Bechtel Wins Silver as UK Earns Best NCAA Finish Since 2007
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Senior Christina Bechtel won a silver medal in the 200 butterfly as the Kentucky swimming and diving team earned its fourth-best NCAA Championships finish and third-most points at the championship meet in program history. On the championships' final day, three Wildcats placed in the top seven.
The Wildcats finished 16th as a team and earned their best finish at the NCAA Championships since 2007. It marks the fourth-best NCAA finish in program history as UK earned 95 points, the third-highest point total in team history.
Saturday, Bechtel was joined in the finals by sophomores Danielle Galyer and Rebecca Hamperian. Galyer finished fourth in the 200 backstroke and Hamperian earned a seventh-place finish on platform. Bechtel and Galyer both recorded school record times and earned their fourth All-America honors of the championships, while Hamperian and fellow diver Christa Cabot were named All-Americans for the second time in three days.
"It was a great weekend, a lot of fun for our team and I am so proud of them," UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. "The girls have worked so hard all year long and they deserve every bit of success they had in the pool the last three days. We have gotten better each of the past two years, and we look forward to working towards making the program better next year as well."
UK earned a total of 17 All-America accolades in nine different events at the three day championships. Bechtel and Galyer led the Wildcats with four apiece, while Cabot and Hamperian were joined by senior Abby Myers with two. Seniors Sam Shaheen and Kristin Wilson and freshman Bridgette Alexander were named All-Americans in one event, with Shaheen and Wilson's honors coming as part of relay events.
Bechtel earned Kentucky's highest NCAA swimming finish in program history with a school-record 1:52.08. She beat out the third place finisher by 0.65 seconds to secure the silver medal. In her final collegiate event, the senior broke her own UK record to win a silver medal after she finished sixth in the 100 butterfly last night and fifth in the 200 butterfly last season.
Galyer finished fourth in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:51.68 to earn her first First-Team All-America accolade of her career. She used a 1:50.86 in the prelims to advance to the finals, breaking her own school record in the process. In the finals, it was a tightly-contested finish for fourth place, as Galyer was first among three swimmers within 0.15 seconds of fourth.
Hamperian added to Kentucky's podium totals on the final day with her second top-eight finish. The sophomore scored a 296.40 in the finals after a 285.45 in the prelims. In her first NCAA Championships, she made a return trip to the finals after she placed fourth on 1-meter on Thursday.
Cabot also made a return trip to the finals and competed in the consolation final on platform. The senior scored a 279.60 in the finals to earn her fourth career All-America honor and her second in 2015.
Alexander became the eighth Wildcat to earn a top-16 finish and All-America honors when she finished 13th in the 200 backstroke. Seeded 16th in the consolation final after a 1:53.45 in the prelims, the freshman touched the wall in 1:53.86 in the finals. Alexander was first among three swimmers in 13th-15th place and separated by just 0.10 seconds.
Myers came just shy of a finals appearance when she finished 17th with a time of 1:55.63. In her final collegiate race, the senior bested her career best time by 0.60 seconds with the second-fastest time in UK history.
Freshman Kendal Casey capped her first NCAA Championships appearance in the 1,650 freestyle. She finished 37th overall in 16:34.29.
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