Wildcats Prepped for SEC Championships
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Kentucky swimming and diving team is set to open up the championship season at the 2017 Southeastern Conference Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday. Hosted by the University of Tennessee, the five-day meet will run from Feb. 14-18 inside the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.
“We are really excited for the conference championships,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “There’s a lot of energy surrounding the meet, so we’re definitely looking forward to that. We would love to do a little better in points than we did last year, and I think we have some real opportunities to compete for some championships both in swimming and diving.”
“Our main goal is to get better as we prepare for March and try to get some more people qualified for NCAAs. The meet will be a good indicator of where we are leading into the national championships and help us to make some adjustments in this last month as we look forward.”
Each day will employ a similar schedule, as prelims begin every morning at 10 a.m. ET, with swimming set for a 6 p.m. start in the evenings.
In the opening day, the meet will start off with men’s one-meter prelims at 11 a.m. followed by women’s three-meter prelims at 2 p.m. The same springboard finals will take place at 5:30 and 6:30, respectively.
Live streaming of all the week’s action will be available on SECNetwork+ and the Watch ESPN app each day.
KENTUCKY IN THE SEC
Kentucky looks to improve upon last year’s performance at the SEC Championships, in which the women finished eighth with 619 points and the men ninth, tallying 530 points.
This season, the men finished the regular season with a 2-2 record in conference duals, while the women compiled a 1-3 SEC record. Both squads downed South Carolina in UK’s season-opening weekend, and the men picked up a historic victory over Tennessee on October 28.
The UK women represent one of eight SEC teams ranked inside the CSCAA’s latest poll, coming in at No. 16 on the list. The men are currently receiving votes, and behind seven additional ranked SEC squads.
KENTUCKY ATHLETES IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Between both the men’s and women’s squads, Kentucky holds 15 times that currently rank in the top 25 nationally among Division I swimmers, including six times that rank in the top 10.
Senior Kyle Higgins holds one of the highest ranked times for Kentucky, as he owns the No. 6 spot in the 200-yard butterfly with a school-record time of 1:42.66. Higgins went undefeated in the race in the regular season, and currently sits as the third fastest in the SEC in the event.
Senior Drew Aviotti is the only other Wildcat on the men’s side holding times in the top 25. His school-record time of 14:58.50 in the 1650-yard freestyle ranks the No. 14 swim in the event while his 9:05.17 in the 1000 free is the No. 21 time among Division I swimmers.
On the women’s side, freshman Asia Seidt has completely dominated for the Blue and White. Seidt currently holds four individual times that sit inside the top 25. Her 1:51.18 A-cut finish in the 200-yard backstroke at the Ohio State Invite earned her the fourth-fastest time in the country as well as the fastest time in the SEC. The freshman’s 1:55.33 time in the 200-yard individual medley also gained automatic entry to NCAAs and sits as the seventh-best time in the country. Seidt also holds the No. 8 time in the 100-yard backstroke and 16th-fastest time in the 400 IM. She also ranks 16th in the 400 IM.
The Wildcat women have emerged as a powerhouse in the 200 backstroke. In addition to Seidt, three Kentucky swimmers rank within the top 15 nationally in the event. Defending NCAA champion in the race, senior Danielle Galyer currently holds down the No. 7 spot in the standings. Junior Bridgette Alexander follows close behind with the 8th-fastest time after posting a first-place 1:52.38 at the AT&T Winter Nationals. Freshman Ali Galyer rounds out the event with the No. 14 spot.
“The four of us have all really been pushing each other in practice,” said Danielle. “We’re really focusing on NCAAs, so we’ve been training together while a lot for March. I think it will especially be good for the freshmen to push themselves and have some really good swims. I think we’ve had a great year of training and hopefully it will show in everyone’s swims from top to bottom.”
Sophomore Geena Freriks is the only other Wildcat to grab an individual top-25 time for the women, as her school-record time of 4:39.34 in the 500 freestyle race at the Ohio State Invite is good for 14th in the standings.
Additionally, the women own top-25 times in the 400 freestyle relay (No. 25), 800 freestyle relay (No. 9) and 400 medley relay (No. 13).
Tuesday, Feb. 14
10 a.m. – Time Trials
11 a.m. – Men’s 1-Meter prelims
2 p.m. – Women’s 3-Meter prelims
5:30 p.m. – Men’s 1-Meter Final
6 p.m. – 200 Medley Relay, 800 Medley Relay
6:30 p.m. – Women’s 3-Meter Final
Wednesday, Feb. 15
10 a.m. – 500 Free, 200 IM, 50 Free Prelims
1 p.m. – Women’s 1-Meter Prelims
6 p.m. – 500 Free, 200 IM, 50 Free, Women’s 1-Meter, 200 Free Relay Finals
Thursday, Feb. 16
10 a.m. – 400 IM, 100 Fly, 200 Free Prelims
1 p.m. – Men’s 3-Meter Prelims
6 p.m. – 400 IM, 100 Fly, Men’s 3-Meter, 200 Free
Friday, Feb. 17
10 a.m. – 200 Fly, 100 Back, 100 Breast Prelims
1 p.m. – Women’s Platform Prelims
6 p.m. – 200 Fly, 100 Back, 100 Breast, Women’s Platform, 400 Medley Relay Finals
Saturday, Feb. 18
10 a.m. – 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast
1 p.m. – Men’s platform
6 p.m. – 1650 Free, 200 Back, 100 Free, 200 Breast, Men’s Platform, 400 Free Relay Finals