Men's Swimming & Diving
Levi Sandidge Wins Bronze to Close Out SEC Championships

Levi Sandidge Wins Bronze to Close Out SEC Championships

by Aliyah McDaniel

AUBURN, Ala. – For the second year in a row, sophomore Levi Sandidge took to the podium in the Men’s 1650 freestyle, swimming a blistering 14:44.24 to earn a third-place finish and a bronze medal during the final day of the 2024 Southeastern Conference Championships at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center on Saturday.

The women’s final score of 446 gave the wildcats ninth place overall, led by captain Bridget Engel’s 40-point contribution. Sandidge’s podium appearance was worth 27 points, which combined with Ryan Merani’s 47-point contribution over the week to bring the men’s teams final score to 433, placing them in the 10th position overall. 

Freshman Carson Hick also saw success on Saturday, placing fifth in the 1650 freestyle with a clip of 14:47.84, a new personal best. His performance in the race was the second fastest time in program history. His 1000 split was also good for a top-10 program time, as he remains in the third spot on the list, with a new time of 8:57.52. Also swimming in the preliminary round of this event were Sean Mackey (15:36.21) and Josh Fujimoto (15.36.22), both of which set personal records as well. The women’s session also saw a top-24 finish courtesy of Megan Drumm. Her 16:21.08 swim qualified as a NCAA B-cut and earned 16 points towards the women’s total. 

In the first event of the day, the 200 yard backstroke, Grace Frericks (1:52.97), Torie Buerger (1:54.96) and Libby Grether (1:55.89) swam times that sent them each to the night session. Grether’s swim added to the list of personal best times for the day. Grether and Buerger’s top-24 times added 15 points, and Frericks’ seventh-place finish in the championship final gave the women’s team 23 more points. On the men’s side, Jackson Mussler (1:43.95), Logan Ingerick (1:45.59) and Jack Hamilton (1:43.97) all set NCAA B-standard qualifying times. Hamilton’s swim added him once again to the top-10 record book at Kentucky, where he now holds the position as the sixth-fastest swimmer in the event. 

In the 100 freestyle preliminaries, Max Berg placed 12th to move on to the consolation final. Drew Johnson swam a 44.68 race, alongside Victor Martin Roig’s 43.51 mark, which set new personal bests for each of them. Roig’s finish in the event makes him the 10th fastest swimmer in UK history. In the B-final, Berg once again finished 12th, and tallied 15 additional points to the men’s total. 

The 200 breaststroke saw success on both sides, with the women sending three representatives to the night session. Engel placed 11th in the preliminary round and 10th in the consolation final with a time of 2:10.24. Olivia Mendenhall and Denise Phelan both finished in the top-24 of the final event, adding six points. JT Broome’s 1:58.97 mark in the men’s event set a personal record. 

In the final dive event of the week, women’s platform, Kentucky sent both Abby Devereaux, who placed ninth in the preliminary round, and Claire McDaniels, who placed 12th, to the B-final. Devereaux placed 13th with a final score of 215.30 and McDaniels placed 15th with her 206.05 finish. They added 26 points to the women’s final score. 

The final day saw three new NCAA B-standards, and nine new personal records, bringing the totals for the week to 13 and 44, respectively. Kentucky also finished the Championships with 15 new top-10 times. 

Next up, the Kentucky Wildcats will send representatives to the last chance meet at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 1st and 2nd, before participating in NCAA Diving Zones and the NCAA Championships later that month.

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 100 Freestyle:
No. 10 – Victor Martin Roig – 43.51 

Men’s 200 Backstroke:
No. 6 – Jack Hamilton- 1:43.97

Men’s 1650 Freestyle:
No. 2 – Carson Hick- 14:47.84

New NCAA B-Standard Times:

Women’s 1650 Freestyle:
Megan Drumm -16:21.08

Men’s 200 Backstroke :
Jackson Mussler -1:43.95
Jack Hamilton – 1:43.97  

Personal Best Count: 44

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