KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – After winning bronze last season, Kentucky’s Geena Freriks was determined to make the podium in the 200-yard freestyle at this year’s Southeastern Conference Championships. And boy, did she succeed.
Freriks didn’t just make the podium – she made it in record-setting fashion, becoming the first Wildcat woman to win the 200 free at the meet since Kelly Heath in 1995. Freriks’ time of 1:44.26 bested her own school record of 1:44.98, a mark she set earlier this season.
“It was a great night,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “Obviously Geena was the highlight tonight, just a fantastic swim. Really showed her heart that she possesses to finish. Really close. The girls were all coming, but she fought so hard. You know, that’s the way she trains. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She’s deserving of a championship and she’s a championship swimmer.”
Freriks was joined in the 200 free final by two other Wildcats as senior Kendal Casey finished fifth overall with a personal-record time of 1:46.50 and freshman Ali Galyer touched eighth with a 1:47.34.
Sophomore diver Seb Masterton advanced to the finals of the 3-meter springboard where he posted a personal-best score of 428.15 to take fifth. His finals score showed a 40.05-point improvement from his prelims score, and bested his previous scoring record in the event by 20.05.
In the women’s 400 individual medley, freshman Kierston Farley-Sepe finished 19th overall with a personal record time of 4:12.49. The time kicks her up to fifth on Kentucky’s all-time performance list. For the men, both Brandon Flynn and Connor Blandford qualified for the C final, where Flynn placed second in the heat for 18th overall and Blandford came in 23rd.
Haley McInerny came in 16th in the 100 fly with a time of 53.28, a personal best for the sophomore. In the same event, senior Kyle Higgins tied for 21st overall, touching the wall in 47.36.
In the men’s 200 free, junior Isaac Jones swam a 1:35.72 to come in 19th. The mark was a personal best for Jones, who now owns the fifth-fastest time in UK history.
At the conclusion of day two, the Wildcat women are in sixth with 406 points and the men have dropped to 10th with a 248.5 tally.
The meet will follow the same time schedule tomorrow, with prelims beginning and 10 a.m. ET, diving prelims and 1 p.m. and finals set for 6 p.m. Tomorrow’s events will include the 200 fly, 100 back, 100 breast, women’s platform and 400 medley relay.