June 18, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – As Lars Jorgensen begins his second year as the head coach at the University of Kentucky, he will do so once again challenging his swimming and diving team to compete against some of the best competition in the country.
Competing in arguably the toughest swimming and diving conference in the country, the Wildcats will face 12 teams in the regular season who finished in the top 20 nationally last season. After having just two home meets a year ago, Kentucky will host four contests in Lexington, three against top-16 men’s and women’s squads.
As Jorgensen continues to build the UK swimming and diving team after an impressive first season, a tough schedule is just what he’s looking for.
“This is a challenging schedule, but one that will make us better at the end of the season,” Jorgensen said. “It’s a great opportunity to swim against some of best teams in the country and is good preparation for the NCAA championships, which is our No. 1 goal. We want to schedule tough teams, it’s a challenge we are excited for, one that will make us better.”
In Jorgensen’s first year as head coach, the Kentucky women placed 23rd at the NCAA Championships, its highest national finish since 2008. UK earned four All-America honors, with two top-eight finishes. The men finished 37th as five Wildcats earned Honorable Mention All-America honors. Nine All-Americans is the most for a UK team since 2010, while the eight Wildcats to earn the award are the most since 2008.
The Wildcats were one of eight SEC teams to place either a men’s or women’s team in the top 25 nationally.
UK will host four meets at the Lancaster Aquatics Center, three of them against SEC foes. The home slate is highlighted by a visit from Florida, the men’s SEC champion in 2014, on Oct. 16 and a senior day matchup with in-state rival Louisville on Jan. 24.
“We are excited to have four home meets,” Jorgensen added. “We open with SEC foe South Carolina on Oct. 10, which will be a good first test for us, and Florida, last year’s men’s SEC champions, will be a great matchup here as well. Of course, it will be exciting to celebrate Senior Day with a rivalry match against Louisville. Last year we were on the road a lot, so it will be really exciting to compete at home more this season in front of the Big Blue Nation against some great competition.”
After their annual Blue/White Intrasquad on Oct. 3, the Wildcats officially open the 2014-15 campaign against South Carolina on Oct. 10 in Lexington. The following week, on Oct. 16, Florida comes to the Lancaster Aquatics Center. The UF men, the reigning SEC champions, placed third nationally last season, while the Gator women were sixth.
Kentucky travels to Knoxville, Tenn., after a weekend off to face Tennessee and Indiana on Oct. 31. Last season, both the UT and IU men’s and women’s teams finished in the top 15 nationally.
UK returns home for a two-day, four-team meet against Missouri, Northwestern and Southern Illinois on Nov. 7 and 8. The MU men finished 16th last season at the NCAA Championships, while the NU men notched a 29th-place finish a year ago.
Another four-team meet awaits Kentucky at the Ohio State Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 21-23. In addition to UK and Ohio State, the field includes Wisconsin and Kenyon College. The meet will feature a pair of top-18 teams from last season in the UW women who finished 13th and the OSU men who placed 18th.
December brings a pair of individual events, with the USA Winter Swimming Nationals, Dec. 4-6 in Greensboro, N.C., and the USA Diving Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 17-20.
The Wildcats begin the new year with the Tennessee Diving Invitational, Jan. 2-4 in Knoxville, Tenn., followed by the women’s team competing at Vanderbilt on Jan. 9 and the men’s team at Virginia Tech on Jan. 10.
The Wildcats return home to face in-state rival Louisville on Jan. 24. The Senior Day matchup will begin at noon with the diving events, while the swimming competition will commence at 1 p.m. The regular season concludes Jan. 30 at Cincinnati.
Postseason competition begins at the SEC Championships, hosted by Auburn Feb. 17-21. At the conference championship event, which features 12 women’s teams and 10 men’s teams, UK will face a total of six men’s teams and five women’s teams that finished in the top 16 in 2014.
Select UK swimmers will compete at the NCAA Last Chance Qualifier in Athens, Ga., Feb. 28-March 1, while the Kentucky divers will look to qualify for the NCAA Championships at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, March 12-14, in Columbus, Ohio.
The NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be held in Greensboro, N.C., March 19-21, while the men’s national championship event will take place the following weekend, March 26-28, in Iowa City, Iowa.
The UK women return 20 members from the 2013-14 squad and lose just four. The men will return 22 of 33 swimmers and divers next season. Six of the 10 Wildcats that competed at the NCAA Championships in 2014 return next season, two of them as sophomores and four as seniors.
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.