Marks Pierce strong at NCAAs

FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas swimmers Jamie Marks and Leah Pierce posted strong personal times on the second day of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind.

"We had a very good morning session today," Arkansas coach Jeff Poppell said. "Jamie Marks showed a lot of heart bouncing back from a disappointing performance yesterday and posting the fastest preliminary swim of her career in the 400 IM. She has always struggled with her morning swims, as she is a very strong finals swimmer. However, this morning’s time was her fastest in the event and should give her a lot of confidence going into her best event tomorrow.

Marks stopped the clock at 4:15.50 to place 33rd in the preliminaries of the 400-yard individual medley.

Pierce posted a time of 1:01.99 to finish 30th in the preliminaries of the 100y breaststroke.

"Leah Pierce had a fantastic first swim of her NCAA Championships by equaling the time she posted in the finals at the SEC Championships," Poppell said. "She looked strong in the water, and I think this sets her up very well for her best event tomorrow as well."

All three Arkansas swimmers will compete on Saturday’s final day of the meet. Marks will swim in the 1,650y freestyle while Pierce and Yi-Ting Siow will participate in the 200y breaststroke. Each swimmer received All-America honors in these events at last year’s NCAAs.

"Yi-Ting felt a little better today after scratching the 400 IM and using the day to get healthy," Poppell said. "It was difficult to watch the 400 IM knowing that her time of 4:07.29 would have been the fifth-fastest overall had she swum the event. However, we are hopeful that the day of rest will help her feel more healthy tomorrow for the 200y breaststroke, where she has an opportunity to contend."

Preliminaries are set to begin at 11 a.m. CDT with finals scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT.