Swimming and Diving head to Texas A&M for SEC Championships

Feb. 18, 2013

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Kentucky swimming and diving teams will compete in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships hosted by Texas A&M beginning Tuesday, Feb. 19. Competition will continue through Saturday, Feb. 23.

UK swimmers are coming off their two best performances of the season including men's and women's victories over Cincinnati in the regular season finale.

Head swimming coach Gary Conelly has looked to use the entire regular season as preparation for the SEC Championships, and after a narrow loss to Louisville's men's (No. 14) and women's (No. 17) teams and UK's victories over UC, Kentucky is trending in the right direction as they head into the postseason.

"We're pretty excited about it," said Conelly. "Everybody looks pretty good in the water right now. We've put in a good year of training. We've been focused on this as our primary meet. All of our marbles are in one jar and everyone's excited as we get ready to go."

Lucas Gerotto is the lone returning NCAA swimming participant, and his junior campaign has impressed yet again. Gerotto has competed in butterfly and backstroke events primarily this season for UK finding great success in both.

The Sao Paulo, Brazil native is undefeated this season in the 100-butterfly event in all six meets that he swam the race including a season-low time of 48.29 coming at the Tennessee Invitational. The time is currently eighth best in the SEC and he will look to break that mark, and his career-best mark of 46.75, this week at the Championships. Gerotto also has three 100-backstroke victories, giving him nine individual wins this season.

Freshman Laura Dawson has come on strong as of late for the Wildcats. She has earned her first four career collegiate wins in the last two weeks swimming in butterfly and backstroke events. Her role has expanded throughout the season and she appears poised to make a push for the NCAA championships alongside seniors Mandy Myers and Megan Eppler.

The Kentucky diving team has been fantastic all season long. In only one meet this season did a UK diver not earn a victory. Even in the absence of junior All-SEC performer Greg Ferrucci in the final two meets of the season, the UK men earned three individual victories. After not fully participating in the Louisville meet and being held out of competition at UC due to a thumb injury, Ferrucci will be back on the boards this week competing at the SEC Championships.

"He's a little bit of the engine of our program in the sense that everyone gets excited and he's a phenomenal diver," said UK head diving coach Ted Hautau. "He's always great in big meets, and just having him back is a relief for him and fun for everybody else. Obviously from a points standpoint, he was the high scorer on the whole team."

Ferrucci had gotten off to another strong season collecting eight wins this season prior to his injury. He owns the fourth highest score on the 3-meter springboard (423.25) and the ninth best on the 1-meter (370.05) in the conference. He also ranks third in the SEC on the platform with a 383.35.

Divers Rebecca Hamperian and Christa Cabot have been the points leaders for UK on the women's side. Hamperian has racked up six individual wins this season while Cabot has earned three.

Opening night of the 2013 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships kicks off Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. ET with live video of preliminary rounds and the finals available. Television coverage of the event will be available via ESPN3.com for the final on Friday and Saturday evening.

A complete event schedule and links for live stats and video can be found at secdigitalnetwork.com.