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Sundstrand Leads The Way on Day 2

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Hurricanes swimming team carried its momentum into Day 2 of the Miami Invite Thursday, and will enter Friday’s final rounds of competition sporting a 657-612 lead over Vanderbilt.

The Hurricanes, who delivered a strong start to the three-day invitational on Wednesday, kept up their momentum in the night’s finals on Thursday at the Whitten Center Pool.

“It was another good day for us,” head swimming coach Andy Kershaw said. “This morning’s prelim session was not quite as good as we were hoping for, but we still had lots of good swims this morning. Tonight, we challenged the team to rise up for finals and raise the level from this morning, and they responded really, really well. We had lots of impressive swims.”

Miami’s 200-yard medley relay team delivered a thrilling start to the night, with senior Alaina Skellett, freshman Emma Sundstrand, freshman Savannah Barr and senior Sydney Knapp taking first with a time of 1:41.80.

Barr (54.35) and sophomore Isabel Traba (55.81) scored points for the Hurricanes in the ‘A’ final of the 100-yard butterfly, but it was sophomore Aino Otava – who broke into Miami’s record books with a dominant outing Thursday – who delivered one of the best finishes of the day, a time of 4:22.57 in the 400-yard IM.

Otava’s time was the eighth-fastest in school history, as she added her name to the second list of top-10 all-time performances in as many days.

Kershaw called Sundstrand Miami’s “swimmer of the day.” The freshman posted an NCAA ‘B’ cut in the 100-yard breaststroke in only her second collegiate meet, finishing in a blazing time of 1:01.31.

It was the third-fastest time in program history.

“That was great to see,” Kershaw said of Sundstrand’s performance. “I’m really proud of her. She was really excited about it, and her teammates were excited for her.”

The Hurricanes’ two co-captains – Carmen San Nicolas and Knapp – took the top-two finishes in the 200-yard freestyle. San Nicolas was first (1:49.72) while Knapp finished second (1:50.65).

“We definitely saw a resurgence, I would say, of Carmen and Sydney,” Kershaw said. “They’ve been really doing a good job working hard to come out of the quarantine and really re-established themselves, I would say, these last couple sessions. That has been really gratifying to see. I’m really proud of all the seniors.”

Barr also posted two times that ranked in the top-10 in school history – one in the 100-yard butterfly (54.35) and one in the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.06) as part of Miami’s 800-yard freestyle relay team.

“It was a combination of young swimmers and veteran swimmers making contributions, and that’s what you look to have – you look to have that combination of all your classes coming together and doing it,” Kershaw said. “As I told them, it all stems from the energy and unity of the team and pride in repping The U. I’m really proud of them.”

The Hurricanes wrap up the Miami Invite Friday; morning prelims will begin at 9 a.m. while the night’s finals will take place at 6 p.m.

“We’re excited for tomorrow. We’ve got one more day here,” he said. “I can’t wait to see them swim again. It has been great swimming under the lights, and looking forward to doing it again tomorrow.”