captured five Big Ten crowns. In 1934, I was the league''s best in the 50, 100 and 220 freestyles. One year later, I successfully defended my conference titles in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
In 1982, I was the first Illini swimmer to earn All-America honors. I held the 3-meter diving school record for six dives until Lisa Fish broke it in 2003. I also had the 1-meter school record for 10 dives until 1989, when Sabine Taaffe passed me. My best postseason finish came in 1980, when I placed 18th in 1-meter at the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national meet.
BISMARCK – Marissa Clapp deserves a hand. Not many athletes from Class A schools without swimming pools are able to earn scholarships in the sport to a Division I university.
Clapp, a co-valedictorian at Bismarck-Henning, used her right hand to sign a letter of intent Thursday, making official what she indicated earlier: She will attend her parents'' alma mater and swim for Illinois.
Illinois'' Barbie Viney, Kirsten Koepcke, Kellie Stevens and Amy Downing clocked 7 minutes, 20.97 seconds to finish seventh in the 800-yard freestyle relay on the first day of the Big Ten Women''s Swimming and Diving Championships.
Illinois senior Kirsten Koepcke won the 1,000 freestyle Friday at the Big Ten Quad Meet in West Lafayette, Ind.