WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Taite Kitchel and Jinq En Phee have earned the opportunity to represent Purdue women’s swimming & diving at the NCAA Championships.
Kitchel qualified for the third year in a row via her marquee event, the 200 butterfly. Phee earned her spot again via the 100 breaststroke, an event in which she earned All-America honors a year ago.
Divers earn their NCAA berths based on their performances at the Zone Championships. Purdue hosts the Zone C meet next week (March 14-16). The national championship meet invitations for the men’s swimmers will also be announced next week.
To qualify for an individual event, a swimmer’s time had to rank among the top 37 to 39 nationally, depending on the event. Kitchel posted her season-best time of 1:56.13 in the 200 fly at the Boiler-Make-It NCAA Last Chance meet Saturday. Phee’s season best of 59.93 in the 100 breast was at the ACC/Big Ten Championships, which Purdue hosted in November. Kitchel was 36th nationally in the 200 fly and Phee was 38th in the 100 breast.
Because they have NCAA provisional qualifying times (B Cuts) in other events, they’ll also have an opportunity to race in those events at NCAAs. Kitchel is eligible for the 100 fly and 400 IM. However, with the 100 fly and 400 IM on the same day at NCAAs, she’ll likely focus on the 100 fly. Phee will also be entered in the 200 breast.
The Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center in Austin is serving as the host pool of both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Championships this year. It marks the third time in the last seven years that the same aquatic center is hosting both championship meets. Indianapolis (2013, 2017) and Atlanta (2016) also served as the dual-host cities in the same season.
Kitchel broke the program record in the 100 fly with a time of 52.66 at the Big Ten Championships this season, eclipsing a mark that had stood since 2015. She’s the Purdue record holder in both butterfly events. By dropping 1.25 seconds off her season best time in the 200 fly at the Boiler-Make-It meet, she earned another bid to NCAAs. That has been a big meet for her, posting season-best times at it each of the last three years (1:56.54 in 2017, 1:55.90 in 2018, 1:56.13 in 2019). Kitchel’s time from the 2018 Boiler-Make-It meet continues to stand as the program record in the 200 fly.
Phee remains one of only two women to break one minute in the 100 breast. She accomplished the feat for the fifth time this season in November (59.93). The 2016 Olympian registered times of 1:00.12 at the Boiler-Make-It and 1:00.27 at Big Ten’s this year. Her career-best time of 59.32 at the 2018 NCAA Championships earned her a spot in the championship final and clinched All-America honors in her meet debut.
Kitchel and Phee have also helped the Boilermakers establish program records in both medley relays at the Big Ten Championships each of the last two seasons.
The NCAA Championships are set for March 20 to 23. Kitchel and Phee will compete Friday and Saturday (March 22 and 23).
2019 PURDUE WOMEN’S SWIMMING NCAAs QUALIFIERS
Event, Time (Rank Among NCAAs Qualifiers)
Taite Kitchel (NCAAs Qualifier: 2017, 2018, 2019)
200 Fly, 1:56.13 (36th)
100 Fly, 52.66 (50th)
400 IM, 4:17.04 (51st)
Jinq En Phee (NCAAs Qualifier: 2018, 2019)
100 Breast, 59.93 (T-38th)
200 Breast, 2:11.81 (54th)