Swimming and Diving Earns Big Win at Cincinnati
CINCINNATI - The Kentucky swimming and diving team concluded regular season action with a dominant, well-rounded victory over Cincinnati Friday.
The UK women recorded a 216-84 victory, while the men scored an identical 216-84 win to at UC's Keating Aquatics Center. The Wildcats won all but five events, with 19 different athletes claiming victories in 24 individual events won by UK.
Kentucky won three of the four relay events and swept the four diving events. UK claimed the top four spots in four races, the top three spots in five additional contests and 11 more races saw the Wildcats finish first and second. In total 20 of Kentucky's 27 wins also resulted in UK claiming at least the top two places.
Senior Christina Bechtel was one of five Wildcats to win two individual races, and Bechtel also assisted in one relay victory. Freshmen Bridgette Alexander, Isaac Jones and Levi Lindsey and junior Whit Widdowson also posted two individual wins.
Senior Abby Myers notched an individual win and assisted on two relay wins, while sophomore Sean Gunn, freshman Walker Thaning and senior Sam Shaheen recorded both an individual victory and a win in a relay event to join the group of nine total Wildcats with a share of at least two first-place finishes.
Bechtel's first win came in the 200 freestyle, with a 1:51.50, as Kentucky posted its first 1-2-3-4 finish of the day. The senior recorded her second win in the 100 butterfly with a 55.08 to help the Wildcats to another 1-2-3-4 finish. Bechtel and the UK women won their final event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay. Bechtel swam second in 25.24 as the Wildcats finished first in 3:29.70.
Alexander earned her first win with a 56.84 in the 100 backstroke to win by 0.33 seconds. Alexander swept the backstroke events with a 2:01.05 in the 200 to win by over six seconds.
Widdowson claimed a win in the 100 breaststroke with a 57.10 for the UK men's first 1-2-3-4 finish of the meet. Widdowson swept the breaststroke events with a win in the 200 in 2:05.09 to beat out teammate Adam Shaw by 0.39 seconds.
Jones touched the wall first in the 200 butterfly in 1:49.09, in addition to a first-place finish in the 400 individual medley in 3:57.75 to lead a 1-2-3 finish for the Wildcats.
For the divers, UK finished at least 1-2 in all four events. Starting the day on 3-meter, Lindsey posted a 368.70 to finish ahead of teammates Stephen Jou's 325.50 and Noah Richter's 308.25. Sophomore Rebecca Hamperian led the women with a 327.38, followed closely by Christa Cabot with a 316.20.
On platform, Cabot won with a 307.28 and Hamperian was second with a 279.68. Lindsey earned the win for the men with a 372.75 and Richter placed second with a 274.13.
"We had a good day, and a great opportunity to dive platform," UK head diving coach Ted Hautau said. "Rebecca Hamperian and Christa Cabot split the wins today, and Levi Lindsey won both men's events. Both Rebecca and Levi broke their career-high scores on platform, and Stephen Jou also had a career-high on 3-meter and qualified for the NCAA Zone Championships meet."
After 18 days away from the competition pool, the Wildcats begin postseason play at the SEC Championships. UK will travel to Auburn, Ala., Feb. 17-21 for the annual conference tournament.
For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Swimming and Diving program, go to UKathletics.com/SwimmingDiving. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKSwimDive and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive.