UK Men to Compete at NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships
March 26, 2014
2014 MEN'S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
When: March 27-29, 2014 | Prelims: Noon ET, Finals: 8 p.m. ET
Where: Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center | Austin, Texas
Live Video, Results and Event Schedule: TexasSports.com Championship HQ
Championship Info: UK Meet Notes | Texas Championship HQ
Additional Info: Twitter | Facebook
Video: Coach Jorgensen and the Wildcats Preview the NCAA Championships
AUSTIN, Texas - Postseason competition concludes for the University of Kentucky swimming and diving team at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, March 27-29 in Austin, Texas. The men will be represented by senior diver Greg Ferrucci, making his fourth NCAA appearance, along with freshman swimmer Brandon Flynn and senior Eric Bruck and UK's medley relay team of senior Lucas Gerotto, junior George Greenhalgh, Bruck and senior Chris Lott.
Ferrucci, who finished fourth in all three diving events last year, will look to earn his first NCAA medal this weekend when he competes on 1- and 3-meter and platform. Flynn will race in the 500 freestyle Thursday, the 400 individual medley on Friday and the 1,650 freestyle Saturday. Bruck will race in the 50 freestyle on the championship's first day, while the relay team will compete in the 200 and 400 medley relay, on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
"We're excited to have six guys compete at the NCAA Championships," UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. "It's been a while since we've had that large of a group, so this is great for UK. We got 22nd last year, so that's our goal, hopefully to beat that and finish in the top 20. We're going to go out and see if we can improve on our performances from the SEC Championships and continue to take the program to the next level."
Ferrucci is set to compete in his last NCAA Championships. Last season, he was joined by fellow diver John Fox as the lone UK representatives at the championships. Ferrucci became the first Wildcat to earn First-Team All-America honors on every event thanks to a trio of fourth-place finishes to propel Kentucky to a 22nd-place finish nationally. He earned all 45 points for the Wildcats to help them earn their second consecutive top-25 finish.
Flynn enters the championship with the second-fastest time in school history in both the 1,650 freestyle and the 400 individual medley with a 15:03.42 and a 3:49.02, respectively. He also owns the 6th-best time in program history in the 500 freestyle with a 4:22.45. All three times were set at the SEC Championships, Feb. 18-22.
Due to a limit on the number of individual competitors at the NCAA Championships, Bruck was a late addition to the field after another swimmer withdrew from the competition. Along with his participation on UK's medley relay team, the senior will now also race in the 50 freestyle, where is time of 19.47, set at the 2014 SEC Championships, ranks as the third-fastest in UK history.
Kentucky's relay squad will enter the championship after setting a school-record time in both the 200 and 400 medley relay at the SEC Championships. Gerotto, Greenhalgh, Bruck and Lott notched a 1:25.43 in the 200 and a 3:11.73 in the 400.
The three-day national championships begins Thursday. Each day, prelims will begin at noon ET, while the finals, which will feature the top 16 finishers in the prelims, commence at 8 p.m.
Fans can follow along with all the action from the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center with live results, a live video stream, updated schedules and more on TexasSports.com's Championship Headquarters page. Additional updates from Austin can be found at @UKSwimDive, the official Twitter account of the UK swimming and diving program.
WOMEN PLACE 23RD AT NCAA'S, UK'S HIGHEST FINISH SINCE 2008
Kentucky placed 23rd overall at the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., March 20-22. UK's 23rd-place finish is the school's best since 2008 and the first time since 2011 that the Wildcats scored points and earned a spot in the final standings.
The Wildcats had four athletes at the three-day event, three who earned All-America honors. Junior diver Christa Cabot was named All-American on 3-meter and on platform. Juniors Christina Bechtel and Abby Myers both were named All-Americans in the 200 butterfly. The three are the first women All-Americans at UK since 2011.
Bechtel notched UK's highest finish of the championship in the 200 butterfly when she finished fifth with a school-record time of 1:53.65. Myers finished 12th overall in the same event with a 1:56.43 after a prelim time of 1:56.23, the second-fastest time in UK history.
Cabot advanced to the finals at the NCAA Championships for the first time in her career and finished eighth overall in the 3-meter on Friday with a 293.00 before an 11th-place finish on platform on Saturday. She placed 19th in the 1-meter on Thursday, just shy of a finals berth.
Freshman Danielle Galyer also swam for UK and finished 36th in the 200 backstroke and 44th in the 100 backstroke. Bechtel added a 19th-place finish and Myers finished 35th in the 100 butterfly on the event's second day. Bechtel opened the championship with a 43rd-place finish in the 50 yard freestyle on the first day.
LAST TIME OUT: SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS
The UK swimming and diving team won two medals and broke nine school records last week at the SEC Championships in Athens, Ga., Feb. 18-22. The UK men finished eighth with 522 points overall, while the women placed 10th with 426 points.
Junior 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.
Senior 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. Junior George Greenhalgh broke the record in the 100 and 200 breaststroke along with helping to break the 200 and 400 medley relay records. Freshman Danielle Galyer helped topple three school marks, the 200 backstroke individually and as part of the 800 freestyle relay and the 400 medley relay. Freshman Kendal Casey also broke an individual school record in the 200 freestyle.
WILDCATS EARN FIVE SEC ATHLETE OF THE WEEK HONORS
The Wildcats have been honored with five Southeastern Conference Athlete of the Week honors this season. Freshman Brandon Flynn was named the Freshman of the Week on Oct. 29, while junior swimmer Christina Bechtel and senior diver Greg Ferrucci were honored with the season's first Athlete the Week awards on Oct. 15. Bechtel was honored again on Nov. 27 with Swimmer of the Week accolades, while Ferrucci earned the season's final Diver of the Week award on Feb. 4.
Bechtel broke two school records, set two meet records and recorded three NCAA `A' or `B' qualifying times in seven events Nov. 22-24 at the Ohio State Invitational to earn her second SEC honor. Competing against four teams, three of them ranked in the top 14 nationally, Bechtel posted career best times in all individual events.
Flynn was named the SEC's Male Freshman Swimmer of the Week for the first time in his career after he won all four events he competed in against Missouri and Southern Illinois over two days. Flynn recorded his first collegiate win in the men's 400 individual medley, and, eight events later, he returned to the water to win the men's 500 freestyle. The next day, Flynn won the 1,000 yard freestyle in 9:21.94 before leading the way as the UK men finished one-two-three in the 500 yard freestyle.
Ferrucci won all four diving events to open the year. At Georgia on Sept. 25, he notched victories in the 1- and 3-meter dives, while the senior swept the diving events again at home against Ohio State on Oct. 11.
Bechtel earned her first career SEC Female Swimmer of the Week honor after a two-win performance Oct. 11 against Ohio State. On the strengths of two wins in the butterfly against Ohio State, Bechtel was ranked second nationally in the 100-yard butterfly after she finished first with a time of 54.34. Bechtel, an NCAA qualifier last year, also posted a win in the 200-yard butterfly against the Buckeyes.
Ferrucci earned his ninth career SEC weekly award on Feb. 4 after the senior won both the 1- and 3-meter competition with season-high scores against Cincinnati on Senior Day in Lexington. The Huntersville, N.C., native posted a 398.25 in the 1-meter event to shatter his previous season-best by more than 20 points. His score is the second-best in the SEC this season. In the 3-meter competition, Ferrucci tallied a 374.33, a season-best by nearly 30 points.
MYERS, SIMPSON NAMED TO SEC COMMUNITY SERVICE TEAM
Swimmers Maclin Simpson and Abby Myers were named to the 2014 men's and women's Swimming and Diving Community Service Team. Simpson, a senior, is named to the team for the second time in his career, while Myers, a junior, earned her first Community Service Team honor. The team highlights an athlete from each school who gives back to his or her community in superior service efforts.
Simpson, a Louisville, Ky., native, was also named to the Community Service Team in 2012. A three-time team captain, the senior participated in an Ethiopian Mission Trip in the summer of 2013 with several other UK student-athletes. He also volunteered with the UK Children's Hospital Blanket Project, Back Pack Program packing and delivery, Back-to-School Picnic and Cats Cultivating Character. He was Inducted into Kentucky's prestigious Frank G. Ham Society of Character in 2013. A marketing and management major, Simpson is also a two-time SEC All-Academic Team honoree.
From Cranberry Township, Pa., Myers was named to the Community Service Team for the first time in her career. The junior volunteered with the International Book Project, coached the Fintastics team for the Special Olympics YMCA and was a United Way collection drive volunteer. She also worked on the UK Children's Hospital Blanket Project, Cats Cultivating Character and the Back Pack Program delivery. A 2014 nominee for the University of Kentucky's prestigious Frank G. Ham Society of Character, Myers is a Kinesiology and Health Promotions Major with a Pre-Physical Therapy concentration.
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.