Oct. 23, 2013
SWIMMING AND DIVING VS. MISSOURI AND SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
When: Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. ET and Friday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m.
Where: Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium, Carbondale, Ill.
Video Preview: Jorgensen Previews Missouri, SIU
Additional Info: Twitter | Facebook
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky swimming and diving program travels to Southern Illinois for its first tri-meet of the season, against fellow Southeastern Conference foe Missouri and the host Salukis.
“This will be a great opportunity to swim against two very good teams in Missouri and Southern Illinois,” UK head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “We’re looking to continue to compete hard, win some more races and build towards the rest of the season. It’s going to be a tough matchup, but we’re excited.”
After it opened the season with perennial powerhouses Georgia and Ohio State, UK’s challenging schedule continues against MU and SIU. Both the Tiger men and women are coming off 14th-place finishes at the 2013 NCAA Championships, with the men’s finish being a program best. While the Salukis did not qualify anyone for the national championship competitions, the program boasts an impressive 26 combined conference titles and 29 Olympians.
The UK men are coming off a 22nd-place national finish in 2013. Senior diver Greg Ferrucci placed fourth in all three NCAA diving events and became the first UK diver to earn First Team All-America honors in one season in all three diving events. The women, who sent then-sophomores Christina Bechtel and Christa Cabot to the NCAA Championships, did not place in 2013.
SCOUTING MISSOURI AND SOUTHERN ILLNOIS
Missouri finished 14th at both the men’s and women’s NCAA Championships in 2013. The finish was the best in program history for the men, while a second-place finish by Dominique Bouchard in the 200 backstroke was the highlight for the women’s team. The Tigers earned a combined seven First Team All-America honors.
At the SEC Championships, the MU men claimed fifth place, while the women came in eighth, just ahead of UK’s ninth-place showing.
While Southern Illinois did not qualify anyone for the NCAA Championships, the women placed third in their conference, while the men posted a fifth-place finish at the MAC Championships.
The Tigers are coached by Greg Rhodenbaugh, in his fourth season. Rick Walker is in his 27th year as head coach of the Salukis.
LAST TIME OUT: VS. OHIO STATE
On the strength of victories in all four diving competitions, Kentucky won nine events, but lost its home opener to Ohio State on Oct 11 in front of a capacity crowd at the Lancaster Aquatics Center.
The UK men lost 176-122, while the women fell to OSU by a 195-104 margin. The meet marked the home debut for first-year head coach Lars Jorgensen.
Senior Greg Ferrucci and junior Christa Cabot both swept the diving events, with top scores in the 1- and 3-meter springboard competitions. Ferrucci has won all four diving events he has competed in to open the season, while Cabot has claimed victories in three of her four events.
Junior Christina Bechtel also posted two wins, in the women’s 100 and 200 yard butterfly. Senior Maclin Simpson notched a first-place finish in the men’s 200 yard butterfly for his second win of the season. Eric Bruck and Lucas Gerotto, both seniors, rounded out UK’s victories with wins in the men’s 50 freestyle and the men’s 100 yard butterfly, respectively.
A full recap from the home-opener against Ohio State can be found here.
UP NEXT: AT INDIANA, VS. TENNESSEE
UK returns to the road next Friday against Indiana and Tennessee in Bloomington, Ind. The tri-meet between the SEC and Big Ten teams will begin at 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 1.
SEC HONORS BECHTEL, FERRUCCI
Junior swimmer Christina Bechtel and senior diver Greg Ferrucci were honored by the Southeastern Conference with the season’s first Athlete the Week awards on Oct. 15.
Ferrucci, who has won all four diving events to open the year, was named the SEC’s Male Diver of the Week for the eighth time in his career. Bechtel earned her first career SEC Female Swimmer of the Week honor after a two-win performance Oct. 11 against Ohio State.
Ferrucci recorded wins in all four competitions to start the season. At Georgia on Sept. 25, he notched victories in the 1- and 3-meter dives, while the senior swept the diving events again at home against Ohio State on Oct. 11.
On the strengths of two wins in the butterfly against Ohio State, Bechtel was ranked second nationally in the 100-yard butterfly after she finished first with a time of 54.34. Bechtel, an NCAA qualifier last year, also posted a win in the 200-yard butterfly against the Buckeyes.
THE JORGENSEN FILE
Lars Jorgensen is in his first season as head coach at Kentucky after serving as an associate head coach for the Wildcats last season. A 1988 Olympian and standout student-athlete at the University of Tennessee, Jorgensen served as interim head coach for his alma mater in 2011-12. He also spent time on the coaching staffs at Toledo and LSU.
As a student-athlete at UT, Jorgensen holds the school record in the 1,000 freestyle, set in 1992. He earned a silver medal at the 1993 SEC Championships in the 1,650 freestyle and helped the Volunteers to a third-place finish.
At the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, Jorgensen placed ninth in the 1,500-meter freestyle. His brother Daniel also competed in 1988, making them the second pair of brothers to participate in an Olympics. Daniel returned to the Olympics in 1992 and won a bronze medal as part of the 800 freestyle team, while their father, Niels, was an Olympic wrestler for Denmark.
UK returns all four student-athletes that competed at the 2013 Men's and Women's NCAA Championships. Senior diver Greg Ferrucci is coming off fourth-place finishes in all three NCAA events and became the first diver to earn First-Team All-America honors in one season on the 1 meter, 3 meter and platform. Senior John Fox and juniors Christina Bechtel and Christa Cabot made their first NCAA appearance in 2013.
2013-14 CAPTAINS ANNOUNCED
Seniors John Fox and Maclin Simpson and junior Michael Christian were named captains of the UK men's team, while juniors Christina Bechtel, Christa Cabot and Lindsay Hill were announced as captains of the women's squad.
A LOOK AT THE 2013-14 SCHEDULE
The 2013-14 campaign features dual or tri meets with five SEC foes and two home competitions. In addition to Oct. 11’s home opener against Ohio State, the Wildcats welcome Cincinnati to Lexington on Feb. 1 at noon at the Lancaster Aquatics Center on the UK campus.
The 2014 SEC Championships will be held Feb. 18-22 in Athens, Ga. The NCAA Women’s Championship will be in Minneapolis, Minn., March 20-23, while the men’s national championship will be March 27-30 in Austin, Texas.
The complete 2013-14 schedule can be found here.
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.