Three UK Records Broken on SEC Championships Opening Day
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AUBURN, Ala. - The Kentucky swimming and diving team opened the 2015 SEC Championships in a big way Tuesday, with three school records and a pair of diving finalists on the first day of competition in Auburn, Ala.
In the six events on the meet’s opening day, UK notched four top-eight finishes, with senior Christa Cabot and redshirt sophomore Rebecca Hamperian advancing to the 3-meter diving finals and finishing sixth and eighth, respectively. The Wildcats placed fifth and eighth respectively in the women’s and men’s 800 freestyle relay events, both with school-record times. Senior Christina Bechtel’s lead-off time of 1:46.39 in the 800 freestyle also is a new school record in the 200 freestyle.
“Today was a complete effort from both diving and swimming,” UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “Breaking three school records was a great start to the competition and with Christa and Becca both going to the finals, that was huge as well. We recognize it’s just one night and we have a long way to go, but it was a really good start.”
UK earned points in all six events on the championship’s first day. Along with the men’s and women’s 800 freestyle relay and the women’s 3-meter, sophomore Noah Richter placed 10th on 1-meter and just missed a spot in the finals. The Wildcats also placed 10th in both the men’s and women’s 200 medley relay.
The Wildcats sit in third place in the women’s standings with 144 points, while the men are 10th with 98 points. LSU’s 164 points is first for the women, while Auburn, the championships’ hosts, is first in the men’s rankings with 177 points.
The five-day SEC Championships continue Tuesday at Auburn’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center. Fans can follow along with live swimming results at AuburnTigers.com. Diving results can be found on DiveMeets.com. Both the prelims and finals will be broadcast live on the SEC Network+. Additional updates and behind-the-scenes notes and photos can be found at @UKSwimDive.
Kentucky posted its best finish in the last event of the day, the women’s 800 freestyle relay. The Wildcats placed fifth in 7:06.15, breaking the school record by over four seconds. In a tightly-contested race, UK edged LSU by 0.61 seconds.
Bechtel led off with a 1:46.39, a new school record in the 200 freestyle. Sophomore Danielle Galyer followed with a team-best time of 1:45.77 and senior Abby Myers swam third with a 1:47.35. Sophomore Kendal Casey anchored with a 1:46.64.
In the men’s 800 freestyle, the Wildcats won their heat with their first school record of the day with a 6:23.75. UK finished eighth overall and beat out Texas A&M by 0.10 seconds. The fifth-fastest time in the nation at the time, UK was fueled by all four individual 200-meter splits coming in 1:36.16 or faster.
Junior Scott Crosthwaite led off with a 1:36.00, the fifth-fastest time in program history. Freshman Isaac Jones swam second in 1:35.56, while sophomore Sean Gunn swam third in 1:36.16. Sophomore Kyle Higgins anchored the Wildcats with a 1:36.03.
Kentucky’s day on the diving board was headlined by Cabot, Hamperian and Richter. Cabot and Hamperian advanced to the finals in the 3-meter and finished sixth and eighth, respectively. Cabot earned a 322.60 after a 330.20 in the prelims, while Hamperian scored a 337.05, followed by a finals score of 310.50.
On 1-meter, Richter scored a 318.25 to miss out on a spot in the finals by just 8.30 points. The sophomore placed 10th, his best finish at the SEC Championships of his career.
“I’m really proud of Noah, it was his best performance of his career in the biggest moment,” head diving coach Ted Hautau said. “Christa and Becca really dove strong and steady in the prelims and did well in the finals as well. It’s good experience for them getting into the finals on the first day, especially for Becca after being out for a year and reaching the finals in her first event this year. It was a good start for us today.”
UK opened the meet with a pair of 10th-place finishes in the 200 medley relay. The women posted a 1:38.93, while the men scored a 1:28.97. The women’s time was the second-fastest in its heat.
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.