Swimming & Diving

Gaines Defends 200 Free Gold on Night Three of SEC Championships

by Chandler Brandes

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – In a dominating third night of the 2022 Southeastern Conference Championships for the Kentucky swimming and diving team, Riley Gaines successfully defended her title in the 200 free while Lauren Poole and Gillian Davey also registered podium finishes in the 400 IM. 

Gaines earned gold in the women’s 200 free for the second year in a row, winning her signature event by nearly a full second in a blistering 1:42.62, the fourth fastest time in the nation. Not only is that an NCAA automatic qualifying standard, but her time eclipsed her own school record of 1:42.70 set at this meet last year.

“Last year, I won this event and it’s something I’ve been able to visualize this past year. It’s something I’ve thought about, something I’ve worked with,” Gaines said following her record-breaking swim. “My amazing teammates have pushed me so much, as have my coaches. I don’t want to say I was expecting it, it’s not like I just immediately knew I was going to win, but it’s something I’ve worked for and fought for, so I knew what it would take.”

The Wildcats put on a show in the women’s 400 IM to kickstart the evening at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Poole secured silver in 4:03.36 – just shy of her own program record – while achieving an NCAA A cut and posting the fourth fastest time in the country. Davey was right behind her for bronze in 4:05.28, a lifetime best and the second fastest time in school history. 

It was a 2-3-4 finish for Kentucky, as Bailey Bonnett placed fourth behind Poole and Davey with a time of 4:06.37. Anna Havens Rice raced to 18th overall in 4:12.80.

Caitlin Brooks won the B-final of the women’s 100 fly, getting her hands to the wall in 52.03 to move up to No. 3 in the Wildcats’ record book as Izzy Gati touched in 52.69 for 17th. On the boards, Kyndal Knight dove to sixth on the women’s 1-meter springboard with a score of 332.50, marking the eighth top-8 SEC finish of her Wildcat career.

Competing in his first SEC A-final, Zane Rosely raced to seventh in the men’s 400 IM in a final time of 3:46.35. Timothy Ellett, who notched a lifetime best in prelims, clocked in at 3:52.03 in finals for 24th.

After placing 27th in the men’s 200 free a year ago, Max Berg posted the highest SEC finish of his career by taking 10th in 1:33.99. Berg set the school record in the 200 free as the leadoff on the men’s 800 free relay earlier this meet in 1:33.17. Victor Martin Roig (1:35.70) and Jakob Clark (1:36.67) finished 22nd and 24th, respectively, with Martin Roig’s prelims time of 1:35.44 ranking ninth in school history.

The 13th-ranked Wildcat women are in fourth place with 496 points heading into the fourth day of competition, trailing Florida by 24 points. The men have accumulated a score of 322 to sit in eighth, just 22 points behind Missouri. 

Kentucky returns to the pool on Friday, Feb. 18 for the fourth day of the SEC Championships. Tomorrow’s event lineup includes the 200 fly, 100 back, 100 breast, men’s platform and 400 medley relay with prelims starting at 9:30 a.m. ET and finals commencing at 5:30 p.m.

More information, including the schedule, live results and spectator information, can be found on the meet central page here.

Medal Count: 7
Gold: 1
Gaines, 200 free

Silver: 2
Women’s 800 free relay
Poole, women’s 400 IM

Bronze: 4
Knight, women’s 1-meter
Women’s 200 medley relay
Men’s 800 free relay
Davey, women’s 400 IM 

School Record Count: 4
Men’s 800 free relay (6:14.35)
Berg, men’s 200 free (1:33.17)
Wilby, men’s 200 IM (1:43.05)
Gaines, women’s 200 free (1:42.62)

NCAA Automatic Qualifying Standard Count: 5
Women’s 200 medley relay (1:35.87)
Women’s 800 free relay (6:57.60)
Men’s 800 free relay (6:14.35)
Poole, women’s 400 IM (4:03.36)
Gaines, women’s 200 free (1:42.62)

Personal Record Count: 29

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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