Galyer Posts Nation-Leading Swim in the 200 Back at OSU Invitational
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The third day of the Ohio State Invitational saw more top performances for the Kentucky swimming team, as the Wildcats wrapped up the meet with a third-place finish for both the men’s and women’s squads. The men tallied 569 points behind Florida (1388.5) and Ohio State (1304.5), while the women had 691.5 points, also behind Florida (1171.5) and OSU (922). The morning session saw five personal records, five Olympic Trials cuts, and one school record in long course meters (LCM) races. The Cats then had 22 personal records, 14 NCAA B cuts, nine swims that rank among UK’s top-10 performances, one NCAA A cut, and one school record in the short course yards (SCY) races.
“It was great tonight. I really liked the way we competed across them all,” noted head coach Lars Jorgensen. “In the 1650 (free), both the girls and the boys were really good. The 200 backstrokes, the 100 freestyles, I’m just happy the way they competed. The last 400 freestyle relay, we had three guys’ relays that were 3:02 or better, which is really fast for us. And the girls’ relay was 3:20, last year they were 3:22, so really pleased with the meet overall.”
Highlighting the meet for the Blue and White was Danielle Galyer, who posted a nation-leading swim to win in the SCY 200 back. Galyer had the third-fastest swim of her career, clocking in at 1:51.52 for the first NCAA A cut of the season for the junior. Bridgette Alexander was close behind her in 1:53.91 for third and an NCAA B cut just half a second off her career best, while Kayla Churman also notched a B cut in 1:58.78. Galyer also won the LCM race in 2:12.41, with Alexander finishing in 2:12.53 for a pair of Olympic Trials cuts, while Churman narrowly missed out on the standard by six hundredths of a second in 2:17.05.
The women also had a solid showing in the 200 breast, with Kendra Crew breaking her own school record in the event in SCY. Crew became not only the first Wildcat to swim under the 2:13.00 mark, but she burst through the 2:12.00 barrier with more than a second of improvement in 2:11.97 to finish second. Ann Davies placed fourth in the event with a personal record of 2:14.34, as the two recorded NCAA B cuts and Davies retained her spot at fourth on UK’s all-time list. In the LCM race, the duo went 1-2 in their heat with Crew in 2:34.48, an Olympic Trials standard, while Davies clocked a 2:36.24.
Another UK record fell in the LCM 100 free, as Geena Freriks recorded her first Olympic Trials cut with a heat win in 56.29 seconds. She went on to finish runner-up in the SCY race, recording an NCAA B cut in 49.49 seconds. Additionally, her swim ranks fifth in program laurels, and she finished the meet with a 400 free relay leadoff split of 49.89 for her second B cut swim in the same day. Freriks teamed up with Galyer, Haley McInerny and Alexander to finish runner-up in 3:20.82.
The 1650 free saw three Wildcats notch B cuts, led by Kendal Casey with a third-place finish by way of a personal record in 16:15.53. Casey retains her spot as the second-fastest in the event in program history, and was trailed by Kathryn Painter in 16:27.22, the sixth-best swim in the 1650 free. Kelly Berger also recorded a B cut in 16:29.61, while Meredith Whisenhunt etched her name into UK laurels with the eighth-fastest swim by a Wildcat in 16:40.37.
One more B cut was earned by McInerny, who swam the fourth-fastest 200 fly in UK history with a fourth-place finish in 1:59.50. McInerny also placed third in her LCM heat in 2:15.54, while Whisenhunt just missed out on an Olympic Trials cut by .40 seconds in 2:15.39.
The men showcased the most strength in the 200 fly, with three NCAA B cuts from Kyle Higgins, Bowen Anderson, and Matthew Beach. Higgins finished second in 1:45.30 for his third time under the NCAA B standard of the season, while Beach took seventh in the A final in 1:47.49. Anderson had a strong race in the B final, winning in 1:47.17. In the morning session, Higgins won his heat and placed second overall in the LCM race, clocking a 2:01.14 for an Olympic Trials cut.
Andrew Aviotti recorded the final B cut of the day, finishing 25 seconds under the standard in the 1650 free in 15:05.24. The UK record holder was just over five seconds off his personal best, and finished fourth after fending off a Gator and a Buckeye, beating both by less than half a second.
Brandon Flynn fell just shy of a consideration mark in the SCY 200 breast, placing third overall in 2:00.57 for more than a three-second personal record and the fifth-fastest swim in UK history. The junior also placed fourth in the LCM race after touching in at 2:23.68.
Sean Gunn led the team in the freestyle sprints, narrowly missing out on a B cut in the 100 free after a fourth-place performance in 44.85 seconds, just .14 seconds off his career best. Gunn did, however, land an Olympic Trials standard for his native Zimbabwe, taking second in his heat in 51.48 seconds. Scott Crosthwaite also appeared in the A final alongside Gunn, finishing seventh in 45.26 seconds.
In the 200 back, Walker Thaning paced the Wildcats in both the LCM and SCY races. Thaning placed third in the opening heat and secured his spot in the A final with a 2:06.32, while Josh Swart clocked in at 2:06.94. The two swam in the SCY A final, with Thaning recording a 1:47.34 while Swart dipped below the 1:50.00 mark for the first time in his UK career in 1:49.20.
The men ended with a consistent effort in the 400 free relay, with three of the lineups finishing under the 3:03.00 mark. The quartet of Swart, Gunn, Cobe Garcia and Austin Haney led the way in 3:02.35, while Thaning led off for Shane Anderson, Higgins and Flynn in 3:02.44. The third relay of Matt Roman, Crosthwaite, B. Anderson and Matheus Gerotto clocked a 3:02.92 exhibition swim.
At the House of Champions in Indianapolis, Ind., the diving squad picked up a victory from Rebecca Hamperian in the 1-meter dive with 295.75 points. Kailey Francetic was close behind in third with 264.50 points, and Courtney Clark placed sixth with 240.55 points. In the men's 3-meter dive, Seb Masterton continued to lead the way for the Wildcats with a personal-best 344.20 points to finish fourth. Stephen Jou surpassed the 300-point barrier for the first time in his career with 301.05 points to place seventh, and Noah Richter took ninth with 291.70 points.
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