Swimming & Diving

Davey Wins 200 Breast, Three Other Wildcats Medal on Final Night of SEC Championships

by Chandler Brandes

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Highlighted by Gillian Davey winning the women’s 200 breast and three other Wildcats collecting medals on the fifth and final night of competition, the Kentucky men’s and women’s swimming and diving team concluded a successful 2022 Southeastern Conference Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Competing at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center, the 13th-ranked women’s team concluded the meet as the team runner-up with 1043 points, their second-highest finish and second-most point total ever at the SEC Championships. Tennessee swam away with the team title with a score of 1313.5 and the Wildcats had a six-point advantage over Alabama (1038).

The Kentucky men finished eighth with 600 points. Florida (1414) was the team champion while Tennessee and Alabama tied for second with 938 points. In total, the Wildcats earned 14 medals, achieved nine NCAA automatic qualifying standards, broke 10 school records and set 66 personal best times throughout the five-day meet. 

“I am beyond proud of the fight and determination this team showed all week,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “We had several program firsts, set records and personal best times, and produced many podium finishes throughout the meet. Overall, I am really fortunate to coach such a great group of women and men.”

After finishing second in the women’s 200 breast a season ago, Gillian Davey found herself on top of the podium this year with the first gold medal of her career. Her time of 2:06.21 — the fourth fastest in the country — was .06 ahead of defending champion Zoie Hartman of Georgia and fast enough for an NCAA A standard. 

Two Wildcats in Caitlin Brooks and Sophie Sorenson earned podium finishes in the women’s 200 back for the second year in a row. Brooks secured silver in a lifetime best of 1:50.73 to move up to No. 4 all-time in school history while Sorenson soared to bronze in 1:52.22.

Knight earned her second bronze medal of the week after diving to third on the women’s platform with a score of 289.95. Her performance marked the ninth top-8 finish of her career at the conference meet, and the senior was one of just two female divers to final on all three boards in Knoxville.

Riley Gaines, who won the 200 free and 200 fly earlier, capped off her successful meet with a fourth-place finish in the women’s 100 free. Her time of 47.88 was also her third school record of the week as she broke her own mark of 48.21 set in 2021.

Also breaking a school record on the last night of competition was Kyle Barker in the men’s 200 breast. He placed 10th for the highest championship finish of his career and his time of 1:54.84 broke Austin Haney’s mark of 1:55.52 set in 2019.
 
In UK’s typical backstroke dominance, Parker Herren competed in the A-final of the women’s 200 back alongside Brooks and Sorenson. She finished seventh for the second year in a row in 1:54.58 after notching a PR of 1:53.96 in prelims. Winning the C-final was Torie Buerger in a massive best time of 1:54.97 for the ninth-fastest time in school history with Jodi Ogle right behind in 1:55.10 for 18th.

In his third record-breaking swim of the meet, Mason Wilby set a new school standard in the men’s 200 back during prelims. His time of 1:41.90 crushed the old mark of 1:42.99 set by Joey Faltraco back in 2003, which was the oldest record still standing in UK history. The senior finished 15th overall in finals in 1:44.26.

Jackson Mussler also earned a second swim in the men’s 200 back, placing 23rd in 1:44.94 at finals. His time of 1:43.93 during prelims was a best time by over a second and shot him up to No. 5 all-time in program history.

In the final SEC race of her career, fifth-year Bailey Bonnett placed fourth in the women’s 200 breast in 2:07.96 while Lauren Poole won the B-final in 2:08.59 for ninth overall. Olivia Mendenhall (2:11.29) and Bridget Engel (2:12.02) placed 13th and 17th, respectively, to move up to eighth and ninth in program history.  

Swimming in the early heats of the women’s mile, Megan Drumm’s time of 16:11.14 was fast enough to place fifth overall. That marked a personal record by 23 seconds and the sixth-fastest time in program history, while her 1000 split of 9:47.26 now ranks fifth all-time.

Nick Caruso was UK’s top finisher in the men’s mile with a time of 15:00.40, a best time by 22 seconds to now sit at No. 3 in the record book. His 1000 split of 9:04.42 was also a PR by seven seconds to rank sixth in school history.

Three other Wildcats who scored in the women’s 1650 free included Beth McNeese (17th, 16:21.93), Kaylee Williams (22nd, 16:31.72) and Kelly Rodriguez (16:32.41), the latter who earned a personal best. Jakob Clark also posted a best time in 15:04.55 to finish 11th in the men’s 1650 free as Zane Rosely and Adam Rosipal finished in 15:06.51 and 15:15.08, respectively, to place 14th and 21st.

Max Berg, who finished 21st in the men’s 100 free a season ago, raced to 14th in the event this year in 43.13. He also led off the 400 free relay in 42.66 for the second-fastest time in school history, joining Wilby (43.37), Victor Martin Roig (43.36) and Clark (43.75) to place eighth in a combined time of 2:53.13. 

The women’s 400 free relay of Izzy Gati (48.94), Sorenson (48.74), Kaitlynn Wheeler (49.44) and Bonnett (49.41) finished ninth in 3:16.53.

Medal Count: 15
Gold: 3
Gaines, women’s 200 free
Gaines, women’s 200 fly
Davey, women’s 200 breast

Silver: 3
Women’s 800 free relay
Poole, women’s 400 IM
Brooks, women’s 200 back 

Bronze: 9
Knight, women’s 1-meter
Women’s 200 medley relay
Men’s 800 free relay
Davey, women’s 400 IM 
Wilby, men’s 200 fly
Brooks, women’s 100 back
Women’s 400 medley relay
Sorenson, women’s 200 back
Knight, women’s platform 

School Record Count: 10
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)
Gaines, women’s 200 fly (1:51.51)
Wilby, men’s 200 fly (1:40.15)
Bonnett, women’s 100 breast (59.11)
Wilby, men’s 200 back (1:41.90)
Gaines, women’s 100 free (47.88)
Barker, men’s 200 breast (1:54.84)

Southeastern Conference Record Count: 1
Gaines, women’s 200 fly (1:51.51)

SEC Meet Record Count: 1
Gaines, women’s 200 fly (1:51.51)

NCAA Automatic Qualifying Standard Count: 9
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)
Gaines, women’s 200 fly (1:51.51)
Wilby, men’s 200 fly (1:40.15)
Women’s 400 medley relay (3:29.74)
Davey, women’s 200 breast (2:06.21)

Personal Record Count: 66

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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