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Marauders' Murillo wins second straight 200 free NSIC title

Marauders' Murillo wins second straight 200 free NSIC title

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Victoria Murillo wasn’t happy with her first swim at the NSIC championships.

To no one’s surprise, the University of Mary sophomore standout bounced back with a big performance on Thursday.

Murillo repeated as the Northern Sun champion in the 200-yard freestyle with a winning time of 1:51.39 at the Bismarck State College Aquatic & Wellness Center. Her time likely earned her a second straight trip to D-II nationals next month in Ohio.

Murillo, one of the top swimmers in the NSIC, finished seventh in the 1,000 free on Wednesday which wasn’t up to snuff.

“I was pretty disappointed with how I did yesterday,” the Cancun, Mexico native said. “I wasn’t feeling my best. It wasn’t my day. I wanted to come out today and do better.”

She certainly did.

Murillo finished nearly a second ahead of runner-up Chelsea Gehrke of St. Cloud State (1:52.12). University of Mary sophomore Andrea Lee earned her second all-conference finish in many days. Lee took third in the 200 (1:52.43) after placing third in the 1,000 on Wednesday.

“I was just trying to stay patient the first 100 and finish strong the last two 25s,” Murillo said. “Today, it worked out.”

Murillo and Lee form a dynamic duo for the Marauders in the longer freestyle races.

“It’s great to have somebody as good as Andrea as a teammate,” Murillo said. “We push each other every day and make each other better. It’s a great situation for us.”

In less than two years, Murillo already has established herself as one of the premier swimmers in the short history of the U-Mary program.

“I’ve had great coaches last year with Allan (McCallum) and Leah (Neiheisel) this year,” Murillo said. “They push me to work hard and improve.”

Murillo figures to add hardware to her growing collection during the four-day meet, which continues today at 10 a.m. with trials. Finals begin at 5:30 p.m. She owns the fastest time in the conference in the 500 free (4:56.92). She’s seeded fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:25.32). The 500 final is today. The breaststroke is Saturday.

Defending conference champion St. Cloud State jumped into the lead in the team standings. Behind Mady Brinkman’s conference record of 446.90 on the diving board, the Huskies surged to the lead with 439 points. Minnesota State-Mankato (393) holds a narrow six-point edge over Sioux Falls for second.

Augustana’s Taylor Beagle won her second conference title of the meet, this time in the 400 individual medley (55.14).

Ella Johnson of Sioux Falls won the 100 butterly (55.14). The Cougars also won the 400 medley relay (3:45.27) with Lizzy Spaans, Chantal Kasch, Johnson and Jenna Krahn.

St. Cloud State won the first event of the day with Chelsea Gehrke, Alaina Friske, Alexis Burroughs and Kasey Milstroh teaming for a time of 1:33.83 in the 200 free relay.

Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com

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