Men's Swimming & Diving
Wildcats Close Day Five of SEC Championships

Wildcats Close Day Five of SEC Championships

by Aliyah McDaniel

AUBURN, Ala.- Seven new personal bests, four top-10 program times and three new NCAA B-cut swims closed out the fifth day of competition at the 2024 Southeastern Conference Championships at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center on the Campus of Auburn University.

Kentucky’s fifth day of competition began with the 200 butterfly, where Anna Havens Rice swam a 1:57.73 to move on to the consolation final. The senior placed 11th in the B-final and earned the women’s team 16 points. The men’s session saw three new personal bests, courtesy of Ryan Merani (1:42.15), Zane Rosely (1:44.65) and freshman Aaron Gasiewicz (1:46.02). Jackson Mussler (1:44.96), Merani and Rosely all swam B-standard times, with Rosely and Mussler doing so for the first time this season. Merani’s fourth place finish in prelims earned him a spot in the championship final of the event, the first one on the men’s side so far this week. In the finals race, Merani once again posted a new personal record with a time of 1:42.10, adding 25 points to the men’s team score. The sophomore’s fifth-place finish was the highest of the championship for the Wildcats thus far.

In the 100 backstroke, Senior Torie Buerger swam a 52.84 to advance to the B-final, while sophomore Grace Frericks’ 53.54 clip earned her a C-Final appearance. Buerger finished 15th in the night session, while Frericks took the 22nd spot, combining for 15 total points for the UK women. The men’s 100 backstroke brought personal success for both Bradley Boyd, who swam a 49.55, and Jack Hamilton, whose new best performance was set at 47.78. Hamilton’s time falls in the top-10 times in school history, coming in as the ninth fastest swimmer in the event at UK.

Bridget Engel (59.93), Denise Phelan (1:01.16) and Olivia Mendenhall (1:01.39) all swam top-24 and B-cut times in the 100 breaststroke, with Mendenhall achieving the standard for the first time this season. Phelan and Mendenhall both advanced to the C-final. Engel’s swim was a new personal best, a mark she would go on to top in the night session, when the senior won the B-final with a time of 59.39, giving her sole possession of the fourth-position on the UK all-time top 10 list. The breaststroke trio added 25 points to the team total score. In the men’s event, both Lance Johnson and JT Broome placed in the top-24 of the race, with times of 54.11 and 54.23 respectively. Broome tied the 10th fastest time in school history, a feat he has achieved in two events in as many days. The pair combined to score four points toward the men’s team total.

In the final event of the night, Buerger, Bridget, Rice, and Frericks swam for a time of 3:35.05, earning them a ninth-place finish in the 400 medley relay. Their race result added 40 points to give the women a 307 point total, and ninth-place overall at day’s end. The quartet of Hamilton, Broome, Carter Ruthven and Drew Johnson finished the night for the Cats by placing tenth in the men’s relay, with their time of 3:12.86. This result added an additional 34 points, bringing the men’s total to 319 points, good for tenth-place overall. In the lead-off leg, Hamilton swam a 47.57, topping his personal best record set in the prelims, and moving the junior to seventh in the event in Kentucky school history.

The final day of competition begins with the preliminary rounds for the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, and 200 breaststroke at 9:30 a.m. (C.T).The women’s platform prelims are set to start at 11:30 a.m. (C.T.), with the B-final to commence at 1:40 p.m. (C.T.). 1650 heats will begin at 2:30, and the finals from all morning events will get under way at 5:30 p.m. (C.T.), ending with the 400 free relay. All sessions can be live streamed on SECN+, and live stats can be found here
For the latest on UK Swim & Dive, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSwimDive, and on Facebook at Kentucky Swimming and Diving.

Top-10 Times:
Men’s 200 Butterfly:
No. 7 – Zane Rosely – 1:44.34
Men’s 100 Backstroke:
No. 7 – Jack Hamilton- 47.57
Men’s 100 Breaststroke:
No. 10 – JT Broome – 54.23
Women’s 200 Breaststroke:
No. 4 – Bridget Engel – 59.39

New NCAA B-Standard Times:

Women’s 100 Breaststroke:
Olivia Mendenhall- 1:01.39
Men’s 200 Butterfly:
Zane Rosely – 1:44.34
Jackson Mussler -1:44.96

Personal Best Count: 35

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