Wildcats Sweep South Carolina in Second SEC Road Contest
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Kentucky swimming and diving teams wrapped up their two-day road stretch on Thursday afternoon with a pair of wins over Southeastern Conference opponent South Carolina. Neither squad trailed in the outing, with the men winning 196-104, and the women 197-103.
Thursday’s meet gives the Wildcats their first wins of the season and a chance to build upon that success after dropping their season openers to Auburn on Wednesday.
“I thought both teams bounced back really well today,” said Head Coach Lars Jorgensen. “For us to be at Auburn yesterday then come back here today, I thought the spirit and the energy were really outstanding for us. It’s early in the season. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we look forward to our next meets and getting back to some really good training.”
The women’s squad posted a first-place finish in all but three events throughout the day, including two sweeps. The first sweep came in the 100-yard backstroke and the second in the 400-yard individual medley. Freshman Asia Seidt turned in the top times in both events, with her mark of 54.90 in the 100 back earning NCAA consideration. Her 4:21.88 time in the 400 IM is less than two seconds shy of the “B” standard.
“Going out and being able to race and win was a good feeling,” Seidt said. “Having meets like this makes you realize the little things you need to work on, so when we get back I’ll be working on those things.”
Bridgette Alexander touched in second in the 100 back with a time of 55.45, and Ali Galyer followed close behind with a 55.60 clip. In the 400 IM, Kathryn Painter and Ann Davies came in second and third, respectively to help the team earn its second sweep against the Gamecocks.
Alexander’s first-place finish of 1:58.66 in the 200-yard backstroke qualifies as her second B cut in the event after posting a 1:58.49 at Auburn.
Haley McInerny had an impressive showing for the Wildcats, turning in the top times in both butterfly events, as well as contributing to the Wildcats’ 400-freestyle relay team which also earned a first-place finish. McInerny was joined by Ali and Danielle Galyer and Geena Freriks in the event as the relay team earned a time of 3:26.29.
Rebecca Hamperian captured the top score in the 1-meter springboard event, once again, with a total score of 292.73. UK’s Kailey Francetic placed for the first time in both events this season, taking third place in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events.
On the men’s side, the Wildcats swept three separate races and had four individual athletes win multiple events. Senior Kyle Higgins swam well for the Wildcats again, sweeping the butterfly events for the second-straight meet. His 1:45.96 finish in the 200 fly marks his second NCAA B standard in the event on the season.
Diver Seb Masterton made a huge impact on the men’s side, posting a 377.48 on 3-meter and a 328.58 on 1-meter for a first-place finish in both. UK’s Stephen Jou placed for the first time this season with a second-place score of 289.80 on the 1-meter springboard.
“Overall, I’m really happy with how I performed today,” Masterton said. “It’s been a really long meet doing two meets back-to-back, but I’m really happy with the outcome. I think the whole team’s done really good to push on through and get it done even though we’re all really tired.”
Though he finished second in the event, Andrew Aviotti’s time of 15:19.00 in the 1650-yard freestyle race puts him in NCAA consideration, falling only to South Carolina’s 2016 NCAA silver-medalist and SEC title holder in the event, Akram Mahmoud. Mahmoud finished in 15:10.80 for a B standard as well.
Fans will have their first chance to see the Wildcats in action at home as Kentucky dives back into action Oct. 28. UK will host a tri-meet against SEC foe Tennessee and the Indiana Hoosiers. The meet is slated to for an 11 a.m. start inside Lancaster Aquatic Center.
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