The No. 9 women's swimming team is in second place after the second day of the Big Ten Conference Championships, thanks to strong performances from junior Carly Piper and senior Bethany Pendleton. Wisconsin has 199 points heading into the third day, while Michigan leads all teams with 213 points. Host Minnesota is in sixth with 149 points.
Piper earned an automatic NCAA qualifying time with her first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle, the third straight year she won the event, this time in 4:42.64.
Senior Bethany Pendleton won her first Big Ten title in the 200-yard individual medley and set a new school record of 1:58.25. Senior Emily Pisula took fifth in the event and sophomores Amalia Sarnecki and Anna Trinidad took sixth and seventh, respectively.
"I am not a very good breaststroker so on the first turn of the breaststroke, I thought people were going to start creeping up on me and they didn't," said Pendleton of the race. "From then on, I was like alright 'Let's go!' but everything just came together. Tonight, I hit every turn perfectly and it just felt great. I don't think I can put into words how good it felt."
The Badgers also earned points off the 200-yard freestyle relay team, which finished second. Sophomore Sarah Hernandez, freshman Susan Johnson, senior Molly Buhrandt and Pendleton swam on the team, which finished in 1:31.48.
"We were much better today and I think we can continue to get better each session so we're not out of it yet," head coach Eric Hansen said.