Kentucky Remains in the Mix Through Second Day of SEC Championships


COLUMBIA, Mo. – Kentucky’s swimming and diving program finished up the second day of the 2016 Southeastern Conference Championships on Wednesday, with 10 different athletes posting times that rank in UK’s top-10 all-time list.  At the end of the day, the Kentucky women are in seventh with 222 points, while the men are in ninth with 233 points.

Leading the women’s side is Tennessee with 437.5 points, followed by Georgia (430), Texas A&M (412.5), Florida (274), Missouri (244.5), LSU (226), Kentucky, Arkansas (219), Auburn (217.5), South Carolina (173), Alabama (150) and Vanderbilt (92).

On the men’s side, three-time reigning SEC champions Florida lead the way with 504 points, followed by Auburn (497), Georgia (362), Alabama (361), Missouri (312), Tennessee (284), Texas A&M (260), South Carolina (248), Kentucky and LSU (213).

The women’s team recorded seven top-10 times between the 500 free and 200 IM.  Both Kendal Casey and Geena Freriks appeared in the B final of the event, going 2-3 behind Casey’s 4:43.30 while Freriks was right behind in 4:43.46 and moved up to third on Kentucky’s all-time list.  Kathryn Painter finished eighth in the C final, with her preliminary swim of 4:46.35 moving the freshman into UK laurels to hold down the sixth-fastest time in school history.   Two freshmen also cracked the top-10 in the morning session, with Meredith Whisenhunt going 4:47.66 to finish 27th and Olivia Treski touching in at 4:48.32 for a 29th-place finish, good for seventh and ninth in program history.

Personal records continued to fall in the 200 IM, but the Wildcats fell short of earning a second swim as Danielle Galyer was the first alternate in 1:59.76.  Though not a career mark for the junior or Bridgette Alexander, who was second for the team in 2:00.19 for 30th, three other Wildcats posted personal bests in the event.  Kendra Crew led the way in 2:00.21, good for third all-time, while Ann Davies swam a 2:00.46 for the fourth-fastest time in program history.  Morgan Belli rounded out the group with a 2:01.40, putting the sophomore at seventh on the all-time list.  

Kentucky did not enter any competitors into the 50 free, but did show improvement in the 200 free relay behind the lineup of Haley McInerny, Alexander, Whisenhunt and Casey.  The quartet improved the team’s previous season best by more than two and a half seconds, clocking in at 1:32.17 to finish second in the opening heat and place 10th overall.

On the men’s side, Isaac Jones led the way in the 500 free, finishing third in the B final in 4:19.15 for the second-fastest swim of his career, while Drew Aviotti also made the B final and placed eighth in 4:24.05 after recording a 4:21.47 in the prelims to tie the seventh-fastest time in school history.  In the C final, Kyle Higgins took third in a personal-best 4:20.36, which not only moves the junior onto the top-10 list but puts him at the fourth-fastest swim for UK.  Scott Crosthwaite swam alongside Higgins in the B final with an eighth-place finish after clocking a 4:22.52 in the prelims.  

Like the women, the men did not have a swimmer appear in any of the three finals for the 200 IM.  George Greenhalgh, however, led the Wildcats with a time of 1:49.32, good for eighth all-time on UK’s list and 32nd overall during the morning session.  In the final individual swimming event, Cobe Garcia set another personal record in the 50 free, earning a spot in the B final in 19.81 seconds while Sean Gunn finished 27th in a personal-best 20.22 seconds.  Garcia went on to finish eighth in the B final, clocking in at 20.51 seconds.  Both Garcia and Gunn swam in the 200 free relay along with David Dingess and Walker Thaning, as the quartet combined for a season-best 1:19.08 and a seventh-place finish overall.

The men’s 1-meter dive was also contested on Wednesday, led by Seb Masterton in 13th after notching 302.55 points.  Levi Lindsey followed in 17th with 289.25 points, while Noah Richter placed 21st with 76.40 points and Stephen Jou posted a 267.60 for 24th.

“It was a great day overall; we made a lot of improvements,” commented head coach Lars Jorgensen.  “The 500 people were really good, Cobe in the 50 getting some second swims, those last two relays were actually really good for us.  Tomorrow is a big day, we missed a couple opportunities today but overall it was a really good day.  Tomorrow morning is really, really critical for us, so we’ve got to keep the momentum going.”

 Tomorrow’s prelims will start off with the 400 IM at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the 100 fly, 200 free and women’s 3-meter dive.  Thursday will be the only day without a relay contested in the evening session, which begins at 6 p.m. 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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