Three Wildcats Earn USA National Team Appointments
LEXINGTON, Ky. – National champion Danielle Galyer, former Wildcat Tina Bechtel and head coach Lars Jorgensen have earned appointments to the United States National Team.
Galyer and Bechtel will compete in their premier events in the 200 backstroke and the 200 butterfly, respectively, while Jorgensen has joined the staff beginning Sept 1. All three will hold their appointments for a minimum of one year.
UK’s heralded swimming tandem qualified for the team after they both finished fifth in the nation in their events during the USA Olympic Trials earlier this summer. The top six qualifiers in each event earn a spot on the team for the upcoming calendar year.
“To be on the USA National Team is the pinnacle of our sport,” Jorgensen said. “I’m so proud of both Tina and Danielle to reach the highest level of our sport. It’s a great day for UK to have two athletes named to the team.”
This is the second time in Bechtel’s career she has earned a spot on the squad as she also earned selection during the 2014-15 year.
Bechtel has competed in two Olympic Trials both in 2012 and 2016. As a senior at UK, she finished runner-up at the NCAA Championships in the 200 fly and sixth in the 100 fly. As a junior, she was fifth in the 200 fly. On the national stage, her best finish was third in both fly events during the 2015 U.S. Nationals. She logged an eighth-place finish in the 50 fly at the World University Games in the same year.
Galyer has become the most decorated swimmer in program history with her senior year yet to come. In 2016, she became the first swimmer in program history to win a national title when she tapped first in the 200 back in a time of 1:49.71 at the NCAA Championships in March. It was not only a school record, but the sixth fastest time in US Open history. She also owns the school record in the 100 back and was the Southeastern Conference champion in the 200 back during her sophomore campaign.
Jorgensen is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Wildcats’ swimming and diving program. The 2015-16 season was his best yet, highlighted by Galyer’s national title. Twenty-eight current and postgrad swimmers qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Galyer and Bridgette Alexander both made the final of the 200-meter backstroke. Galyer placed fifth while Alexander took eighth. Galyer also made the semifinals in the 100 back, while Bechtel made the finals in the 200 fly and Kyle Higgins made the semifinals in the 200 fly. The first Olympian of the Jorgensen era came when Zimbabwe selected rising senior Sean Gunn to represent his nation in Rio in the 100-meter freestyle.
Kentucky’s 2016-17 swimming and diving season kicks off with a Blue-Whit intrasquad scrimmage on Sept. 30 before UK travels to Auburn, Alabama, for a dual meet with the Tigers on Oct. 12.