UK Set for SEC Championships Tuesday-Saturday in Auburn, Ala.
AUBURN, Ala. - The University of Kentucky swimming and diving team begins postseason competition Tuesday at the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships in Auburn, Ala. Competition begins Feb. 17 and runs through Feb. 21, where 42 conference champions will be crowned along with a men's and women's team champion.
2015 SEC Championships
Tuesday, Feb. 17-Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015
Prelims: 11 a.m. ET, Finals: 7 p.m. ET
James E. Martin Aquatics Center
Cat Scratches: Preview Feature
Video: SEC Preview
UK Info: Meet Notes (PDF)
Meet Info: Championship Central
Video: SEC Network+ (Live)
Live Swimming Results: AuburnTigers.com
Live Diving Results: DiveMeets.com
Text Updates: Subscribe
Hosted by the Auburn University at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center, swimming preliminaries are scheduled to commence at 11 a.m. ET and diving prelims at 2 p.m., while the finals will begin each day at 7 p.m.
"The SEC Championships is fun, it's a really exciting event to be a part of," UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. "The team works hard for this moment, so I hope they will be able to compete hard and enjoy it.
"It's been a great year, we've achieved a lot of success so far. But, this meet is important, it's where we can qualify some more athletes for NCAAs. We want everyone to get as many personal-bests as possible and score as many points as a team as we can. It's a really difficult conference meet against some really good teams, some of the best teams in the country."
Last season, UK won two medals and broke nine school records at the SEC Championships in Athens, Ga. The UK men finished eighth with 522 points overall, while the women placed 10th with 426 points. Kentucky's highest-ever finish at the league championship was third, most recently in 1999 by the women and in 1960 by the men.
Kentucky is coming off a win over Cincinnati by both the men and women to close the 2015 regular season on Jan. 30. Both the Wildcat men and women posted identical 216-84 victories over the Bearcats in Cincinnati
Six of the SEC's 10 men's teams and eight of 12 women's squads are ranked in the CollegeSwimming.com Top 25. The men are headlined by top-ranked Florida, while the women's ranking has defending national champion Georgia No. 3. The UK women are ranked 25th and the men are 34th nationally.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION IN AUBURN, ALA.
Fans can follow along with all the action from Auburn's James E. Martin Aquatics Center with live swimming results at AuburnTigers.com. Diving results can be found on DiveMeets.com. The five-day meet will be broadcast live on the SEC Network+.
Additional updates and behind-the-scenes notes and photos can be found at @UKSwimDive, the official Twitter account of the UK swimming and diving program.
ESPN will recap the championships with a 90-minute highlight show on March 4. The men's show will air at 5 p.m. ET, while the women's show will air at 6:30 p.m. ET.
WILDCATS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Three UK swimmers have posted times that rank among the top 25 nationally. Senior Christina Bechtel owns the nation's fastest time in the 200 butterfly with a 1:52.36 and the second-fastest 100 time of 51.11. Both of Bechtel's times rank No. 1 among SEC swimmers. Sophomore Danielle Galyer has also posted two top-25 times led by a 1:53.28 in the 200 backstroke, 14th in the nation and fifth in the SEC. Galyer is also 22nd in the 100 backstroke with a 52.75. Sophomore Kendal Casey owns the 21st-fastest time in the 1,650 freestyle with a 16:15.91.
UK'S SEC CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
The Wildcat men have finished as high as third twice at the SEC Championships, in 1954 and 1960. UK's last top-five finish was in 2008, when it placed fifth. The Kentucky women's highest finish was third, in 1999. First held in 1981, the Wildcats' first SEC Championship was 1985.
UK swimmers and divers have won a total of 23 individual conference titles, 13 by the women and 10 by the men. Kentucky is led by Taryn Ignacio's five and Roger Messick's four. Ignacio, Kentucky's lone national champion, claimed two diving titles in 2005 and 2007 along with one win in 2006. Messick won two swimming titles in 1955 and another two in 1957. Ignacio's wins in 2007 are the last league titles for the Wildcats.
|Click image for UK's Meet Notes (PDF)|
A LOOK BACK AT THE 2014 SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS
UK won two medals and broke nine school records at the 2014 SEC Championships in Athens, Ga. The UK men finished eighth with 522 points overall, while the women placed 10th with 426 points.
Christina Bechtel claimed UK's first swimming medal since 2012 with a runner-up finish in the women's 100 yard butterfly Thursday. The first SEC medal of her career, Bechtel finished in 51.69 for UK's first runner-up finish at the SEC Championships since 2010.
Greg Ferrucci went out with a bang in his final SEC Championship appearance with a bronze medal-winning performance on platform Friday. It marked the sixth SEC medal of his career after he scored a 409.90 in an exciting, tightly-contested platform final.
In total, nine school record times were broken by UK, five individual records and four relay records. George Greenhalgh broke the record in the 100 and 200 breaststroke along with helping to break the 200 and 400 medley relay records. Danielle Galyer helped topple three school marks, the 200 backstroke individually and as part of the 800 freestyle relay and the 400 medley relay. Kendal Casey also broke an individual school record in the 200 freestyle.
LAST TIME OUT: WILDCATS WIN IN CINCINATI
Kentucky concluded regular season action with a dominant, well-rounded victory at Cincinnati on Jan. 30. The UK women recorded a 216-84 victory, while the men scored an identical 216-84 win. The Wildcats won all but five events, with 19 different athletes claiming victories in 24 individual events won by UK. Kentucky won three of the four relay events and swept the four diving events. UK claimed the top four spots in four races, the top three spots in five additional contests and 11 more races saw the Wildcats finish first and second. In total 20 of Kentucky's 27 wins also resulted in UK claiming at least the top two places.
Senior Christina Bechtel was one of five Wildcats to win two individual races, and Bechtel also assisted in one relay victory. Freshmen Bridgette Alexander, Isaac Jones and Levi Lindsey and junior Whit Widdowson also posted two individual wins. Senior Abby Myers notched an individual win and assisted on two relay wins, while sophomore Sean Gunn, freshman Walker Thaning and senior Sam Shaheen recorded both an individual victory and a win in a relay event to join the group of nine total Wildcats with a share of at least two first-place finishes.
The UK divers finished at least 1-2 in all four events. Lindsey posted a 368.70 to win 3-meter before a 372.75 on platform for his second win. Sophomore Rebecca Hamperian led the women with a 327.38, followed closely by Christa Cabot with a 316.20 on 3-meter. On platform, Cabot won with a 307.28.
UP NEXT: NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Postseason competition continues for UK at the NCAA Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, for those that qualify. Divers will qualify at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships March 12-14 in Columbus, Ohio. The NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships will be held March 19-21 in Greensboro, N.C., while the men's championships are scheduled for March 26-28 in Iowa City, Iowa.
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.