With the odds set against her, junior Kelli Stein broke the Wisconsin monopoly over individual races and earned her first Big Ten swimming title, winning the 200-yard breaststroke.

Seeded second after the preliminary race early Saturday morning, Stein came back that same evening to pull ahead of her close competitors and provided a huge upset over rival Wisconsin swimmers. She improved her personal best time by two seconds.

Stein’s race time also qualified her for the NCAA Championships later this month.

With this swim, Stein led the Michigan women’s swimming and diving team to a fourth-place team finish at the Big Ten Championships at Purdue last weekend.

The Wolverines finished the four-day conference meet with 460 points, behind top Big Ten leaders: Indiana (595), Wisconsin (561) and Penn State (509).

The Wolverines had other great swims by Emily-Clare Fenn, Sara Johnson, Anne Weilbacher and the incredible 400-yard freestyle relay of Erin Abbey, Weilbacher, Amy McCullough and Abby Seskevics.

Fenn placed second in the 1,650-yard free. Her time was more than seven seconds faster than the necessary qualifying time for the NCAA Championships.

Johnson received a Big Ten title in the 200-yard individual medley, and also finished third in the 200-yard backstroke, just .03 seconds behind the second-place winner.

Junior co-captain Weilbacher broke the eight-year-old school record in the 200-yard butterfly, placing second overall in the event and qualifying for the NCAA Championships. She and the first place winner from Penn State became the first two swimmers ever to complete the event in under 54 seconds at the championships.

The fast 400-yard free relay posted a respectable second-place finish and qualified for the NCAA Championships. The relay also helped finalize Michigan’s overall fourth-place team standing in the Big Ten.

Michigan’s divers will compete in the NCAA Zone Meet March 14-15 at Miami University of Ohio. The swimmers will be preparing for the NCAA Championships March 20-22 at Auburn University. Michigan is currently ranked 19th.

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