A 200-meter relay served as Wisconsin's highlight for the second consecutive day at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships Friday.
UW's 200 medley relay team of junior Adam Mania and seniors Kevin Zakrzewski, Matt Marshall and Dale Rogers posted a fourth-place finish in a time of 1:36.82 to earn All-America honors. Wisconsin had qualified sixth during the morning's preliminary round. Wisconsin placed ninth in the 200 freestyle relay during Thursday's first day.
The 200 medley relay's strong performance helped Wisconsin jump six spots in the team standings up to 13th place after Friday's events concluded.
The Badgers have compiled 67 points. Auburn continues to lead the event with 435 points, nearly 200 points ahead of second-place Stanford. Michigan is the top Big Ten team through two days, ranking fifth (197). Northwestern is in ninth place (93) and Minnesota is tenth (82).
The 200 medley relay significantly improved upon its performance at the 2003 NCAA meet last year, where the same quartet placed 11th in the event. The team's time this year set a new Big Ten record in the event, besting the previous mark set by Minnesota in 2000.
The fourth-place finish also marks a tie for the highest finish by a Badger relay team in school history. The 400 freestyle relay teams in 1957 and 1968 also finished fourth.
"It was a great performance by our men," Wisconsin head coach Eric Hansen said. "For Kevin, Adam, Matt and Dale to qualify sixth and move up to fourth and set a Big Ten record in the process is a credit to all the hard work that they have put in. It shows how much they have grown as athletes. Kevin had a great swim for us on the breaststroke leg. It's a great way for him to go out."
Also Friday, the Badgers' 800 freestyle relay fell just shy of earning All-America distinction, placing tenth during the evening's time-trial finals. The quartet of juniors Tim Liebhold and Eric Wiesner and seniors Rogers and Pat Torpey posted a time of 7:14.95 to finish second in their heat and be named honorable mention All-Americans.
Mania provided Wisconsin additional points in the 100 backstroke. The junior finished fourth in the consolation final to place 12th overall with a time of 53.15. The effort was an improvement of one spot from the 2003 championships.
The Badgers will wrap up competition at the national championships on Saturday when they compete in the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and 400 freestyle relay.
"We look forward to another great relay tomorrow night in the hopes of continuing to move up in the standings," Hansen stated.