Kyndal Knight Named SEC Co-Diver of the Year
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After an outstanding senior season on the boards, Kentucky diver Kyndal Knight has been named the Southeastern Conference Female Co-Diver of the Year. It marks the 10th time in program history a Wildcat has earned an annual athlete of the year award from the league and the first time since 2015.
Knight, who was one of just two female divers at the SEC Championships to final on all three boards, claimed bronze on both the 1-meter and platform in addition to taking sixth on the 3-meter. She was the highest female point scorer at the meet after tallying an impressive 78 points in Knoxville, guiding the Kentucky women’s team to a runner-up finish for its second-highest placement and second-most point total ever at the conference meet.
After her successful showing at SECs, Knight punched her ticket to the big dance on all three boards for the third time in her career. She finished 13th on both the 3-meter and platform as well as 16th on the 1-meter at the NCAA Championships to become a three-time All-America Honorable Mention honoree — the first time she achieved the feat in the same meet. She was one of only six divers at NCAAs who finaled on all three disciplines, and the only one from the SEC to do so.
A native of Stanley, North Carolina, she was named the SEC Female Co-Diver of the Week on Oct. 19 and produced nine top-3 finishes during the dual meet season, including seven wins. The team co-captain set a personal best on the 3-meter in Kentucky’s dual meet with Ohio to move up to second all-time in program history. She was also tabbed the SEC Female Freshman Co-Diver of the Year in 2019.
The Kentucky men’s and women’s swimming and diving team was well represented on All-SEC teams, which were also announced by the league Wednesday afternoon. In total, there were two Wildcats on the All-SEC First Team and 11 on the All-SEC Second Team. The first team is composed of the top finisher in each event at the SEC Championships while the second team consists of the second- and third-place finishers.
Gillian Davey, a junior, landed on the All-SEC First Team after capturing the first conference title of her career in the 200 breast and collecting bronze in the 400 IM. Riley Gaines also garnered first team honors for bringing home a pair of gold medals in the 200 free and 200 fly as well as a silver and two bronze in the 800 free relay and 200/400 medley relays, respectively.
Gaines’ performances in all three of her individual races set new program standards, while her time of 1:51.51 in the 200 fly was a meet and conference record and moved her up to the 16th-fastest swim in U.S. history. The senior was also named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becoming the fourth UK woman in the last eight years to win it.
Along with Knight, the Wildcat women who found themselves on the All-SEC Second Team for their impressive performances in Knoxville include Bailey Bonnett, Caitlin Brooks, Izzy Gati, Lauren Poole, Sophie Sorenson and Kaitlynn Wheeler.
On the men’s side, Mason Wilby picked up All-SEC Second Team recognition for the first time in his career after his noteworthy swim in the 200 fly. His bronze-medal performance in 1:40.15 not only obliterated his own school record but marked the first time a UK male swimmer medaled at the conference meet since 2012. Joining Wilby on the second team for earning bronze in the 800 free relay was Max Berg, Jakob Clark and Victor Martin Roig.
The Kentucky swimmers and divers receiving conference awards are as follows:
SEC Co-Diver of the Year: Knight (bronze, 1-meter & platform)
Women’s All-SEC First Team
Davey (gold, 200 breast)
Gaines (gold, 200 fly & 200 free; silver, 800 free relay; bronze, 200 & 400 medley relays)
Women’s All-SEC Second Team
Bonnett (bronze, 200 & 400 medley relays)
Brooks (silver, 200 back; bronze, 100 back, 200 & 400 medley relays)
Gati (silver, 800 free relay; bronze, 200 medley relay)
Knight (bronze, 1-meter & platform)
Poole (silver, 400 IM)
Sorenson (silver, 800 free relay; bronze, 200 back & 400 medley relay)
Wheeler (silver, 800 free relay)
Men’s All-SEC Second Team
Berg (bronze, 800 free relay)
Clark (bronze, 800 free relay)
Roig (bronze, 800 free relay)
Wilby (bronze, 200 fly & 800 free relay )