Wildcats Post Strong Performances in 2016 Opener


LEXINGTON, Ky.--At the close of the first day of Kentucky’s swimming and diving tri meet with Southeastern Conference opponent LSU and Atlantic Coast Conference member Virginia Tech, the Wildcats are leading or tied in three of the four duals.  The men are tied with Virginia Tech, 75-75, after securing four victories in eight events, and are also leading LSU 82-65, backed by five wins.  The women are currently leading Virginia Tech, 80-70, with four victories, and have three wins against LSU but trail 86-64.  

The day started out on the springboards for the Wildcats.  In the first rotation, which saw the men on the 1-meter board and the women on the 3-meter board, Seb Masterton won against LSU and finished third against the Hokies with 299.15 points.  Against the Tigers, Noah Richter also notched the second-highest score with 294.45 points.  For the women, Rebecca Hamperian took second to both the Tigers and the Hokies with 315.65 points.

Both Masterton and Hamperian went on to take the overall title in their next event, with Masterton notching 373.80 points on the 3-meter springboard while Hamperian recorded 299.70 points in the 1-meter dive.  Against Virginia Tech, Kailey Francetic had a top-three finish, placing third with 268.10 points.  

The men had their first overall win in the swimming events courtesy of Andrew Aviotti in the 1650 free, who swam an NCAA B cut to lap the rest of the field and finish in 15:23.28.  The Wildcats also had a runner-up finish from Jarod Kehl in 15:49.91, while Jamie Stevenson placed fourth in 15:55.12.  

Kyle Higgins also delivered an overall win for the men, recording his fastest dual meet time in the 200 fly with a B cut mark of 1:47.12.  Matthew Beach was the second to touch in for the Wildcats, as his 1:50.88 was good for third against Virginia Tech and fourth against LSU.  

George Greenhalgh picked up the final win against the Tigers, edging out LSU’s Garrett House by a tenth of a second to notch the victory in 2:02.47 and finish runner-up against Virginia Tech.  Brandon Flynn finished third against both opponents in 2:04.66.

UK recorded another victory against the Hokies, with Sean Gunn touching the wall in 45.02 for the 100 free, while Scott Crosthwaite placed third against both Virginia Tech and LSU in 45.81 seconds.  

In the final individual event for the men, Walker Thaning led the team in the 200 back in 1:49.22 while Josh Swart was right behind him in 1:49.40.  The duo finished 2-3 against LSU and 3-4 in the Virginia Tech dual.

The men finished the day with an exciting 400 free relay, in which all three lead relays finished within half a second of each other.  UK finished second to both VT and LSU in 3:01.73 behind the lineup of Gunn, Crosthwaite, Higgins and Jones.  

The women had an overall 1-2 finish in the 200 back courtesy of Danielle Galyer and Bridgette Alexander, who both posted NCAA B cuts in the race in 1:56.88 and 1:58.46, respectively.  Another winning and runner-up performance came in the 1650 against LSU, in which Kendal Casey and Kathryn Painters were the top finishers for the Wildcats in 16:47.00 and 16:53.79.  Casey just missed out on a victory against the Hokies, falling by just over a quarter of a second to VT’s Jessica Hespeler.

The final individual victory for the women came from Geena Freriks, who won the 100 free against Virginia Tech in 50.93 seconds and finished third in the LSU dual.

The Wildcats saw a solid performance from Kendra Crew and Ann Davies in the 200 breast, with Crew placing second to both LSU and VT in 2:16.77 while Davies placed third against the Hokies and fourth against the Tigers in 2:19.08.  The 200 fly, which featured swimmers from both LSU and Virginia Tech who had posted times that rank in the top-10 nationally in the event, saw Haley McInerny touch in at 2:02.44 for runner-up to Virginia Tech and third to the Tigers.  In the matchup against the Hokies, Meredith Whisenhunt’s time of 2:04.13 was good for third.

The women ended the meet with a victory over Virginia Tech and a runner-up finish to LSU in the 400 free.  The quartet of Freriks, Whisenhunt, McInerny and Galyer combined for a time of 3:25.52, besting the VT lineup by more than a second and a half.  

Competition will resume tomorrow with the first swimming session beginning at 9 a.m. ET.  The platform dive will begin at noon, and the final swimming session is slated for a 3 p.m. start.  Live results can be accessed here.  

For the latest on the Kentucky swimming and diving program, follow @UKSwimDive on Twitter, on Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive, and on the web at ukathletics.com.