The Kentucky swimming and diving team will certainly have momentum looking ahead to the remainder of this week’s 2017 Southeastern Conference Championships. The Wildcats left the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center on Tuesday evening having posted three school records, including a silver medal performance in the women’s 800 freestyle relay. As it stands, the Kentucky women sit fifth in the standings with 146 points, and the men are in eighth with 111 points.
“It was a fantastic day. I’m really pleased overall,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “It’s a long meet, but we couldn’t get off to a much better start than tonight. It’s always nice to get a good start, but every day is new so we’re going to come out tomorrow morning fighting.”
Senior diver Becca Hamperian got things going for the Blue and White, advancing to the 3-meter springboard finals after finishing eighth in prelims with a score of 318.00. Hamperian came back fighting in the finals, bettering her score by more than 30 points to finish fourth overall with a career-best score of 348.60. The mark raises her from fourth to eighth on Kentucky’s all-time performance list.
“Becca stepped up huge,” said Jorgensen. “She’s been our best diver for the last couple years, and improving her performance from this morning really shows the champion that she is.”
In the first swimming event of the meet, Danielle Galyer, Madison Winstead, Asia Seidt and Geena Freriks teamed up to post a fourth-place finish in the 200 medley relay with a school-record time of 1:36.76. The time automatically qualifies Kentucky for the NCAA Championships next month.
The women kept things rolling, posting their second school record and NCAA qualifying time of the meet as Ali Galyer, Seidt, Danielle Galyer and Freriks picked up a silver medal in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 6:59.33. The mark represents the first time in school history the Wildcats have posted a time under seven minutes, and is the seventh fastest time in the country in the race this season.
“It was really great,” said Danielle. “Getting medals here is our ultimate goal. We’ve trained together through a lot of freestyle sets, so it’s just nice to be able to do it for the team and start the meet off on a good note.”
On the men’s side, the foursome of Walker Thaning, Wyatt Amdor, David Dingess and Cobe Garcia picked up eighth place in the 200 medley relay, touching in at 1:25.78.
To close the night in style, Sean Gunn, Isaac Jones, Glen Brown and Kyle Higgins joined forces to earn the third school-record time of the night. The group finished sixth in the 800 free relay with a B-cut time of 6:23.51.
Kentucky returns to action tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET, with the prelims for the 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free. Women’s 1-meter prelims will begin at 1 p.m., and swimming finals will begin at 6 p.m., with the addition of the 200 free relay.
For the latest on the Kentucky swimming and diving program, follow @UKSwimDive on Twitter, on Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive, and on the web at UKathletics.com.
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