Diving Sweeps, Bechtel Wins Two as UK Falls to Florida
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Highlighted by two wins each from seniors Christina Bechtel and Christa Cabot and freshman Levi Lindsey, the Kentucky swimming and diving team lost to perennial powerhouse Florida Thursday night at the Lancaster Aquatics Center. The women fell 161-137 while the men lost 164-128 to the defending Southeastern Conference champions.
“We knew it was going to be tough, but I thought we fought hard today,” UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “We made some progress in certain areas and had some good races, but we just need to continue to get better for NCAAs. Florida is the defending SEC Champions so they are really good on the men’s side. We need to get better, but that’s ok because it’s still early. We’ll keep on building towards March.”
Bechtel, who won three events in last weekend’s season-opener, claimed wins in the 100 and 200 butterfly. The Franklin, Tenn., native won both events with NCAA B qualifying times.
Led by Cabot and Lindsey, UK swept all four diving events. A two-time All-American in 2014, Cabot won the 1- and 3-meter competition, both with season-high scores. Lindsey won the first collegiate event of his career in the 3-meter before a win in the 1-meter.“Overall I thought, the team had a very positive attitude,” head diving coach Ted Hautau said. “Levi Lindsey stood out, he had a great event in the 3-meter which was huge for him. He is a very inexperienced diver and he performed really well. The men went 1-2 on 1-meter which was huge for both of them. Stephen Jou dove great. Christa Cabot won both events and did a phenomenal job. I thought the girls stepped up, especially Christa.”
Sophomore Kyle Higgins added a win for the Wildcats in the 200 butterfly as Kentucky also recorded 17 runner-up finishes.
Kentucky hits the road for the first time this season, Oct. 31 in Knoxville, Tenn. The Wildcats face SEC foe Tennessee and Indiana at 2 p.m. ET. UK returns home Nov. 7 and 8 for a quad meet featuring Missouri, Northwestern and Southern Illinois. Competition begins at 1 p.m. with the diving events, while swimming commences at 6 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the Lancaster Aquatics Center. Nov. 8’s schedule will be announced at a later date, tentatively set to begin at 9 or 11 a.m.
Cabot claimed her first victory of the season with a 327.83 in the 3-meter event. The senior bested Florida’s Kahlia Warner by just over four points. In the 1-meter event, Cabot tallied a 327.45, also a season-best to win by over 20 points over Warner.
Lindsey earned his first collegiate victory on 1-meter with a career-best 307.43. The first-year diver beat out teammate and fellow freshman Stephen Jou, who finished second with a career-high 292.28. On 3-meter, Lindsey won with a 360.75 to cap a perfect night for the UK divers.
Bechtel notched UK’s first win of the day with a 1:57.70 in the 200 yard butterfly. The senior finished over four seconds faster than the second-place swimmer, Florida’s Alyssa Yambor-Maul to post an NCAA B qualifying time in the event.
In the very next event, UK posted a 1-2 finish in the men’s 200 butterfly. Higgins won with a season-best 1:49.96, ahead of teammate Isaac Jones, who touched the wall in 1:50.54.
After an NCAA-best time in the 100 butterfly last week, Bechtel bested her time with a 53.03 to win the event Thursday. A member of the USA Swimming National Team in 2014-15, Bechtel’s win in the 100 butterfly was her team-best fifth of the young season.
UK’s runner-up finishes, 17 in all, was headlined by Bechtel, who finished second in three events, and sophomore Brandon Flynn and freshman Isaac Jones, who both recorded two runner-up finishes.
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.