Two noteworthy relays helped the Kentucky swimming and diving program finish on a high note in the final day of the 13th annual Ohio State Invitational in Columbus, Ohio.
The McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion echoed with cheers Saturday, when Kentucky battled for top times in the final event of the invitational, the 400-yard freestyle relay. The women’s relay team, highlighted by senior Ali Galyer, junior Asia Seidt, freshman Riley Gaines and senior Geena Freriks, finished with an NCAA “B” cut time of 3:15.16, earning second overall and breaking the school record by two-tenths of a second. It was the only school record that fell in the three-day invitational.
The UK men followed the women’s performance with a show of their own. Juniors Peter Wetzlar, Glen Brown, Jason Head and John Mitchell brought it down to the wire, finishing victoriously with a 2:52.23 earning an NCAA “B” cut, the first men’s relay to earn the distinction for the season.
“It was a great night, the best night of the meet so far,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “We finished really good, which was highlighted by Asia’s 200 back, a No. 1 time in the country and a really good swim this time of the year for her.
“Also, the last two relays with the women breaking the school record and the guys winning, really good times, both teams were really good on that. Both relays have a chance to place at NCAAs, which is really what we are working on developing. I was really pleased with their effort and their finish on that last relay.”
Seidt shined in the final day Saturday, earning an NCAA automatic mark and setting a meet record in the 200-yard backstroke for her time 1:49.35, .11 off her career best and program record time in the event, which she tabbed in the 2018 NCAA Championships earning silver. Courtney Bartholomew last held the meet record in the event with a 1:50.55 posted in 2013.
Alongside Seidt’s NCAA “A” cut, Kentucky earned a stunning 15 “B” cuts in the final day, including the 400-yard freestyle relays in each field. In total, the Wildcats saw 37 NCAA considerations and one automatic over the three-day invitational.
Six new career bests made their way in the program record book Saturday. Sophomore Savannah DuPuis became the 10th fastest Wildcat to swim the 1650-yard freestyle with a 16:32.26, her first record book appearance. Sophomore Sophie Sorenson recorded a time in the 200-yard backstroke that is the sixth fastest (1:55.39). Gaines’ 49.39 in the 100-yard freestyle is the fifth best time in the event. Freshman Izzy Gati recorded the fourth-best time in school history with her 1:56.12 in the 200-yard butterfly. Freshman Mason Wilby will move into the sixth spot in the 200-yard butterfly with a 1:45.54.
While the focus of the meet revolved around finishing strong individually, Kentucky produced satisfying team results with third-place finishes in each field. After sharing the lead with No. 21 Notre Dame to start the second day, the UK men finished third in the seven-team standings with 1,952.50 points. The Kentucky women finished in third in the nine-team field with 1,898 points, behind No. 14 Notre Dame and reigning NCAA Champions No. 3 Stanford.
Four Kentucky divers earned high scores at the Ohio State Invitational, good enough to earn a combined nine Zone C Diving Championship qualifying marks. The diving troop shined in the first night of the invitational, finishing first in each of the two disciplines – women’s 3-meter and men’s 1-meter. Freshman Kyndal Knight stunned the pavillion with a 326.35 performance on the 3-meter board. She also booked reservations to the zone championships on the 1-meter with her preliminary score 297.70 and the platform with a 239.00.
Coming off an injury, senior Seb Masterton made his season debut recording a 396.70 on the 1-meter board. Masterson also scored qualifying marks on the 3-meter (396.70) and platform (358.95).
Also finding qualifying scores for the Zone C Diving Championships was sophomore Chase Lane on the platform (361.05), junior Emma Dellmore on the 1-meter (277.30) and senior Kailey Francetic on the 1-meter (271.10).
The Kentucky swimming and diving team will not compete until 2019, however a select few will travel to Greensboro, North Carolina, for the USA Swimming Winter Nationals Nov. 28-Nov. 30.
– GO CATS –
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