Strong Field Awaits Kentucky in First Tri-Meet of 2019
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A tough test lies ahead for the Wildcats, as Kentucky will join two other CSCAA Top-25 swimming and diving programs to ring in the new year in Gainesville, Florida on Friday and Saturday for a tri-meet with host Florida and Ohio State.
The two-day, 28-event swim meet will begin at 1 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, while the six-event dive meet will compete at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday. The swim meet will take place in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium. It will mark the first home meet for the Gators this season.
Each program will flaunt a top 25 women’s and men’s team, allowing for a decorated tri-meet in No. 13/25 Kentucky, No. 10/5 Florida and No. 22/14 Ohio State (women/men).
Fans who wish to keep up with live swim results can follow along on the smartphone app Meet Mobile. The swim meet will be streamed on SEC Network+, which can also be viewed through WatchESPN and the ESPN app on computers, smartphones or tablets.
Unique to this meet, the diving portion of the competition will take place 100 miles south of Gainesville, in Orlando, Florida, at the YMCA Aquatic Center. Twenty-four divers from the three programs makeup the field, which includes seven Wildcats – senior Courtney Clark, senior Kailey Francetic, sophomore Cara Hudson, freshman Kyndal Knight, sophomore Chase Lane, senior Seb Masterton and newcomer Danny Zhang.
“We are really looking forward to the meet,” said head diving coach Ted Hautau. “It’ll be good for Danny to get some repetition, get his air sense back and shake off any cobwebs. Similar to the team, it will be a good meet to have out of the break and get some dives going again. This will be fun and challenging, we have a lot of events in a short amount of days. It is nice to be in a new environment.”
Zhang joined the Kentucky roster in December 2018 as a freshman. Zhang spent his childhood training in China, before moving to the United States to pursue diving and an education. The newcomer of Cypress, California, boasts an excellent junior diving record, having 10 first-place finishes on his log, including sweeping the springboard events at the 2018 1st Annual “Gift of Life” Invitational.
The diving Wildcats will compete in each discipline, while Zhang is likely to compete on the 1- and 3-meter springboards. Live results will be available for the dive meet on DiveMeets.com.
The tri-meet will mark the second meeting between the Wildcats and the Buckeyes of 2018-19, but the first dual encounter between Kentucky and Florida since UK hosted the Gators in October 2014.
Pegged as one of the toughest meets on Kentucky’s schedule, each program advertises a men’s and women’s team ranked in the top 25. In addition to a home advantage, Florida will boast a powerhouse program that includes two top-10 squads and the five-time defending Southeastern Conference Champions in the men.
Kentucky will face Ohio State for the second time this season, while the first outing came in November 2018 at the Ohio State Invitational. The Wildcat women sneaked past the Buckeyes in the team standings, finishing one spot ahead of OSU in third (1,898). The Kentucky men didn’t have as much success versus the red and white, also finishing in third (1,952.50) behind the first-place Buckeyes.
The UK women currently lead the SEC in the 200-yard backstroke event for times logged in the Ohio State Invitational. Junior Asia Seidt earned an NCAA automatic qualifying time with a 1:49.35, taking the top spot in the conference. Junior Ali Galyer saw an NCAA consideration time in the event with a 1:51.29, second best in the conference.
The Wildcats will take the water for the first time after winter training and over a month removed from competitive action.
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.