Danielle Galyer Becomes First NCAA Swimming Champion in Program History

Complete Results

ATLANTA –  Kentucky women’s swimming and diving saved its most memorable day for last, as junior Danielle Galyer became the first swimmer in the history of the program to win a national championship title.  Galyer broke her own UK record in the 200 back, winning by a margin of more than half a second.  Overall, the Wildcats finished 22nd with 40 points.  UK was the sixth-highest placer from the Southeastern Conference, behind the 2016 NCAA champion Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri, Tennessee and Florida.  

Galyer was the only member of the team to advance to a final on the last day of the NCAA Championships, earning the top seed in the prelims to be the favored swimmer in the evening session.  She broke her own UK record with a 1:50.04, earning the top seed by nearly a second over the highly-seeded Courtney Bartholomew of Virginia.  The two were neck-and-neck during the final session, both touching the wall at 1:21.61 going into the final 50.  Galyer bested Bartholomew by .58 seconds to take the victory in a new record time of 1:49.71, earning her second consecutive All-America First Team honors in the event.  With her time, Galyer now ranks sixth on the all-time US Open list for the event, as she is just the 10th swimmer to ever dip below the 1:50.00 barrier.  Bridgette Alexander also competed in the prelims, just missing out on a second swim in 1:53.65, finishing 20th overall.

Galyer is the first Wildcat to earn a national title in swimming, and the second in any event with Taryn Ignacio accomplishing the feat in the platform dive in 2006.

When asked about her success, Galyer remained humble and thankful of her support system, saying, “It’s just our team.  We’re on the rise. We have amazing recruiting and amazing coaches, and I wouldn’t be here without my teammates pushing me every day.”

Head coach Lars Jorgensen had a different response regarding Galyer’s win, giving immense praise to the first national champion that he had ever coached in his career. “She’s executed the game plan; she’s worked so hard all year.  On top of that, she won the academic award for the NCAA (Elite 90).  We’re so proud of her, our first national champion.  Hopefully there will be some more down the road.  She just kind of proves that you can do it at Kentucky.  She’s a great leader, a great member of the team, and I’m so proud of her.”

The Wildcats had two exemplary swims from their freshmen in the prelims session, as Geena Freriks and Kathryn Painter both earned top-35 finishes with the second-fastest times in program history in their respective events.  Freriks swam a personal-best 49.24 to win her heat in the 100 free, finishing 35th in the nation in her rookie appearance.  Freriks’ freshman campaign ended as one of the most successful in school history, with a UK record in the 200 free to go with an SEC bronze medal.  

Painter also won her heat in the 1650 free, touching in at 16:12.86 for nearly a seven-second improvement on her previous personal best.  She ends her freshman season as the UK record holder in the 400 IM.  Also competing in the mile was Kendal Casey, who finished in 16:28.51.  Kendra Crew rounded out the swimmers, placing 35th in 2:11.85.  

On the platform dive, UK had a veteran and rookie duo in Rebecca Hamperian and Courtney Clark.  Hamperian paced the Wildcats with 215.65 to finish 30th, while Clark took 42nd with 185.30 points.  

The 2015-16 collegiate season is over for the women’s team, but the Wildcats will continue to compete in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Trials.  The Trials will be held this summer in Omaha, Neb., on June 26-July 3.

For the latest on the Kentucky swimming and diving program, follow @UKSwimDive on Twitter, on Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive, and on the web at ukathletics.com.