Men's Diving Trio Reaches Finals on 3-meter at SEC Championships

Feb. 21, 2013

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Not only was Kentucky the lone team to send multiple divers to the finals of the men’s 3-meter springboard event Thursday night at the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, but three Wildcats were in the field looking to get UK back into the mix.

The men’s trio of Greg Ferrucci, Corey Cowger and John Fox were three of the eight competitors who reached the finals of the 3-meter boards, comprising 37.5 percent of the field. Ferrucci, for the second time in the 2013 SEC Championships, earned a runner-up score of 405.55 to first place David Bonuchi of Missouri (441.95).

“We had an outstanding day today,” said UK dive coach Ted Hautau. “I’m very pleased with our guys and the way they handled their emotions and pressure. To get in the finals against that field, you could not have any misses.”

Ferrucci is still battling a thumb injury that limited his action in the final two regular season meets of the season. His performance over the first few days of the SEC Championships is an impressive feat despite the injury and still knocking off some rust.

“Greg Ferrucci did a fantastic job for as little time as he has had on the 3-meter,” said Hautau. “He probably had only done his list six times since he injured his thumb in January. To get second on both boards was clutch performing.”

Cowger is peaking at the right time for Kentucky, having one of the best performances of his career on the evening. His 369.75 earned him sixth place on the night in a pressure-packed situation.

“Corey Cowger was unbelievable,” said Hautau. “That was the most pressure he has been under and it was the best he has competed.”

Hautau took the blame for Fox’s eighth place finish. On pace for a career performance through his first three attempts, Fox had a slip up on his fourth dive after some advice from his coach.

“His knee buckled on the board, but somehow saved the dive and then crushed his last dive,” said Hautau.

Fox finished the round with a 356 to round out the top eight.

In the pool, Kentucky got some big swims from both the men and women on Day 3 in Texas. Maclin Simpson got things going in the 400-individual medley. In the preliminary round, Simpson touched the wall at 3:52.88 to advance to the finals of the event. In the finals, he finished a 3:53.01. His preliminary time is good for second-best all-time in the event, while his 3:35.01 finish in the finals is good for third in program history.

Lucas Gerotto continues his strong showing at the SEC Championships with a strong performance in his top event this season. In the 100-butterfly, the junior finished with a season-best time :47.33, good for third-best in program history behind his 2012 time of :46.33. His time was good for 14th place to add to the Kentucky men’s scoring total.

The women were also impressive on the third day of action. In the women’s 100-butterfly, the trio of Mandy Myers, Christina Bechtel and Laura Dawson each finished with top-20 times in the event. Myers touched in with a 15th-place time of 54.45 in the B Final. Bechtel followed with a 53.38 time in the C Final to earn 17th place, while also in the C Final Dawson finished in 20th with her time of 54.06.

“Great swims from Christina, Laura and Mandy,” said UK head swim coach Gary Conelly. “On the men’s side, Maclin and Lucas were strong. It is a very fast meet and we are expecting good things tomorrow.”

After three days of action in the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, the UK men have closed the gap but continue to sit in 10th place (247). The women continue to hold strong in 9th (220).

Day 4 of action of the 2013 SEC Championships begins at 11 a.m. ET with preliminaries of the 200-butterfly. The rest of the events are as follows:

Friday, Feb. 22

200 Fly (prelims) -- 10 a.m.
100 Back (prelims)
100 Breast (prelims)
Diving: Women’s Platform (prelims) -- 1 p.m.
400 Medley Relay (finals) -- 6 p.m.
Diving: Women’s Platform (finals)
200 Fly (Finals)
100 Back (Finals)
100 Breast (Finals)