Wildcats Trek to Natural State to Open Up SEC Action
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky’s women’s swimming and diving team, which tuned up for the 2015-16 season with the annual Blue/White Intrasquad meet last Friday, will kick off the season against Southeastern Conference foe Arkansas. The Wildcats will head to Fayetteville, Ark. for a Saturday tilt with the Razorbacks starting at 12 p.m. ET.
|KENTUCKY at ARKANSAS
When: Saturday, Oct. 10, 12 p.m. ET
Arkansas Natatorium, Fayetteville, Ark.
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“The first road meet of the year is against a really good SEC opponent,” commented head coach Lars Jorgensen. “I think Arkansas and us are pretty evenly matched programs and it’s going to be fun. They’re well coached and we’re excited about the trip down to Fayetteville.”
The Wildcats return four NCAA qualifiers from the 2014-15 season, led by USA National Team member Danielle Galyer. The junior shone at the Blue/White Intrasquad, winning the 200 free and 200 back as well as leading off on the winning 200 medley relay for the White Team. Also returning with NCAA Championship experience for Kentucky are Bridgette Alexander, Kendal Casey, and Rebecca Hamperian. The trio of Wildcats also had solid performances at UK’s scrimmage, with Hamperian sweeping the 1-meter and 3-meter dives for the Blue Team, while the White Team saw Casey win the 500 free and Alexander take the title in the 100 back and finished second behind Galyer in the 200 back.
Friday’s meet also showcased the incoming talent from the newest UK recruiting class. The White Team saw strong performances out of Meredith Whisenhunt, who won the 1000 free and placed second in the 200 free, along with Haley McInerny, who took second in the 200 fly behind UK alum and US National Team member Christina Bechtel and was also the top non-alumnae finisher in the 100 fly. Geena Freriks swam well for the Blue Team in the freestyle sprints, taking second behind alum Abby Meyers in the 50 free and winning the 100 free. Combining the points with the men’s team, the Blue Team edged out the White Team to win the scrimmage, 193.5-191.5
For the season-opening meet, the captains for the team will be Alexander, Galyer, and Hamperian.
SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS
Arkansas finished 10th at the 2015 SEC Championships after amassing 465 points, and placed 44th at the 2015 NCAA Championships with two points. The Razorbacks’ sole point-winner, All-American breaststroker Nikki Daniels, has since graduated but Arkansas returns four NCAA qualifiers in Nina Drolc, Anna Mayfield, Maddie Monroe, and Rachel Stoehr.
The Razorbacks are coming off a season-opening victory over Nebraska, taking down the Cornhuskers 174-125 on Oct. 3. Arkansas had a solid performance, winning 10 individual events. Four Razorbacks picked up multiple victories, including freshman Sydney Angell in the breaststroke events and Mayfield winning the 100 back before leading a sweep in the 200 back. Also notching double wins were Aiden Lister in the distance freestyles and Chloe Hannam in the 200 free and 400 IM.
ALL-TIME VERSUS ARKANSAS
The Wildcats are on the right side of a 9-5 all-time record in dual action with Arkansas, dating back to the 1992-93 season. However, UK is looking to snap a four-dual losing streak with the SEC foe, with its last win coming by way of a 150-120 decision on Dec. 3, 2005. The last time the two teams met, Arkansas handed the Wildcats a 156.5-143.5 loss in Fayetteville on Jan. 11, 2014.
ON DECK: TEXAS A&M
Kentucky will open up its home schedule with a co-ed dual against Texas A&M. The Aggies finished the 2015 NCAA Championships as No. 4 on the women’s side while the men placed 38th.
WILDCATS ON TEAM USA
After swimming for the Junior National Team in 2014-15, junior Danielle Galyer has been invited to be a member of the USA Swimming National Team for 2015-16. Galyer notched the second-fastest time in the 200-meter backstroke at the Phillips 66 Nationals, touching in at 2:09.75, and also placed eighth in the 100m back in 1:01.23. Also representing the United States is recent UK alum Christina Bechtel, who finished third in both the 100m and 200m fly (58.74/2:09.20) at the Phillips 66 Nationals. Bechtel is no stranger to Team USA after competing in the 50m and 100m fly in 2014-15.
The Wildcats still have more opportunities to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which will be held from June 26-July 3, 2016 in Omaha, Neb.
LAST YEAR IN REVIEW
During the 2014-15 campaign, Kentucky saw 12 school records broken along with the highest individual NCAA swimming finisher in program history. The women’s squad finished 16th in the nation last season, having amassed 95 points for the best finish since 2007. Additionally, they turned in the best team finish in the SEC since 2011 after finishing seventh. The SEC Championships were highlighted by the Wildcats notching not only their first swimming individual title since 1999, but UK having two students atop the podium with victories by Christina Bechtel in the 200 fly and Danielle Galyer in the 200 back. The men finished 10th in the SEC last year in a league that features six teams ranked in the top-25 with an additional two receiving votes in the CSCAA Coaches poll.
Overall, the Wildcats picked up 17 All-America accolades throughout nine different events. Kentucky also had three individual honors from the SEC, as Rebecca Hamperian was named the Female Diver of the Year, Galyer earned the distinction of Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and Ted Hautau was honored as the Women’s Diving Coach of the Year.