No. 14 Kentucky Swimming and Diving Sweeps Cincinnati on Senior Day
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s and women’s swimming and diving team sent its seniors out in style on Senior Day by sweeping Cincinnati at the Lancaster Aquatic Center on Friday. The 14th-ranked women defeated the Bearcats, 250-48, while the UK men bested Cincinnati in a 201-98 decision.
Prior to the start of the meet, the Wildcats honored their 13 seniors in Kyle Barker, Daniel Blake, Riley Gaines, Izzy Gati, Parker Herren, Kyndal Knight, Kelly Rodriguez, Adam Rosipal, Sophie Sorenson, Caroline Szydlowski, Mason Wilby, and Danny Zhang as well as student manager Trent Lakes as part of the senior day ceremony.
The 400 medley relay squad of Sorenson (54.44), Bailey Bonnett (59.87), Trinity Ward (56.15), and Megan Hartlieb (51.88) won in 3:42.34 to begin the meet. The all-senior quartet of Gati (24.21), Gaines (22.82), Rodriguez (23.51), and Sorenson (23.22) also combined to win the 200 free relay in 1:33.76.
Sorenson, who was named the Southeastern Conference Female Swimmer of the Week on Jan. 25, won the 50 free in 23.86. She also took second in the 200 free (1:50.62) behind Gati’s winning time of 1:49.50. Gati was the runner-up in the 100 free (51.60) as fellow senior Rodriguez won in 51.50.
Megan Drumm dominated the distance freestyle events, winning the 500 free (4:56.42) and 1000 free (10:02.35). Bridget Engel got her hands to the wall first in the 100 breast (1:02.59) and 200 breast (2:15.93) to finish just ahead of Olivia Mendenhall (1:02.65, 2:17.11) in both races.
Gaines added yet another pair of dual meet victories to her resume, winning the 100 fly (53.96) and 200 fly (1:57.90). Bonnett also cracked the two-minute marker in the 200 fly in 1:59.82 for second before going on to win the 400 IM in 4:14.35. Torie Buerger (100 back, 56.19) and Herren (200 back, 2:00.83) were also individual event winners.
On the boards, Knight dove to first place on both the 1-meter (293.93) and 3-meter (328.80) for her third sweep of both boards this season. Abby Devereaux (287.40, 269.63) placed second and third, respectively, as Morgan Southall (280.43, 316.13) took third and second.
For the men, Zhang also swept the diving events for the third time this year, posting top scores of 384.98 on the 1-meter and 419.18 on the 3-meter. Sam Duncan (349.05, 351.53) finished second and third behind Zhang on those boards while Rodrigo Romero (321.75, 366.45) took third and second, respectively.
Zhang’s impressive score on the 1-meter was a new lifetime best and moved him up to No. 3 all-time in the record book.
Leading the Wildcats in the distance races was Nick Caruso who took the top spot in both the 500 free (4:28.55) and 1000 free (9:11.95). Max Berg was another double-event winner for the UK men after claiming the 100 free (44.31) and 200 free (1:36.59), and Wilby also registered first-place finishes in the 50 free (20.45) and 100 fly (48.56).
Other individual event winners for Kentucky in its last home meet of the season included Barker in the 200 fly (1:48.00), Henry Miller in the 200 breast (2:02.01), and Zane Rosley in the 400 IM (3:58.44).
Barker (49.72), Miller (55.70), Wilby (47.13), and Max Berg (43.61) combined to win the 400 medley relay in 3:16.16. Berg (20.43), Barker (20.65), Victor Martin Roig (20.63), and Mac Russell (20.24) concluded the meet by winning the 200 free relay in 1:21.95.
With today’s contest marking the final dual meet of the year, the Wildcats now turn their focus toward championship season. Select swimmers will compete at the Ohio State First Chance Meet on Feb. 11-13 in Columbus, Ohio, before the SEC Championships on Feb. 15-19 in Knoxville, Tennessee.