Knight Crowned SEC Champion on 3-Meter Springboard, Earning 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Cut
AUBURN, Ala. – Earning a 2020 U.S. Olympic trials cut, career high and gold medal, Kentucky’s Kyndal Knight is the Southeastern Conference Diving Champion on the 3-meter springboard. Meanwhile, the University of Kentucky men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams also collected a bronze medal and broke two more school records on the third night of the 2020 SEC Championships.
Women’s 3-meter springboard
Knight recorded the second-best score in program history on the 3-meter springboard (353.75) Thursday night, winning Kentucky’s first gold medal in a diving event since 2007. The sophomore outscored second place by more than seven points, and she improved her career high by more than nine points.
Knight, the reigning SEC Co-Female Freshman Diver of the Year, has improved on this discipline all year, resetting her career best on the 3-meter springboard three times this season. She has recorded a remarkable 10 first-place finishes on the springboard in dual meets this season, including sweeping the springboard events at three meets in 2019-20.
The Stanley, North Carolina, native didn’t reach finals (top eight) on the 3m board at the 2019 SEC Championships, posting a 286.90 in preliminaries, proving her great improvement just one year later.
“I am so proud of Kyndal, and I am so excited for her,” said head diving coach Ted Hautau. “It was awesome for our diving program. These guys have worked so hard and she deserves it. She has put a lot of time in. She is super talented, and she works really hard, and boy does she compete. She got her Olympic trials cut, which was huge. I know that was in the back of her mind. So, we’re just thankful, and we’re thankful for our team and all of the support staff.”
Women’s 400-yard individual medley
Bailey Bonnett won a bronze medal in the 400-yard individual medley Friday evening, earning her first podium finish at the 2020 SEC Conference Championships. Her career day began in preliminaries this morning, where the junior placed third in a field of 38 swimmers, touching the wall in a school-record time of 4:06.36.
Using her seed time as momentum, Bonnett eclipsed the 4:06:00 mark in finals to touch the wall in 4:05.63 to earn a bronze medal. Bonnett, a team captain, owns the school record in the event by over one full second. She now holds two individual school records (400-yard individual medley, 200-yard breaststroke) and one relay school record (400-yard medley relay).
Men’s 100-yard free
John Mitchell reset the school record in the 100-yard butterfly twice on Thursday, once in the preliminaries and again in finals. In preliminaries, the senior recorded a school-record time of 46.63 to place 14th. He rallied back in the finals event to reset his school record with a time of 46.41 to finish 11th overall in the conference.
Before Mitchell’s performance on Thursday, his previous best in the event was 47.43.
Rattle the Record Book
Nineteen swimmers and divers set personal records that also rank as all-time, top-10 performances in school history, in their respected events – Kyle Barker, Connor Blandford, Bailey Bonnett, Caitlin Brooks, Glen Brown, Jakob Clark, Gillian Davey, Timmy Ellet, Riley Gaines, Izzy Gati, Jason Head, Kyndal Knight, John Mitchell, Daniel Orcutt, Lauren Poole, Nick Smith, Trinity Ward, Kaitlynn Wheeler and Mason WIlby.
Medal Count: 6
School Record Count: 6
Men’s 800-yard free relay (6:18.11)
Women’s 200-yard free, Ali Galyer (1:43.99)
Men’s 200-yard individual medley, Glen Brown (1:43.47)
Men’s 50-yard freestyle, Peter Wetzlar (19.27)
Men’s 100-yard butterfly, John Mitchell (46.41)
Women’s 400-yard individual medley, Bailey Bonnett (4:05.62)
Women’s team results
Men’s team results
The conference championships will resume on Friday, Feb. 21, 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.