Men's Swimming & Diving
Knight, Wilby Climb Podium on Friday Night at SEC Championships

Knight, Wilby Climb Podium on Friday Night at SEC Championships

by Greg Welsh

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Fifth-years Kyndal Knight and Mason Wilby starred on night four of the 2023 SEC Championships, adding to their medal collections during a prolific session for Kentucky at the Rec Center Natatorium on Friday.

With just one day of competition remaining, the Wildcat women remain in third place with a score of 698, while the men are eighth with 369 points.

A total of 17 Cats reached Friday’s finals, including three “A-Finalists” in Mason Wilby, Izzy Gati and Kyndal Knight. In the very first race of the night session, Lauren Poole got Kentucky off to a strong start with a victory in the women’s 200 fly “C-Final”. The senior’s time of 1:57.12 was a personal best and puts Poole tenth in program history. The Wildcats continued the momentum in the “B-Final” as juniors Anna Havens Rice and Kristyn Sabol went one-two. Rice touched the wall in 1:56.12, while Sabol registered a new personal best at 1:56.42, moving into eighth all-time.

In the men’s 200 fly, freshman Ryan Merani clocked another PR to take second in the “B-Final” at 1:42.91, before Wilby won bronze for the second-straight year, finishing in 1:41.59. Wilby becomes the first Wildcat on the men’s side to earn a medal this week.

The UK women piled up the points in the 100 backstroke as Caitlin Brooks (51.90), Lydia Hanlon (52.29) and Paige Taber (52.48) placed one-two-three in the “B-Final”, combining for 53 points.

Freshman Denise Phelan led the way for the Cats in the 100 breaststroke, recording a second-place finish in the “B-Final” with a personal best of 59.46. The swim moves the Commack, N.Y. native into third on the all-time top 10. Junior Bridget Engel also broke the one-minute mark for the first time to place 15th in the event overall.

In women’s platform diving, Kyndal Knight led a quartet of Wildcats in the morning prelims, posting a personal best score of 334.15 to capture the top qualifying spot. Abby Devereaux followed in 11th, while Claire McDaniels and Morgan Southall were 14th and 20th, respectively. Knight would go on to win silver in the night session, collecting the fifth SEC medal of her career. The fifth-year has now won at least one medal at SECs in four consecutive seasons.

The 400 MR, the night’s final event, saw the women’s A-relay finish tied for fifth at 3:31.74 with Caitlin Brooks (52.07) Denise Phelan (59.02), Lauren Poole (52.50) and Kaitlynn Wheeler (48.15) combining on the effort. In the men’s relay, Max Berg led off with a school record split in the 100 backstroke of 46.22, the second program record the junior has set this week on a relay leadoff. He was followed by Henry Miller (53.69), Wilby (46.19) and Victor Martin Roig (42.91).

The 2023 SEC Championships conclude tomorrow with the 1650 freestyle, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, men’s platform diving and the 400 freestyle relay.

Medal Count: 4

Bronze (2)

  • Lauren Poole, Women’s 200 IM (1:55.12)
  • Mason Wilby, Men’s 200 Fly (1:41.59)

Silver (2)

  • Lauren Poole, Women’s 400 IM (4:04.62)
  • Kyndal Knight, Women’s Platform (285.45)

UK School Record Count: 3

  • Max Berg, Men’s 200 Free (1:32.67)
  • Ryan Merani, Men’s 400 IM (3:42.19)
  • Max Berg, Men’s 100 Backstroke (46.22)

Personal Best Count: 59

For the latest on UK Swim & Dive, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSwimDive, and on Facebook at Kentucky Swimming and Diving.

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