Kentucky Swimming and Diving Ends Fall Term on a High Note
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Two rewarding meets capped the fall term for the Kentucky swimming and diving program, after five divers met a 10-team field at the Miami Invitational hosted by Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and three swimmers competed in the USA Swimming Winter Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Senior Kailey Francetic, freshman Kyndal Knight, sophomore Cara Hudson, sophomore Chase Lane and senior Seb Masterton made the trip north to conclude the fall diving schedule at the 25th annual Miami Invitational, closing the meet with a sweep on the springboard.
Knight scored a 304.50 on the 1-meter board for the first-place crown, while Masterton’s came on the 3-meter board with a 421.20.
“Great finish to the meet,” said head diving coach Ted Hautau. “Lane and Masterton had some excellent dives, left a few points in the pool, but we competed well against some good international divers. Knight hit her last two to close out the win and Francetic was consistent throughout the meet.”
Knight and Masterton saved the best for last, earning the only victorious finishes by Wildcats in the meet. Kentucky faced an elite international field, which included hosts Miami (OH), Ball State, California-Davis, Cincinnati, France Diving, Guangdong, IUPUI, Tiffin and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Three Kentucky divers – Knight, Lane and Masterton –already owned Zone C Diving Championship bids in each discipline ahead of the Miami Invitational, but saw an opportunity in Oxford to earn higher marks and contest in a fresh field. Francetic owned one bid on the 1-meter springboard approaching the weekend, while Hudson looked to earn her first.
Francetic took care of business in the Nixon Aquatic Center, clinching her second zone championship submission, charting a 295.20 in the 3-meter finals.
From one meet to another, one Wildcat sought 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trial cuts in the USA Swimming Winter Nationals – sophomore Bailey Bonnett. While junior Ali Galyer and Junior Peter Wetzlar also competed, Galyer and Wetzlar are ineligible to receive qualifying marks for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials because they have elected to swim for other countries.
Like Knight and Masterton, Galyer produced a couple of stunning final-day performances, earning the top seed in the 200-meter backstroke preliminaries with a 2:10.97. Claiming lane four in the “A” finals, the junior clinched a third-overall finish with a 2:11.02. While Galyer has elected to swim for New Zealand in hopes of making their 2020 Olympic Team, two of her recorded times from Winter Nationals would have qualified for U.S. Olympic Team Trial cuts, including the 200-meter backstroke.
Her first would have come in the 100-meter backstroke with her “A” finals time of 1:02.40. Along with the two backstroke distances, Galyer also swam the 400-meter freestyle.
Bonnett competed in the 200-meter individual medley and the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. The reigning SEC Female Freshman of the Year saw the only true U.S. Olympic Team Trial cut for the Wildcats, with a 2:32.08 in the 200-meter breaststroke in the “A” finals.
Wetzlar saw action in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly. He remarkably set a Zimbabwe record in the 50-meter freestyle with a 22.87 during a swim off for a “B” finals position, which he garnered. The junior from Zimbabwe has chosen to swim for his native country, therefore his swim-off time will not be considered by the United States for the U.S. Olympic Team Trial cuts.
“I’m so happy with Wetzlar’s progress this year and to break a national record, wow, that’s an amazing accomplishment,” said head coach Lars Jorgenen. “I thought overall we were really good at this point in the season, but we have much work to do in the next six to eight weeks.”
The Kentucky swimming and diving program will not compete in December, but will return to competition Jan. 4-5 in Gainesville, Florida, in a tri-meet versus Florida and Ohio State.
For the latest on the Kentucky swimming and diving program, follow @UKSwimDive on Twitter and on Instagram, on Facebook and on the web at UKathletics.com.