Kentucky Set for Top-25 Showdown with Tennessee and Indiana
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky swimming and diving teams will open their home slate Friday, as they host a double dual meet against top-25 opponents Indiana and Tennessee at 11 a.m. ET inside Lancaster Aquatic Center. The Wildcats will don pink swim caps in honor of breast cancer awareness month.
“We’re really excited to host two great teams,” said Kentucky head coach Lars Jorgensen. “It’s a good opportunity for us to compete against some of the best out there. Competing against two top programs gives us the opportunity to really push ourselves to prepare for March. As long as we keep getting better and competing our best, that’s our focus so we can be relevant at the end of the season.”
All six squads competing in Friday’s meet are ranked in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) NCAA Division I Coaches’ Poll, which was released Oct. 26. Kentucky’s men are slotted at No. 18, while the women are ranked 21st. This is the first time both teams have been ranked at the same time under head coach Lars Jorgensen, who is in his fourth year at the helm.
Indiana’s men enter the meet with the highest ranking of all six as they hold down the top spot in the poll, while the Indiana women come in at No. 12. Indiana’s roster features eight athletes who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, including gold medalists Lilly King and Blake Pieroni, silver medalist Michael Hixon and bronze medalist Kennedy Goss.
“Indiana is one of the best programs in the country and they’re well coached,” said Jorgensen. “They bring five Rio medalists, and last week their men took down two of the best programs in the country in Texas and defending SEC Champion Florida.”
Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee’s men sit at No. 13 in the CSCAA poll, while their women just edged out Indiana, taking the 11th spot. Last week, the Vols took down North Carolina in their first dual meet of the season. The women won with a 205-167 tally, while the men earned a 216-156 victory over the Tarheels. The Vols will face Louisville in a home dual meet Thursday before heading to Lexington the next day.
Admission to Friday’s meet, as well as all UK home meets, are free to the public.
Fans can park in Parking Structure No. 7, located within walking distance of Lancaster Aquatic Center on the corner of Complex Drive and Sports Center Drive.
KENTUCKY ATHLETES IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Early in the season, Kentucky has already posted 28 times that currently rank in the top-25 nationally among Division I swimmers, including five times that rank in the top 10 nationally.
Senior Kyle Higgins holds the highest-ranked time, as he owns the No. 1 spot in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:45.37. Higgins also ranks 21st in the 100 fly with his 48.38 performance against Auburn.
The men’s distance freestyle events have proven to be a strong specialty for the Wildcats, holding eight top-25 times between the 500, 1000 and 1650 races. Andrew Aviotti holds the 5th fastest time in the 1650 freestyle race with his 15:19.00 swim at South Carolina, and the No. 6 spot in the 1000 free after posting a 9:13.56 in Auburn. Jarod Kehl ranks among the top-20 of all three races: 17th in the 500 free, 19th in the 1000 free and 14th in the 1650 free.
On the women’s side, the top time comes from Kathryn Painter, as her 16:57.66 finish at South Carolina earns her the 9th fastest time in the country. Kendal Casey and Kelly Berger follow close behind Painter, owning the No. 19 and 20 spots in the event, respectively.
Defending NCAA Champion in the 200 backstroke, Danielle Galyer currently holds the 15th fastest time in the event with her 1:58.08 time vs. Auburn. Her younger sister, Ali Galyer, currently is the top-ranking Wildcat in the event, as her 1:57.66 is good for 10th.
LAST TIME OUT
Both UK’s men’s and women’s squads are coming off back-to-back SEC road duals, as they traveled to Auburn and South Carolina Oct. 12 and 13 to open their seasons. Both teams’ records sit at 1-1, after defeating the Gamecocks and falling to the Tigers.
At Auburn, the women’s team fell 178.5-121.5, and the men 173-127. The Wildcats then wrapped up their two-day road stretch with a pair of wins over South Carolina. Neither UK squad trailed in the outing, with the men winning 196-104, and the women 197-103.