Kentucky Competes In Two Championship Finals

Feb. 20, 2003

Final Stats

Auburn, Ala. - The University of Kentucky men's and women's swimming and diving team had two competitors reach the championship finals of their respective events in the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championship at Auburn's James E. Martin Aquatics Center on Thursday, Feb. 20.

In swimming, freshman Steven Manley worked his way into the championship field of the men's 500-free relay with a time of 4:21.01. Manley's preliminary time was fourth best in the morning. In the evening, he swam a 4:22.27 to finish sixth in the championship final.

"It felt good to be in the final," the Dublin, Ireland native said. "I wasn't real familiar with my times. This was only the ninth time I swam the 500. I told my mom before the preliminary that I would go 4:24 and I went 4:21.01. My best was 4:26.

"In the final I had an NCAA champion on one side and an Olympian on the other. All I wanted to do was hang with them as long as I could and hopefully I would have a chance, but I couldn't catch them down the stretch."

For the women, freshman diver Jessica Thompson broke into the top eight after posting a preliminary score of 259.65. Thompson, the only freshman to reach the final, improved her score in the championship round and tallied a 264.64 to finish eighth.

"I was pretty nervous," Thompson said. "I was very happy to make the final eight. That was my goal coming in. Being the only freshman put a little extra pressure on me. I new the other girls were really good and I just wanted to do my best and make the final round."

In other action, senior Roger Watkins won the men's 50-free consolation championship with a time of 20.16. For the women, sophomore Chrissy Miller finished seventh in the consolation final of the 500-free, posting a time of 4:57.54. The men moved into seventh place with 98 points, while the women are in ninth with 91.

"We had some pretty good swims today," Coach Gary Miller said. "I think we have a good chance to have a great day tomorrow, we have our strongest events coming up so we should be able to catch some of the people in front of us."

Friday's events will be the 400-IM, 100-butterfly, 200-free, 100-breast, 100-back, 400-medley relay and men's 3-meter springboards. Preliminaries begin at 10:30 a.m. CT, diving prelims will be at 1:30 p.m. CT. The finals will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT.