Records Fall and Medals Awarded as SEC Championships Roll On


COLUMBIA, Mo. – At the end of the penultimate day of the 2016 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, the Kentucky Women have moved up to eighth in the standings with 405 points, while the men are within striking distance of Texas A&M and LSU with 264 points to sit in 10th.  Both the men’s and the women’s side saw numerous top-10 times, including a broken record and an SEC medal apiece.

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

On the women’s side, Texas A&M retained its lead from yesterday with 847.5 points, with Tennessee not far behind with 828.5 points followed by Georgia (815.5), Missouri (545), Auburn (538), Florida (507), LSU (482), Kentucky, Alabama (377), Arkansas (371), South Carolina (324.5) and Vanderbilt (130).

On the women’s side, Danielle Galyer earned her first medal in the 100 back after a fourth-place showing last year, touching in third in 51.78 seconds.  Her swim was just .02 seconds off her school record mark, while her prelims time of 51.77 was a mere one-hundredth of a second off the mark.  Bridgette Alexander also scored for the team in the B final, finishing third in 53.35 seconds.  Kentucky had a top-10 swim in the prelims, as Kristen Keifer nudged her way into program laurels with a 55.84, taking over the 10th-fastest swim in program history and placing 34th overall.

The preliminary heats of the 100 breast saw Kendra Crew take down Laura Graham’s 11-year-old program record, earning the third seed in the B final in 1:01.03.  Crew went on to finish fifth with the second-fastest swim of her career, touching in at 1:01.43.

After swimming the sixth-fastest 100 fly in UK history yesterday, freshman Haley McInerny moved up in the record books with a 1:57.72 in the prelims of the 200 fly, becoming just the third Wildcat to go sub-1:58 for a time that ranks No. 3 in program history.  McInerny went on to place fifth in the B final in 1:58.42.  The freshman class had a strong showing in the 200 fly, with Meredith Whisenhunt earning a second swim after posting a 1:59.22 in the prelims, good for fifth all-time, while Kayla Churman swam a 2:00.35 for the ninth-fastest in program history.  Whisenhunt competed in the C final, finishing seventh in 1:59.75.  

The women ended the day with a seventh-place finish in the 400 medley relay in 3:35.26 behind the lineup of Galyer, Crew, McInerny and Geena Freriks.  The time is an NCAA B cut, as were the individual event swims of Alexander, Crew, Galyer, McInerny and Whisenhunt.

The men’s fourth day was highlighted by freshman Seb Masterton picking up his second silver medal of the meet after finishing runner-up in the platform dive.  Masterton notched a career-best 389.70 points, while Levi Lindsey fell just short of reaching the podium with a fourth-place finish behind a 370.15-point performance.  Stephen Jou was the third finisher for the Wildcats, placing 21st in the prelims with 254.45 points.  

Kentucky had one final athlete in an A final, with George Greenhalgh taking fourth in the 100 breast in 52.77 seconds after going 52.53 in the prelims.  Combined with his school record-breaking performance of 52.51 in Tuesday’s time trials, Greenhalgh has gone sub-53 not only for the first time in his career, but he has done it in three consecutive races.  

The Wildcats had a strong showing in the 200 fly, as five of the six competing swimmers recorded an NCAA B cut.  Kyle Higgins paced the team, winning the B final in a season-best 1:43.98, the second-fastest swim of the junior’s career.  Matt Roman also earned a second swim, clocking in sixth in the C final in a season-best 1:46.21.  Kentucky also saw B cut times out of Isaac Jones (1:47.63), Drew Aviotti (1:47.75) and Matthew Beach (1:47.85).  

Three backstrokers either cracked the UK top-10 or moved up in the 100 back, led by Walker Thaning with his first B cut of the season.  Thaning moved up to third on Kentucky’s all-time list with a 48.04 in the prelims, followed by a 47.98 to finish third in the C final.  Also swimming in the C final was David Dingess, who placed eighth in 48.73 seconds after going 48.59 in the prelims for the seventh-fastest time in school history, closely followed by Josh Swart’s swim in 48.64, good for eighth all-time.

Thaning improved his time once more in the leadoff spot for the 400 medley relay, clocking in at 47.94 to kick off a lineup that would go on to break the school record.  Thaning teamed up with Greenhalgh, Higgins and Sean Gunn to post a 3:11.28, breaking the previous record set in 2014 by nearly half a second for a ninth-place finish.  

 The final day of prelims will start off with the 200 back at 10 a.m. CT, followed by the 100 free, 200 breast and women’s platform dive.  The evening finals session begins at 6 p.m., and will be preceded by the 1650 free and capped off with the 400 free 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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