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Bechtel Wins UK's First Silver Medal at SECs Since 2010

Christina Bechtel earned a spot on the podium for UK for the first time at this year's championships

Christina Bechtel earned a spot on the podium for UK for the first time at this year's championships

Feb. 20, 2014

Complete Results | Video: Coach Jorgensen, Bechtel and Casey Recap Day Three

ATHENS, Ga. – Junior Christina Bechtel won the silver medal in the women’s 100 yard butterfly to highlight the University of Kentucky’s third day of the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships Thursday in Athens, Ga.

Bechtel earned Kentucky’s first podium appearance at the 2014 championships and the first SEC medal of her career. It was the first SEC swimming medal for the Wildcats since 2012. UK won two diving medals last year.

“It was a great day, we got someone on the podium in Christina Bechtel, which is wonderful,” UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “She’s worked really hard and has improved immensely. She was in the C Final and finished 17th last year and now she’s second in the conference, that’s a huge stride.

“The girls swam really well, Abby Myers scored for the first time at SECs, Danielle Galyer, a freshman was awesome, and Kendal Casey wrapped it up with a school record, we couldn’t have done much better. The guys were equally as impressive today. Matt Roman and Brandon Flynn in the individual medley were great, Lucas Gerotto did a great job. Overall it was a great day.”

Also on the third day of the SEC Championships, freshman Kendal Casey broke the school record in the 200 freestyle as eight Kentucky swimmers advanced to the finals and seven Wildcats, including diver Christa Cabot, scored in the top 20 in seven events.

Bechtel, who touched the wall in 51.69, captured UK’s first runner-up finish since the men’s 200 freestyle relay team won silver in 2010. She finished just 0.11 shy of Florida’s Ellese Zalewski, who won in 51.58 after placing 17th at the 2013 SEC Championships.

“It’s awesome,” Bechtel said. “Last year I was 17th and this year I’m second, this one race shows the progress of our team this year. It’s humbling, I love being able to represent the Big Blue Nation. Our team has come so far and this is just the beginning. Everyone has been competing so well, this is the start of many great years with Lars as our head coach.”

The Franklin, Tenn., native was in fourth through the first 50 yards, but put together a 27.54 second half, the second-fastest split in the final 50 yards, to secure a spot on the podium. Bechtel is the school record-holder in the 100 freestyle, earlier in the season.

Along with Bechtel in the women’s 100 butterfly finals, junior Abby Myers finished fifth in the C final and 21st overall with a time of 53.57.

Freshman Kendal Casey swam a school-record time of 1:47.04 in the 200 yard freestyle. The third school record broken at this year’s championships, Casey placed third in the C Final and 19th overall.

In the men’s 100 butterfly, senior Lucas Gerotto finished third in the B Final and 11th overall with a time of 47.04.

UK advanced two swimmers to the finals in the men’s 400 individual medley, with freshman Brandon Flynn in the B Final and sophomore Matt Roman in the C Final. Flynn was in sixth but used a strong second half to place fourth in the B Final and 12th overall in 3:49.15.

Roman touched the wall in 3:53.00 and finished fourth in the final and 20th overall. Both Flynn and Roman earned NCAA B qualifying times in today’s competition.

Junior Christa Cabot placed 10th overall in the women’s 3-meter dive with a score of 315.75, while fellow junior Lindsay Keahey was 15th with a 304.85.

In the women’s 400 individual medley, the first event of the day, freshman Danielle Galyer led the way for the Wildcats with a 15th-place finish. Galyer finished seventh in the B Final with a time of 4:15.98, good for an NCAA B qualifying time.

The final event of the day was the men’s 200 freestyle, where Scott Crosthwaite raced in the C Final. The sophomore touched the wall in 1:37.11 to place sixth in the final and 22nd overall in the event.

The UK men are in ninth place with 278 points, while the women are 10th with 236 points. Florida sits atop the men’s standings with 773.5 points and Georgia leads the women’s rankings with 879 points.

The five-day SEC Championships continue Friday with the 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 400 medley relay and men’s platform dive. Prelims commence at 10 a.m. ET, while the finals begin at 6 p.m. The diving prelims start at 1 p.m.

On Tuesday, UK broke two school records, while Ferrucci and fellow diver Christa Cabot notched fourth-place finishes in the finals of the 3- and 1-meter, respectively. Wednesday, seven Wildcats advanced to the finals and two placed in the top nine. A full recap from Tuesday can be found here, while Wednesday’s recap can be found here.

Fans can follow along with all the action from the University of Georgia with live results of every competition and a live video stream of the finals at GeorgiaDogs.com.

For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Swimming and Diving program, go to UKathletics.com/SwimmingDiving. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKSwimDive and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive.


 

 

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