UK's Hamperian Wins SEC Silver Medal on 1-Meter
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AUBURN, Ala. – University of Kentucky diver Rebecca Hamperian won a silver medal and swimmer Isaac Jones broke a school record to highlight the second day of the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships on Wednesday.
Hamperian claimed UK’s first podium finish of the five-day conference championships with a second-place finish on 1-meter. Hamperian advanced to the finals along with senior Christa Cabot after the duo also placed in the top eight on 3-meter on Tuesday.
Jones’ school-record time came in the 500 freestyle relay. He was one of four Wildcats to advance to the finals in the event and one of three to record a time that marked in the top nine in team history.
“It was a good day overall,” UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “Becca and Christa were both fantastic on 1-meter today, they were fun to watch. The 500 freestyle guys were really good and Isaac had a great swim to get a school record. Our women’s 200 individual medley swimmers were also much improved today, they’ve come a long way.”
Hamperian, a redshirt sophomore, placed second with a career-best 329.20 points on 1-meter. Hamperian reached the podium by nearly nine points, but earned a silver medal by a 1.05-point margin. Cabot finished seventh with a 312.10, beating out LSU’s Cassie Weil by 0.45 points.
“The girls did a great job today,” UK diving coach Ted Hautau said. “The 1-meter competition is extremely competitive, and Christa had to make a big move to get into the finals. It was huge to get two athletes into the finals, and they both dove well in the finals. Rebecca is really growing up, handling pressure, performing in big moments. Really proud of her, she’s a lot of progress this year, she’s matured a lot."
One of 10 Wildcats to advance to the finals on Tuesday, Jones recorded a 4:18.42 in the 500 freestyle to earn his first career school-record time. The freshman’s school-record time, to place 12th, headlined an impressive lineup of four Wildcats in the finals of the men’s 500 freestyle. In addition to Jones’ 12th-place finish, junior Scott Crosthwaite was 16th overall with a 4:24.31, the third-fastest time in program history, while sophomore Drew Aviotti notched the ninth-fastest time in team history with a 4:22.90 to finish 20th. Sophomore Brandon Flynn placed 19th with a 4:21.80.
Through the second day of the SEC Championships, the UK women are seventh with 246 points, while the men are 10th with 169 points. Georgia leads both rankings, with 526 women’s points and 421 points by the men.
The Championships continue Wednesday 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.
The women’s 200 individual medley was a near-record-setting event for the Wildcats. Sophomore Danielle Galyer placed 3rd in the C final and 19th overall in 1:58.55, just 0.06 shy of her own school-record time. Freshman Bridgette Alexander was 24th overall in 1:59.66. Alexander made the finals with a 1:59.17, the second-fastest time in program history.
UK notched a pair of top-24 finishes in the women’s 500 freestyle. Sophomore Kelly Berger posted a season-best time of 4:46.76 to finish fourth in the C final and 20th overall. Fellow sophomore Kendal Casey notched a 4:51.36 to place 24th overall.
The final two events of the evening’s finals was the 200 freestyle relay, where both the men and women placed 10th. The men, with seniors Brent Dillon and Michael Christian and juniors Zac Zandona and Matt Roman tallied a 1:20.98. The women, with freshman Alyssa Ruffing, seniors Abby Myers and Kristen Wilson and sophomore Morgan Contino recorded a 1:32.09.
In the men’s 200 individual medley, Dillon tied for 24th in the prelims with a personal-best and NCAA ‘B’ qualifying time of 1:48.30. In the swim-off to qualify for the evening’s final, Dillon finished second.
In the men’s 50 freestyle, sophomore Sean Gunn led the Wildcats with a personal-best 20.36 to place 30th overall. The women were led by senior Christina Bechtel, who finished 26th in 22.95, just shy of a spot in the top 24 and the finals.
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.