Kentucky Swimming & Diving Hosts Louisville for Senior Day Saturday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Nineteen seniors will be celebrated Saturday in the final home swim meet of the season, an instate dual between the Wildcats and the Cardinals.
“I just want to thank all of the seniors for their contributions to this team,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “They have been an awesome group, and I’ve really enjoyed working with each and every one of them over the years. It’ll be a fun and rewarding time to celebrate their time in the program and on campus.”
Kentucky will host Louisville on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Lancaster Aquatic Center, while the senior day presentation will begin 12:40 p.m.. Nineteen seniors will graduate from the program at the end of the semester – 15 swimmers, three divers and one student manager.
The dual meet will feature the men’s and women’s, Kentucky and Louisville teams. Three of the four squads competing Saturday are ranked in the CSCAA top 25, announced Wednesday. The Kentucky women improved by three spots with their best rank of the season, No. 10. The Louisville women fell to No. 16, after spending most of the season in the top 10. The Cardinal men remain the eighth-best team in the nation, while the Wildcat men dropped out of the top 25, but are receiving votes.
“Louisville is really good,” Jorgensen said. “Both the women’s and the men’s teams have a lot of talent. It’ll be a great challenge for us Saturday. Hopefully we’ll stand up and compete well.”
Sixteen events headline the dual meet, opening with the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard. The 400 freestyle relay will cap the meet, a crowd favorite. Live results can be accessed through www.sidearmstats.com/ukentucky/swimming/index.htm.
Fans can enjoy free parking in parking structure No. 7 located on the corner of Sports Center Drive and Complex Drive. While availability is limited, free parking can also be found along Complex Drive. Admission in the meet is free. Kentucky swim and dive t-shirts will be given away to spectators Saturday, while supplies last.
In head-turning fashion, the Kentucky women defeated the Cardinals on the road last season. It snapped a nine-year winning drought by the UK women over Louisville.
While the victory will be tough to clone, the UK women bring a strong resume to the field. They possess a 4-2 mark on the season with wins over Arkansas, LSU, Missouri and most recently, Ohio State.
Senior Geena Freriks is coming off a terrific set of swims that led to the victorious finish over Ohio State, Jan. 4-5. The freestyle specialist contributed five individual wins in six events, while also assisting Kentucky’s “A” relay team to two top-three finishes.
Notably, the senior swam in back-to-back races in the quad meet and won both of them, giving Kentucky a competitive edge to start the second day. The straight victories began with the 1000-yard freestyle. She snagged gold by more than three full seconds (9:49.15) and then swam in the next women’s individual event, the 200-yard freestyle, where she took gold again (1:48.44).
In addition to winning gold in the 1000-yard freestyle, Freriks set a career best in the race, maintaining the fourth-best time in program history.
The Kentucky men produced an incredible start to the schedule, forming a 3-1 mark on the season with victories over LSU, Missouri and Notre Dame ahead of the new year. However, a tough quad meet tested the Wildcats to start the year, triggering losses over ranked opponents in Florida and Ohio State. With a 3-3 record in dual meets this season, the UK men will find yet another strong opponent in No. 6 Louisville Saturday.
Peter Wetzlar is having a rewarding junior year in freestyle events and he is a valuable contributor to Kentucky’s relays. A native of Zimbabwe, Wetzlar took gold in the 50-yard freestyle in his last competitive appearance, the quad meet featuring Florida and Ohio State. He touched the pad with a time of 20.18. He also swam an anchor-leg split of 19.65 in the 200-yard medley relay to help Kentucky’s “A” relay team to a silver finish.
While the dual meet is the final home swim meet of the season, the diving squad will return home for their finale on Feb. 1 versus Cincinnati, while the swim portion will take place in Cincinnati.
Senior Seb Masterton sat out most of the season from an ankle injury, but returned in November for the Ohio State Invitational. Remarkably, Masterton finished victoriously at least once in each of the three meets he’s competed in since his return, each gold finish coming on the springboard.
Divers will only compete on the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards Saturday.
The Saturday meet will mark the second-to-last dual meet before the Kentucky swimming and diving program embarks on its postseason run, with the SEC Championship falling Feb. 19-23.
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.