Bradford Wins Third Event in Three Days
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.— Junior Jenny Bradford was obviously the highlight of the Nike Cup for the Wildcats, as she won her third event in as many days today. Bradford claimed first in the 100-freestyle event and automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in her third event, previously qualifying in the 50-free and 100-butterfly.
Also earning a win in today’s competition was junior Will Vietti in the 200-breaststroke.
Florida State took home the team crowns as both the men and women earned the first place scores. Kentucky’s men took home second after scoring 690 points. The UK women placed fourth scoring 574 and finishing behind Florida State, North Carolina and Clemson. Kentucky was without divers for the meet.
Jenny Bradford scored an ‘A’ cut for the NCAA Championships when she tapped in a time of 49.12. Her sister, Heather, claimed fourth in a time of 51.35 in the super finals. Earlier in the day in the preliminary round, Bradford achieved a ‘B’ cut time when she was timed in at 50.58. In the finals, junior Lauren Willis claimed fifth in a 50.87, a ‘B’cut time. Senior Nikia Deveaux, sophomore Kristina Sledge and freshman Sydney Witzky placed 10th, 17th and 18th respectively in the same event. The trio touched in times of 51.79, 52.67 and 52.72 respectively.
Beginning the evening for the Lady Cats, sophomore Leah Harms earned a personal-best time and a fourth place finish in the grueling 1650-free in a time of 16:55.44. The time is also good enough for the sophomore to place ninth all-time on the UK top-10 list.
Freshman Chatham Penrod concluded her strong Nike Cup performance with a fourth place finish in the 200-backstroke. The rookie clocked in a time of 2:03.93. Sophomore Keli Hnat tapped in a personal-best time and placed ninth with a 2:05.27 time, and junior Blair Barrett earned valuable points for the Cats when she took 19th in a time of 2:07.83.
Junior Lindsay Myhre placed sixth in the 200-breast, and was the lone scorer for UK in the event. Myhre’s time of 2:17.98 is a personal-best and places her sixth on the all-time top-10 list.
Kentucky continued to get strong performances out of their rookies, when Megan Pulskamp led all Kentucky scorers when she clocked in fifth place in the 200-butterfly in a time of 2:03.05. Pulskamp also earned a spot on the all-time top-10 list, grabbing ninth with the time. Classmate Anna Simron took ninth and sophomore Kelly Rames placed 11th in the same event in times of 2:06.18 and 2:07.17 respectively.
The Kentucky women ended their successful Nike Cup performance winning the meet’s final event, the 400-free relay. Heather Bradford, Deveaux, Willis and Jenny Bradford teamed to clock in a ‘B’ cut time with a 3:20.93 finish.
The men’s team also had an incredibly successful outing, finishing second in the meet ahead of Clemson. Vietti’s win was the highlight of the evening. Also in the 200-breast, sophomore Mickey Malul, a winner the night before, placed fifth with a time of 2:03.95. Junior Kristian Outinen tapped in right behind his teammate, taking sixth in a time of 2:04.02.
The blue and white had four swimmers in the top-20 in the 1650-free led by sophomore James Batley’s sixth place finish. Batley tapped in a time of 15:46.22. Classmate Vincent Tortora, senior Eric Weber and freshman Marco Iemmola earned 12th, 13th, and 15th in times of 16:00.46, 16:01.53 and 16:13.94, respectively. Tortora topped his previous best time by almost seven seconds, while the rookie claimed his top collegiate time.
Sophomore Shane Eliason was the only Wildcat to place in the 200-back as he earned bronze in the event in a personal-best time of 1:48.46.
Sophomore Warren Grobbelaar broke into UK’s all-time top-10 list in the 100-free when he tapped in third place with a time of 45.19. He was joined in the scoring by three freshmen as Eric McGinnis took fifth, Kyle Greene 11th and Alex Forbes 13th. The trio of rookies touched in times of 45.30, 46.56 and 45.74 respectively.
Kentucky enjoyed much success in the 200-fly as well. Junior Grant Nelson was the runner-up in the super finals, taking second in a time of 1:49.22, a new personal-best. Sophomore Joe Retrum, participating in the finals of the meet, grabbed sixth overall with a time of 1:49.09. Retrum’s time was good enough for seventh and Nelson’s eighth on the UK all-time top-10 list. Batley tapped in eighth place in a time of 1:51.59 and classmate Sean Smith rounded out the scoring with a 14th place finish with a time of 1:53.26. All of the times in the event were personal bests.
The Wildcats concluded their meet with a second place finish in the 400-free relay placing behind Virginia Tech. In what should be a team for a few years, McGinnis, Grobbelaar, Forbes and Eliason tapped in a time of 3:00.08.
Today was the final day of action for the Nike Cup Invitational. Kentucky will return to the pool when they make their home debut on Dec. 2. The men will host Texas A&M while the women welcome SEC-newcomers Vanderbilt.