Freriks Crushes 200 Free Record in Bronze Medal Performance


COLUMBIA, Mo. – Kentucky’s swimming and diving team completed the third day of the SEC Championships, with the women sitting in ninth with 286 points while the men are in 10th with 264 points.

Moving into the lead on the women’s side was Texas A&M with 657.5 points, followed by Tennessee (645.5), Georgia (584.5), Florida (426), Auburn, (354.5), Missouri (352.5), LSU (337), Arkansas (303), Kentucky, South Carolina (261), Alabama (234.5), and Vanderbilt (93).

Florida has expanded its lead on the men’s side with 723 points, trailed by Auburn (669), Georgia (572), Alabama (449), Missouri (429), Tennessee (360), South Carolina (315), Texas A&M (291), LSU (288) and Kentucky.

The third day of action was highlighted by a pair of freshmen on the women’s side who both broke UK records in both the preliminary heats and finals.  Geena Freriks became one of the youngest medalists in school history when she shattered the UK record in a blazing 1:44.98 to take home bronze in the championship final of the 200 free.  Freriks started off her day by breaking the record previously set by teammate Danielle Galyer’s 800 relay leadoff time on Tuesday, earning the fifth seed in the A final in 1:46.13 and becoming the first women's swimmer to appear in the A final of the 200 free since 1999, when Rachel Komisarz went on to claim runner-up in Lexington.  With her time, Freriks now ranks 18th in the nation and is the sixth-fastest freshman among NCAA competitors.  Also earning a second swim in the 200 free was Kendal Casey, who finished seventh in the C final in a season-best 1:47.37.

“Making the A finals as a freshman, I was very excited,” commented Freriks. “Breaking the record this morning, I knew I could do it.  My best time before was (1:)46-high and I went (1:)46.9 on the relay.  So going (1:)46.1 this morning, I knew I could go faster at night.  I’m more of a night swimmer, so I was ready for going even faster this evening.”

“Geena’s swim was amazing, third place,” remarked head coach Lars Jorgensen. “Hats off to her, she’s trained so hard.  She’s come a long way in a short period of time and I think she’s got some great upside.  She’s been a great leader, so we look forward to NCAAs and getting better.”

Another record fell when Kathryn Painter broke one of Kentucky’s oldest standing records in the 400 IM, previously set in 1999 by Melissa Olson.  Painter swam a 4:11.30 to upend the standard for the first time, earning a second swim in the B final.  The freshman went on to place fifth in the consolation final, clocking in at 4:10.92 for a mark that now sits at 23rd in the nation.  

The freshman class continued to shine when Haley McInerny moved up in the top-10 in the 100 fly, swimming a 53.81 in the prelims for a time that is the sixth-fastest in program laurels.  All four of the times that scored for the Wildcats were NCAA consideration qualifying marks, or B cuts.

In the 3-meter dive, Rebecca Hamperian paced the team with a 12th-place finish with 290.30 points.  Maddie Gordon also scored for the Blue and White with 269.15 points for 22nd, followed by Kailey Francetic in 25th with 262.30 points.  

On the men’s side, four Wildcats earned second swims after their preliminary swims.  The team was most heavily represented in the 200 free, led by Sean Gunn with a 1:36.04 for the second-fastest swim of his career and a 12th-place finish.  Scott Crosthwaite clocked in at 1:36.96 in the B final, while Isaac Jones swam a 1:37.89 in the C final.  All three swims go down as NCAA B cuts for the trio of Wildcats.

Kyle Higgins had his fastest swims of the year in the 100 fly, swimming a 47.83 in the prelims before going 47.63 to take seventh in the C final.  Higgins’ time fell under the B cut standard, as did Matt Roman’s time of 48.08 seconds, David Dingess’ mark of 48.14, and Josh Swart’s 48.26 as the three took 31st, 32nd and 33rd, respectively.

The men did not have a representative in the finals of the 400 IM, but had Brandon Flynn and Austin Haney finish 29th and 30th in 3:54.88 and 3:55.75.

Jorgensen keeps a positive outlook throughout the remainder of the meet, saying, “tomorrow is a really big day for us.  We’ve got the breaststrokes and the backstrokes should be really good.  We just keep wanting to get better and just make improvements all the way to the last day, in which we’ve got some big races.”

 Tomorrow’s prelims will start off with the 200 fly at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the 100 back, 100 breast, and men’s platform dive.  The evening finals session begins at 6 p.m., and will include the swimming of the 400 medley relay in addition to the events contested in the prelims. The meet will be broadcast on the SEC Network+ with Paul Sunderland and Rowdy Gaines covering the action on the swimming side, while Cynthia Potter will join the booth as a diving analyst.  

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