Swimming & Diving

Caruso, Zhang Earn Southeastern Conference Weekly Honors

by Chandler Brandes

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky swimming and diving program has picked up Southeastern Conference weekly honors for the third straight week, as Nick Caruso was named the league’s Male Co-Freshman of the Week and Danny Zhang was tabbed the Male Diver of the Week.

This marks the fifth weekly accolade for the Wildcats and the first of such honors for the men’s team this season. It’s also the second time in program history a Kentucky swimmer and/or diver has been recognized for three consecutive weeks, the last being in 2000.

Caruso impressed in UK’s 201-98 victory against Cincinnati on Jan. 28. The freshman raced to first place in the 500 free (4:28.55) and 1000 free (9:11.95), leading a Wildcat sweep in the latter event. He also won by impressive margins, topping the competition by 5.71 seconds in the 500 free and 11.81 seconds in the 1000 free.

His time of 9:11.95 in the longer of the two distances also set a new personal record by over three seconds as he became the 10th-fastest performer in school history.      

A native of Gainesville, Florida, Caruso has set lifetime bests in three other events during his first few months in Lexington, doing so in the 200 free (1:37.23) and 500 free (4:22.53) at the Ohio State Invitational. Most recently, he posted a personal best of 15:22.27 in the mile at Louisville. 

Caruso is the first male freshman to earn this weekly SEC award since Brandon Flynn in 2013. He shares the honor this week with 2020 Olympian Matt Sates of Georgia. 

Like Caruso, Zhang was also a double-event in the Senior Day win versus Cincinnati. He led a Kentucky sweep on both the 1-meter and 3-meter, posting respective scores of 384.98 and 419.18 to best the field by a combined 88.66 points.

His impressive showing of 384.98 on the 1-meter broke his previous personal record of 373.00 set at the 2020 SEC Championships in addition to moving him up to No. 3 all-time in UK history. 

The Cypess, California native’s pair of victories against the Bearcats marked his third sweep of both boards this season, also having completed the feat in dual meets with Louisville and Tennessee. It was his seventh win of the year as he also finished ahead of 2020 U.S. Olympian Andrew Capobianco to win the 3-meter in the season opener at Indiana. 

This is Zhang’s third SEC Male Diver of the Week award of his career after earning the recognition twice in 2020. The senior has also earned All-SEC First Team and All-America honors during his time at Kentucky. 

Other Wildcats who have been recognized by the conference this season include Kyndal Knight (Female Co-Diver, Oct. 19), Riley Gaines (Female Co-Swimmer, Jan. 18) and Sophie Sorenson (Female Swimmer, Jan. 25).

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.
 

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