The Fresno State swim and dive team finished second in the Bulldog Invitational – the two-day meet that concluded Saturday at the Aquatics Center – led by its underclassmen who left a lasting first impression.
Freshman Hailee Baldwin won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:20.95 – her first collegiate meet – beating San Jose State senior Darcie Anderson by less than a second. It was the difference maker for the Bulldogs, whose 765.5 points gave them a second-place finish, 14.5 points more than the Spartans.
“We knew that she [Baldwin] could get up there and race,” Fresno State coach Jeanne Fleck said. “For her to do this at a big meet like this, stepping it up in her first meet, was awesome.”
Sophomore Kelly Simmons set a personal record in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:05.91 and a fifth-place finish. Freshman Esme Gullick, like Baldwin, also swam in her first collegiate meet, placing sixth in the 200 intermediate medley with a score of 2:09.30.
Senior Hannah Prigge placed second in the 1-meter dive with a score of 292.95, a new career-best. She also finished second in the 3-meter dive with a time of 287.925.
Prigge, who was named an NCAA Honorable Mention All-American after her performance in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships last season, broke the Fresno State record for the 3-meter with a score of 324.60 last January.
“It’s my last year. I just want to go out and be really aggressive this year,” Prigge said. “I’m hoping to make NCAAs again. And now that I know what to expect at the bigger meets, I can kind of relax more and just go in and get after it and be confident.”
Fresno State returns to action Nov. 2 at Nevada in its first Mountain West Conference meet of the season.
This year’s swim and dive team features 15 underclassmen, including nine freshmen, the majority of whom competed this weekend.
“This is the best team atmosphere and team group that we’ve had,” Fleck said after the competition. “Everybody had a part in it, and it was really fun, and it was really the way we needed to start.”