Green Shines in Senior Day Shootout with Louisville
Jan. 26, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The men's and women's swimming and diving teams received crucial performances from several seniors in Kentucky's home final of the 2012-13 season. Their upset bids against Louisville's No. 14 men's team and No. 17 women's team, however, fell just short.
Senior Travis Greenwas phenomenal in his final home meet, earning career-best times and putting his name in the UK record books. Green was quite impressive on the afternoon, coming up with two individual victories that helped Kentucky to one of their best overall performances of the season.
The men lost the lead in their final two races, falling just shy of U of L with a 152-148 final. UK's women were neck and neck for most of the day, but fell behind late also to lose 168-132. Though both teams fell to their cross-state rival, it was a huge momentum builder as they inch closer to the postseason.
"Obviously we were disappointed we didn't win, but we had a pretty outstanding meet on both sides," said UK head swimming coach Gary Conelly. "I have to point out that Travis Greenhad an unbelievable day. Lucas (Gerotto) was right on. Even our relay at the end was a pretty good relay."
Green's first win came early in the fourth swimming event of the day in the 1000-freestyle. As Green tapped the wall after the grueling swim, his mark of 9:12.41 was good for a personal record and the fourth-fastest time in the event in school history. He went on to earn a win in the 500-freestyle with his season-best time 4:26.53, which is good for the fastest time on the team this season.
Preceding Green's first victory was Kentucky's impressive start in the relays. Both the men and women earned first-place finishes to get the day started. The women got their win first in the 200-medley relay with contributions from Laura Dawson, Sam Shaheen, Christina Bechtel and Megan Eppler with a time of 1:43.17. The UK men followed suit in the event with the combination of Ramon Walton, George Greenhalgh, Lucas Gerotto and Chris Lotttouching the wall at 1:30.05. Both times were season bests.
Women's seniors Megan Eppler and Mandy Myerseach earned individual victories on their senior day. Eppler earned her season-best time in the 50-freestyle tapping in at 23.46. Myers earned her win via the 100-butterfly, finishing in 55.09 while Bechtel finished right behind her at 55.13.
Freshman Laura Dawsonhad her best collegiate meet, earning two individual victories. Dawson took first place in both backstroke events. In the 100-backstroke, she touched the wall at a career-best and team-best 55.41. In the 200-backstroke, her time of 1:59.31 was also good for a career-best and team-best time.
For the men's side, the meet came down to the final two events of the day.
Before any of the senior day festivities got underway, the diving teams went to the boards for their first events of the afternoon. Though Kentucky's leading male diver junior Greg Ferrucciparticipated in the 1-meter Saturday, he was limited by an injured thumb. Ferrucci is still awaiting the results of an MRI to find out the severity of his injury.
Despite his limited ability in the event, other Kentucky divers stepped up and led the way for the Wildcats. For the men, the lone senior diver and walk-on Corey Cowger had a huge day. He earned a victory in the 1-meter to get things going for UK with a final score of 325.42, his best this season and the fourth-best mark on the team all year. He also placed in second later in the day on the 3-meter with season-best 340.43 while junior John Foxtook first place with a 369.00, his season high.
"The guys knew that this was going to be really close," said UK head diving coach Ted Hautau. "They needed to go one-two-three. John Foxwas just steady and smooth and Corey has been training hard, so that was a well-deserved performance for him."
The women divers were huge for the women's team as well. The women swept each event as Rebecca Hamperian scored a 312.98 in the 1-meter springboard, which was the highest score for UK in the event this season. Christa Cabotearned a victory of her own in the 3-meter with a 315.38. It was her second-best performance in the 3-meter of the year.
"Christa is just a gamer because she was hurting a little bit and she was a gamer on 3-meter and was outstanding on 1-meter," said Hautau. "We have a good culture and all these kids are sharpening each other."
Connelly noted that the strong performance of the diving team kept them within striking distance of their biggest win of the season.
Kentucky's men continued to battle and held a 139-125 lead heading into the final diving break.
They had received yet another stellar performance from Gerotto who continues to have a stellar season. Gerotto got on the board first as part of the 200-freestyle relay team, but individually he earned his first win of the day in the 100-backstroke with a time of 49.70. He then remained undefeated in the 100-butterfly, finishing with a time of 48.89.
At the last minute, Conelly decided to enter Gerotto into the 200-IM as UK tried to hold onto their slim lead. It was not meant to be as U of L swept the IM and eventually earned enough points in the 400-freestyle relay to pull away and steal the victory from Kentucky.
Kentucky will compete in their final regular season dual-meet next Saturday, Feb. 2 at the University of Cincinnati.