Swimming and Diving Set to Begin Season with Tri-Meet

Oct. 15, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky swimming and diving teams begin their 2010-11 season Saturday with a tri-meet in Carbondale, Ill., against Southern Illinois and Missouri.

The Cats return 14 women and 18 men to their swimming and diving teams this season. The women’s side will feature 13 newcomers and the men’s side will welcome 17 first-year athletes to the team. Swimming head coach Gary Conelly is excited for the season to begin and said Saturday’s meet will challenge the squad early.

“The meets this weekend will be very challenging,” Conelly said. “We are going to have to get super performances out of everyone traveling to the meet. Team members will have to compete in more events than they are accustomed to and compete in events they are unfamiliar with. It is a big challenge, but we are looking at it as a big opportunity to test our mettle. This is the sort of challenge that will make us a much better team collectively and individually.”

The women’s team will be led by senior Chatham Penrod. Penrod earned individual All-American honors last season by clocking in a record-breaking time in the 100-backstroke. She also set a UK record at the NCAA Championships in the 200-backstroke. Fellow senior Kayla Sergesketter emerged as one of the Cats’ top performers last season. Sergesketter earned All-American honors in the 200- and 400-medley relays at the NCAA Championships, with the 400-medley relay breaking a UK record.

“On the women's side Lisa Faulkner is our pillar in diving and we are expecting big swims from Chatham Penrod, Kelcy Perry, Megan Eppler, Jenna Willis and Jenna Newsome,” Conelly said. “But the truth of the matter is that every swimmer and diver will be critical. How our number three swimmer or diver does will be just as important as the performances of the team leaders.”

The men’s team will enter the 2010-11 campaign following a top-20 finish at the NCAA Championships, their third consecutive season finishing in the top-20. Kentucky will be led Reinhart Strijdom, Colin Faris and Matt Russell, who Conelly believes has come a long way and can help in both freestyle and breaststroke. Conelly is also excited about freshman diver Zack Peterson.

“On the men’s side, freshman diver Zack Peterson's performances will be critical, as will Matt Russell's, Colin Faris', Grant Cooksey's, Travis Green's and John Bullock's,” Conelly said.

The Wildcats’ next meet will be at Indiana, Oct. 23. They will have three fall meets this year, including a home date with SEC-foe Tennessee on Oct. 30. UK will wrap up fall action at the Tennessee Invitational Nov. 18-20.