UK Holds Three Leads After Quad Meet's First Day
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With wins by senior Christina Bechtel and sophomores Kendal Casey and Kyle Higgins, the Kentucky swimming and diving team opened the first day of competition in a quad meet vs. Missouri, Northwestern and Southern Illinois.
Through the first day of competition, 20 of 38 events, the Kentucky women lead Southern Illinois, 136-50 and Northwestern 121-65 and trail Missouri, 114-72. The UK men hold a 121-65 lead over SIU and trail NU 115-71 and Mizzou 134-52. The four teams conclude competition Saturday morning at 9 a.m. ET.
“The men swam pretty well, but I thought the women were okay but not great today,” UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “Kyle Higgins had a great victory that has a chance to set him up for the NCAA Championships. We had some guys step up and I thought this was the best meet they’ve had so far. For the women, Kendal Casey was really good with a victory, as was Christina Bechtel. Missouri swam extremely well today and we’re going to have our hands full tomorrow, we definitely need to be better.”
Casey posted Kentucky’s first win of the day, and her first of the season, with a victory in the 500 freestyle. The sophomore touched the wall in 4:51.18, a season-best time to win by over two seconds.
Higgins also recorded his first win of the season, thanks to a 1:48.07 in the 200 butterfly. A season-best time for the sophomore, Higgins won by 1.34 seconds over Missouri’s Daniel Graviss.
In the very next race, Bechtel kept her perfect season alive in butterfly events with a season-best 1:57.37 to win the 200 butterfly. The win came by over three seconds, ahead of Northwestern’s Ellen Stello, who finished in 2:00.79.
Sophomore Danielle Galyer tallied a pair of second-place finishes Friday, in the 200 individual medley and the 200 backstroke. Galyer recorded a personal-best 4:29.84 in the individual medley and finished 1.09 shy of the winner from Missouri.
In the 200 backstroke, Galyer’s 1:58.08 came 0.89 behind Missouri. UK freshman Bridgette Alexander placed fourth in 2:02.68, earning a top-four spot by 0.19 seconds.
Freshman Isaac Jones also posted a runner-up finish, thanks to a personal best in the 500 freestyle. A 4:29.84 was good for a spot in the top two by 1.27 seconds.
In the final event of the day, UK’s women’s 400 medley relay team placed second in 3:41.24. Galyer led off with a 54.96, followed by senior Sam Shaheen with a 1:02.54 and Bechtel with a 53.31. Senior Abby Myers closed with a 50.43.
In the diving events, sophomore Rebecca Hamperian placed third on 1-meter with a season-best 292.50 and fourth on 3-meter with a 281.80. Senior Christa Cabot recorded a third-place finish on 3-meter with a 288.65. Freshman Levi Lindsey led UK on 1-meter with a 276.70 to place fourth, while Stephen Jou’s 273.80 on 3-meter was a career-best to finish seventh.
“Today was a good learning experience for our team,” head diving coach Ted Hautau said. “Rebecca Hamperian was more confident today. They were competing against a stacked field and I think mentally we weren’t as good coming into this week, and that goes for me too. I’m really glad we had this meet early in the season against some quality opponents. I think it was beneficial for us to make sure that we have a tough meet like this. I’m really happy with the guys for some good strides this week. They just didn’t perform very well, but they’ll get a lot better.”
Kentucky totaled five fourth-place finishes, two in relay events and one each by Myers, Shaheen and sophomore Sean Gunn.
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