Third-Fastest Time in the Nation, Two Silver Medals and a School Record Headline Opening Night
AUBURN, Ala. – The University of Kentucky men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams crowded the podium on the opening night of the 2020 Southeastern Conference Championships, earning two silvers in the first four events, breaking a school record and earning the third-fastest time in the nation in the women’s 800-yard freestyle relay.
Women’s 800-yard freestyle relay
Earning a silver medal and posting a NCAA automatic qualification time in the women’s 800-yard freestyle relay, senior Ali Galyer, senior Asia Seidt, freshman Beth McNeese and sophomore Riley Gaines touched the wall in 6:56.66. Just three seconds off first place, the time is the third best in the nation and just four tenths of a second from breaking the school record (6:56.23), a time that earned a bronze medal at the 2019 SEC Championships.
Men’s 3-meter diving
Danny Zhang rattled the diving field, winning a silver medal on the men’s 3-meter springboard. The sophomore landed a spot in the 3-meter springboard finals (top eight), earning 395.60 points to finish fourth in the 25-person preliminaries field. It was in finals where he shined, recording an average-round score of 70.35 through six rounds, posting a finals score of 422.10 points and finishing second in the conference.
Breaking a school record that was reset in 2019, a combination of three seniors and one sophomore snapped the men’s 800-yard freestyle relay school record in 6:18.11. Earning fourth place and the sixth-fastest time in the nation, the record-breaking relay was led by senior John Mitchell, followed by senior Jason Head, then sophomore Mason Wilby and anchored by senior Glen Brown.
Kentucky all around had a notable night on the diving boards, claiming a fourth of the spots advancing to finals. Just eight divers move on from preliminaries to finals in the diving competitions, and the men’s and women’s teams each had two divers reach that standard on Tuesday afternoon.
Chase Lane recorded a career best on the 3-meter springboard, earning 389.90 points in preliminaries to become the sixth seed in the finals field. There, the junior recorded 364.20 points and finished sixth. Lane improved his name in the program record book with his career mark, becoming the seventh-best performer on the 3-meter springboard in program history.
Kyndal Knight exceeded expectations on the 1-meter springboard in preliminaries. The sophomore defeated a 32-person preliminaries field, recording a career best on 313.60 points to finish in first place and earn the top seed ahead of finals. There, she recorded 301.25 points to finish sixth overall.
Knight shuffled names in the program record book with her preliminaries score, too, becoming the sixth-best performer on the discipline in program history. She is the only Kentucky female diver that is an all-time, top-10 performer in UK laurels, and she boasts scores in the all-time top 10 on all three disciplines.
Emma Dellmore, who missed the conference championships last year with an injury, reached the finals on the 1-meter springboard too, marking the first time the senior has advanced to finals at the conference championship in her career. The upperclassman recorded 293.90 points in preliminaries and 266.10 points in the final event, finishing eighth overall.
Women’s team results
Men’s team results
The conference championships will resume on Wednesday, Feb. 19, with preliminaries scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET and finals scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to visit meet central for a list of streaming and live scoring options per event.
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.