2009-10 Women's Swimming and Diving Preview
Oct. 8, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -
After five school records falling, including three individual times a year ago, the Kentucky women’s swimming and diving team is looking to new heights in 2009-10. The women return a number of key components from a season ago—including record holders Casey Miller, Chatham Penrod and Megan Pulskamp.
“This team possesses the talent to have a really good season if everybody continues to make strides and continues to improve,” said coach Gary Conelly. “We’ve changed the way we train a bit to help maintain the team’s conditioning for the long haul, which I think will pay dividends for this group.”
Despite a small squad in numbers, Conelly believes this team has the depth and talent to make waves both at the conference meet and on the national scene.
Kentucky’s sprint freestylers are all veteran returners who struck for career-best times last season. Pulskamp paves the way in the 50 and 100-free and was a top-15 finisher in both races at the SEC Championships as a junior for the first time in her career.
UK’s depth continues with senior Sydney Witzky, juniors Jenna Newsome and Kayla Sergesketter and sophomores Kelsi Hall, Lyndsey Lash and Chelsea Peterson. Hall led the squad as a freshman by tapping in 12th place in the 50-free at the conference meet and qualified for the NCAA Championships. All of the women secured career-best times a year ago and five of their times were etched among the school’s all-time top-10 lists.
Middle Distance Freestyle
Miller paces the middle distance group after securing the best finish at the SEC Championships in the 200-free. Conelly will look to Miller to fill a multitude of roles, including pacing the middle distance group.
Sophomore Mandy Myers, Sergesketter and Peterson help form a productive core in the mid-distance range. Adding to the depth will be senior Anna Sirmon and sophomore Claire Archibald who have both also seen time in this range, but it is not their top stroke.
Myers has also seen action up to the 1,000 range, but Conelly is extremely excited about the addition of freshman Trina Winsor to the distance group. Winsor joins the squad from California where she was tabbed an All-American in high school.
Junior Chatham Penrod captured a school record in the 100-back as a sophomore and returns to the lineup as the team’s top returner. Penrod has been a mainstay among the medley relays since her first season and is quickly becoming one of the top performers in the conference. Hot on her heels is the equally talented Archibald. The tandem returns after posting the team’s best times in both backstroke events a season ago.
Adding to the depth are Lash and sophomore Amanda Lehotan who both turned in impressive performances as freshmen. Newsome and Myers have also seen action in the rotation during dual meets. Joining UK this season are newcomers Megan Eppler, Katie McRoberts and Kelcy Perry who will all compete in the backstroke events.
Junior Lindsey Graessle is UK’s top returner in both breaststroke events after surging up the UK record books and earning 15th place in the 100-breast at the SEC Championships and qualifying for the NCAA Championships in both events.
Sophomore Jenna Willis emerged late in the season to etch her name among the UK top-10 list in the 100-breast with her 26th place finish at her first career conference meet. With a full collegiate season under her belt, Conelly believes Willis is on the verge of becoming a scorer for the Wildcats in both breaststroke events. Hall and Miller have also occasionally seen action in the breaststroke events and are candidates to fill the rotation during dual meets.
Pulskamp is Kentucky’s career record holder in the 100-fly after turning in an All-America performance a season ago by placing 14th in the country in the event. She also took second in the event at the conference meet and is poised to continue her assent in the shorter fly race. Pulskamp is a strong enough swimmer to also compete in the 200-fly, but her top races come in the shorter heats.
Sirmon is UK’s top returner in the 200-fly after earning a top-20 finish at the SEC Championships and continually improved each and every season. Lash, Mattox, Miller and Myers will all also compete in the butterfly events. Adding to the rotation is Perry who holds her high school record in the 100-fly.
Miller tallied the squad’s best times in both medley events as a junior and will once again be looked upon to lead the Wildcats in this discipline.
Archibald is strong in all four strokes and put together a quality time in the 200-medley as a freshman. Lash, Lehotan and Willis all competed in the shorter medley race as freshmen as well. However, Conelly is equally excited about the edition of Eppler and McRoberts to the depth of the medley relays. Both newcomers have the ability to secure good times for the Wildcats in the medley races in both distances.
For the second consecutive season the UK women will utilize the abilities of just one diver – this year in the very talented transfer Lisa Faulkner. Faulkner was the Colonial Athletic Association’s Rookie Diver of the Year in 2008 at George Mason and possesses the discipline and talent to be one of the premier divers in the conference in her first season among SEC divers.