Chicago - The Billiken swimming and diving squads had some strong races against the Leathernecks of Western Illinois and the Flames of Illinois-Chicago. There were several first-place finishes and many Bills on the podium in Chicago.
The day opened strong for the men, with a quick win in the 200-yard medley relay. Freshman Patrick May, senior Brian Brasser, junior Will Butzke and freshman Zack Billingsley finished at 1:35.73 to get an early lead in the competition.
The women responded with a 2-3-4 finish in the 200-yard freestyle. Sophomore Lizzy Osterman (1:56.88), sophomore Taylor Rogers (2:01.90) and freshman Kristen Gobell (2:02.58) touched the wall in order for the Bills.
The women repeated the performance in the 200-yard butterfly. Freshman Jalynn Gieseke (2:13.27), sophomore Sarah Sikora (2:15.61) and freshman Whitney Gould (2:18.06) gave SLU another 2-3-4 finish on the day.
The men had similar success in the 100-yard breaststroke and freestyle events. Brasser (59.36), freshman Stephen Hansen (1:00.42) and junior Chris Mandli (1:00.66) finished 2-3-4 in the breaststroke. May (47.52), Billingsley (57.54) and fellow freshman Patrick MacArt (47.67) finished 2-3-4 in a tight group in the 100-yard freestyle.
On the men's side of the 200-yard butterfly, Butzke won the first individual event for SLU. His mark of 1:58.60 was a half-second faster than the next swimmer in the event.
Shortly after, Hansen won the second individual event for the Bills' in the meet. His 2:12.50 in the 200-yard breaststroke was nearly two seconds faster than the competition.
Not to be outdone, Gould won the 500-yard freestyle with personal-best 5:17.72 in the event. It is the third-fastest time on the season for Saint Louis, and tops her old best by ten seconds.
Junior Taylor Streid touched the wall first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:11.18. This would be the fourth and final individual win for the Billikens in Chicago.
This was the last competition of 2011 for Saint Louis. The Billikens will return from winter training to compete in the Washington University Invitational in Clayton, Mo. on Jan. 13-14. It will be the second competition in Clayton this season, the last being a dual against the NCAA Division III powerhouse on Sept. 30. The Bills emerged victorious in that meeting.