Arkansas Downs Penn State and Missouri State
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 25 University of Arkansas swimming and diving team upset No. 12 Penn State and defeated Missouri State on Senior Day at the HPER Natatorium, Saturday morning. Arkansas defeated the Nittany Lions, 151.5-146.5, and the Bears, 250-50, to go 2-0 on the day.
“It was a great competition with Penn State and Missouri State,” head coach Sean Schimmel said. “I told the team at the beginning of the meet that every stroke and every dive would count. At the break we were all tied up at 74.5 and we just stayed focused and stayed on task and controlled what we could control and the women were a real championship type team today.”
Arkansas’ win over Penn State was the closest margin of victory for an Arkansas team since the 2007-08 season when the Razorbacks defeated Kansas by a single point (150.5-149.5). With the two wins Arkansas improved to 5-1 on the season, their best start since the 2010-11 season. The Razorbacks finished the day with eight event wins and one, one-two finish.
Arkansas opened up the meet strong with a win in the 200 medley relay to lead both the Nittany Lions and Bears. The relay team of sophomore Shana Lim, sophomore Nikki Daniels, sophomore Susanna White and freshman Nina Drolc recorded the third-best time in school history at 1:41.39. Lim started things off with a 25.59 split for the lead, and Arkansas was able to hold on throughout the race.
The Razorback ‘B’ relay team didn’t disappoint either as they picked up a big third-place finish as the relay team of freshman Anna Mayfield, sophomore Julia Banach, junior Liz Braun and freshman Maddie Monroe recorded a time of 1:44.80.
Arkansas’ Mayfield got off to a strong start in the 200 freestyle. The San Antonio, Texas, native held the lead from the get-go finishing the first leg with just a one-hundredth of a second lead, but she was able to lengthen her lead throughout the race. Mayfield out-touched the Nittany Lions at the wall to take the win for the Razorbacks with a time of 1:49.35. Mayfield’s win lengthened the Razorback lead over PSU to 30-25 and the lead over Missouri State to 47-8.
After PSU went one-three in the 100 backstroke Arkansas needed to spring back into the thick of things against Penn State and it was Daniels who pulled through for the Cardinal and White, clocking a 1:02.68, which was good enough to take first. Sophomore Julia Banach brought home third-place to send the Razorbacks over Penn State (48-45) and Missouri State (78-15).
The Razorback diving core had a tremendous outing on the three-meter board as they went 1-2-3-4, all posting NCAA qualifying scores. Junior diver Kesha Naylor set a pool record as she recorded the second-best score in school history with a score of 355.75. Freshman Hannah Bortnick tallied a score of 315.85 for a personal-best on the three-meter. Shelby Bartlett and Meaghan Clark also tallied personal bests with scores of 293.35 and 291.90 respectively.
In the 50 freestyle White nabbed her second-best time of the season with a 23.25 to take second place in the event. The Razorbacks would follow with two second-place performances in the 100 freestyle and the 200 backstroke as Nina Drolc recorded a 51.39 in the 100 freestyle and Mayfield clocked a 158.40 for second in the 200 backstroke. The Razorbacks finished second to the Nittany Lions in all three events, but topped Missouri State.
Despite trailing Penn State, the Razorbacks were out to show they weren’t going down without a fight as Daniels and Banach put on a show in the 200 breaststroke, finishing a much-needed one-two and eliciting a tremendous applause from the strong Razorback crowd. Daniels maintained a consistent pace throughout the race as she clocked under 35 seconds on every leg and was the only swimmer to do so. She finished with a time of 2:15.26. Banach on the other hand was trailing the Nittany Lions after the third leg and needed a strong close to clinch second-place. Banach clocked a 36.16 on her final 50 yards and out-touched PSU by .22 at the wall for a final time of 2:17.47.
The Arkansas diving core once again shined on the boards as they recorded another 1-2-3-4 finish on the one-meter with Bortnick joining Naylor in qualifying for the NCAA Zone diving championships on the one-meter with a season-best score of 272.50 and second-place. Naylor walked away with the victory after a season-best score of 310.90.
“The women did a great job today and I am really proud of them and their effort showed,” head diving coach Dale Schultz said. “They’ve been training hard.”
The one-two finish was the third for the Razorbacks on the day and was enough to springboard them within seven points of the Nittany Lions, 106.5-99.5. Arkansas held a strong lead over the Bears with a score of 172-35.
On the ensuing event, The Razorbacks would jump back into the lead after the diving wins and a big win in the 500 freestyle by Jordan, who snagged the top-time (4:52.30) to put Arkansas up by two points, 113.5-111.5.
With only seven points separating the Razorbacks and Nittany Lions going into the final two races it was anybody’s meet. Arkansas refused to let the Nittany Lions take the race in the 400 IM as Junior Julia Kucherich gave the Razorbacks some much-needed points with a third-place finish with a time of 4:21.92.
With Kucherich’s third-place finish it was winner-take-all in the final race of the night, the 400 freestyle. Arkansas put on a show as the relay team of Drolc, Mayfield, freshman Maddie Monroe and White bested PSU by nearly three seconds to take the first-place finish and the meet win with a time of 3:21.63. The time was also good for second in school history.
Prior to the meet the swimming and diving team took the time to recognize its four senior swimmers and divers, Chelsea Franklin, Courtney Hubbard, Sigrun Sverrisdottir, Alyssa Tomlinson and team manager Shannon Samluk.
“I’m always impressed when we get to Senior day for all the work that swimmers and divers do academically and in the water and on the boards,” Shcimmel said.
Arkansas will hit the road for their next competition, facing South Carolina and Florida State in a double-dual meet on Friday, Jan. 18 and squaring off against Davidson the following day on Saturday, Jan. 19. Arkansas’ final dual meet of the season will be on Feb. 2 as Arkansas faces Kansas.
For more information regarding Razorback swimming & diving or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
South Carolina Sweeps Duke in Durham
DURHAM, N.C. -- The South Carolina swimming and diving teams got off to a strong start in 2013 as they swept Duke on the road on Saturday at the Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion.
The Gamecock women cruised to a 184-115 victory to improve to 2-4 on the season, and the Carolina men edged the Blue Devils 159-141 to move to 3-3 overall. The victory is the fourth straight over Duke for the Gamecock men and the second straight for the women's team.
On the day South Carolina finished first in 18 of the 32 events and swept the top three places in five events. Senior Brooks Ross and juniors Michael Flach, Matt Navata and Rachael Schaffer led the way with two wins apiece.
"The men's meet was closer than I had hoped, but our women had one of their best meets of the year as far as racing goes," South Carolina head coach McGee Moody said. "I was really proud of the way they performed. On the men's side, Brooks had a really good meet, and Michael swam really well. We had to make some changes early because we had to pull Jay Warner out of the meet with a sickness. They battled really hard and got wins in the last couple of events to come out on top. All in all it was a good day, and I am really proud of them."
Ross swept the men's distance events, winning the 500 freestyle with a mark of 4:36.79 and touching first in the 1,000 freestyle with a time of 9:31.40. Flach, who has now won 10 races on the season, swam to first-place finishes in the 200 freestyle (1:39.56) and the 100 butterfly (49.64) on Saturday. Navata came away with wins in the 200 butterfly (1:53.99) and the 200 IM (1:53.36), while Schaffer won by nearly four seconds in the women's 200 IM (2:04.38) and took first in the 200 freestyle (1:52.02).
The Gamecocks had a stellar day in the distance events as they swept the top three places in three of the four events. Senior Whitney Avers earned her first win of the season by touching first in the 500 freestyle in 5:02.91, and senior Jordan Gibbs picked up her first win of the year by claiming first in the 1,000 freestyle in 10:16.99.
Junior Amanda Rutqvist set a Taishoff Aquatic Pavilion pool record in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:15.30. In her first action of the season, senior Matea Peteh had a strong showing as she won the 100 backstroke in 57.06. Freshman Alicia Cheripka (200 backstroke, 2:04.40) and freshman Casey Papp (100 butterfly, 56.48) also picked up wins for the Carolina women on Saturday.
On the men's side, junior Narayan Naik won the 200 backstroke with a mark of 1:52.14.
The South Carolina relay teams also picked up a pair of wins. The women's 200 medley relay team of Lindsay Pierce, Rutqvist, Papp and Rachel Elliott took first with a time of 1:44.20, which is the team's second fastest time of the season. The men's 400 freestyle relay team of Flach, Michael Covert, Gerard Rodriguez and Alex Fitton also won with a time of 3:03.81.
On the boards, the Gamecocks faced their toughest test of the season in Olympic medal winners Nick McCrory and Abby Johnston. Duke won three of the four events, but sophomore Patricia Kranz prevented the sweep by claiming first on the three-meter springboard with a mark of 332.55. Kranz (302.47) fell 7.36 points shy of knocking off Johnston in the one-meter event, while freshman Lauren Lamendola (269.40) placed fourth. For the Carolina men, senior Rylan Ridenour finished second on the one-meter board with a score of 377.55, which was just 1.95 points behind McCrory. Sophomore Cole Miller was fourth with a score of 308.92. Miller (363.67) and Ridenour (360.15) then finished third and fourth, respectively, on the three-meter board.
"This was the best team we have gone up against this year," South Carolina diving coach Todd Sherritt said. "Two Olympians came close to being defeated by Patty and Rylan. Patty winning the three-meter was important for her. She is establishing herself as one of the top divers in the country. Rylan had a solid performance setting himself up for a great conference meet."
The Gamecocks return to action at home on Friday, Jan. 18 against Arkansas and Florida State. The meet is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. with diving getting underway at 3 p.m. at the Carolina Natatorium.
Tennessee Men Fall While Lady Vols Cruise
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- The Tennessee swimming and diving team split Saturday's dual meet on the road against Virginia Tech in both squads' first swimming competition since November.
The 10th-ranked Lady Vols finished first in 15 of 16 events en route to a 186-108 victory over the Hokies. Sophomore Tristan Slater picked up a pair of victories once again but 17th-ranked Virginia Tech won 10 events in the Vols' close 166.5-133.5 loss at Christiansburg Aquatic Center.
Junior Lindsay Gendron paced the Lady Vols by breaking the pool record in the 1000-yard freestyle and winning the 500 freestyle. She also had the fastest time in the 200 individual medley in exhibition.
"I felt like our women competed and executed really well," Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich said. "It was a very consistent effort all the way through the team. They were very professional in their races. felt like we're making progress. Lindsay had another great day winning the 1000 and 500 freestyles."
The Lady Vols improved to 6-0 in dual meets this season. The Vols dropped to 3-3.
With the championship season just a month away, Kredich said the men's team fell short of expectations Saturday. Despite a few bright spots, the squad needs to learn from the overall performance.
"For the men, it didn't feel like our team was focused on winning the meet, and we need to find out why that was because there's not a lot of time left," Kredich said. "A few swimmers were consistent. Freshman Sean Lehane was consistent in his races, as he's been all year. Ed Walsh had a good performance in the 100 breaststroke. Another freshman, Gustav Aberg Ledjstrom, has been battling injuries all year but won a good race in the 200 freestyle."
Tennessee returns to action Jan. 26 with a dual meet at home against SEC foe Georgia. It will be the final combined men's and women's dual meet this season at Allan Jones Aquatic Center.
Mizzou Picks Up Win Over Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's and women's swimming and diving teams both fell to Missouri in a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire meet. The Crimson Tide men lost 168-132 while the women fell 162-138.
"We took a significant step forward today. It was far and away our most competitive effort of the season" UA head coach Dennis Pursley said. "We saw a glimpse of what our training has suggested we're capable of and that's certainly exciting."
Saturday was also alumni day at the Alabama Aquatic Center with nearly a 100 former Crimson Tide swimmers and divers returning to the Capstone with their families. Among those in attendance was 1983 NCAA 200 Breaststroke champion Glenn Mills as well as Alabama and Olympic coaching legend Don Gambril.
With its past looking on, junior BJ Hornikel and freshman Brian Westlake led the men's team with a pair wins each. Hornikel won the 100 and 200 freestyles while Westlake won the 500 and 1,650 freestyles.
On the women's side of the meet, lone senior Jenna Gallo also won a pair of events, taking first in the 500 and 1,650 freestyles. Rookie Emma Saunders, who joined the Tide for the spring semester just a few days ago, won the 100 and 200 freestyles in her collegiate debut.
"I think Emma is still recovering from jet lag and making the transition to collegiate swimming," Pursley said. "But given the circumstances I think she got off to a good start and certainly helped us hang in the meet and gave us a real shot of winning."
Senior Anestis Arampatzis won the 200 butterfly while junior Vlad Caciuc took first in the 50 freestyle. Sophomore Kaylin Burchell won the women's 200 breaststroke and sophomore Lisa Bogosian won the 3-meter diving event .
"I told the team, we had more highlights today than we've seen all year, but two that stood out to me were Anestis' 200 butterfly and Kaylin's 200 breaststroke," Pursley said. "Both were just a case of mind over matter. Both of them have been out with some injuries and missed significant time in the water, but they just got up and put together two of the toughest swims I've seen in a long time."
The Alabama women opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay. Junior Stephanie Kinsey, Burchell, freshman Justine Panian, and freshman Chandler Ryberg combined to post a time of 1:44.22 for the win. The Tide men closed out the meet with a win in the 200 freestyle relay, with freshman Brett Walsh, Caciuc, senior Reese Shirey and Hornikel combined for a time of 1:22.03.
Alabama closes out the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 11 a.m. in the Alabama Aquatic Center with a tri-meet against South Carolina and Georgia.
UGA Spits With Texas
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia swimming and diving teams split their dual meet against Texas on Saturday at Gabrielsen Natatorium in front of a Senior Day and Alumni Day crowd of 475.
The No. 3 Lady Bulldogs knocked off No. 5 Texas 143-100, while the No. 4 Longhorns held off the 12th-ranked Bulldogs 132-109. The Lady Bulldogs finished the dual meet portion of the season 8-0 and extended their school-record win streak at Gabrielsen Natatorium to 82. The Bulldogs capped the dual meet schedule at 5-2.
"What a meet that was," Georgia coach Jack Bauerle said. "I am so proud of the way our kids competed today. The energy in the building was as good as I've ever seen for a dual meet, and that's because of the level of competition and the way the fans were into it. This was a lot of fun. This is one that we will all remember for awhile. I'm happy that the streak will continue for another year. It's something that we're proud of and something that we never take for granted."
Allison Schmitt took the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:47.16, Shannon Vreeland won the 500 freestyle in 4:48.57 to lead a 1-2-3 finish by the Lady Bulldogs, and Amber McDermott claimed the 1,000 freestyle in 9:47.54. Hali Flickinger won the 200 butterfly as she touched in 1:59.32, while Melanie Margalis led a 1-2-3 finish in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:15.09. Laura Ryan's 350.94 points gave her the title in the 3-meter springboard.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the meet by winning the 400 medley relay. The team of Kelsey Gaid, Margalis, Lauren Harrington and Schmitt stopped the clock in 3:38.13. Georgia concluded the day as Chantal Van Landeghem, Vreeland, Jessica Graber and Megan Romano claimed the 400 freestyle relay in 3:19.45.
On the men's side, Chase Kalisz won three events for the second straight meet. He won the 200 butterfly in 1:47.85, the 400 individual medley in 3:49.83 (triggering a 1-2-3 finish) and the 200 breaststroke in 1:59.29.
Other winners for the Bulldogs included Ty Stewart in the 200 backstroke (1:46.58), Nicolas Fink in the 50 freestyle (20.45) and Jameson Hill in the 200 freestyle (1:38.26).
"We've got a super group of guys," Bauerle said. "Our freshman class is as good as any in the country, and they've changed our team. This was bittersweet because we almost got (Texas) today. We had two close relays and that was the difference. But we're in a much different place than we've been the last few years. This group is tough and talented."
Seniors Gaid, Romano, Schmitt, Martin Grodzki and Brett Roberson were recognized for their athletic and academic achievements before Saturday's meet.
Georgia will return to action Jan. 26 at Tennessee.
Auburn Sweeps First Ever Meet in College Station
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Auburn's swimming & diving team played spoiler for the inaugural SEC dual meet at Texas A&M with a pair of victories over the Aggies Saturday at the Texas A&M Student Rec Center.
The Auburn men claimed a 189-111 victory while the Tiger women won by a 158-141 score. Both Auburn teams remained unbeaten on the year with the women improving to 6-0 (4-0 SEC) and the men moving to 5-0 (4-0 SEC).
"It was kind of unexpected, we didn't know how we would come out of the flight, the travel and the racing from Thursday," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "We focused hard on our performance today, and that kind of tipped us over the edge. It would be very easy to shut off after a big win over Texas, but they didn't do that. It just goes to show how focused our team is right now."
Performances by junior Olivia Scott and the divers proved to be the difference for the Tiger women. Scott won all four of her races, including a crucial victory in the 200 IM to all but clinch the victory. Her time of 2:00.19 was nearly two seconds faster than the second-place finisher from A&M, giving the Tigers a 15-point lead with just the relay to go.
"It came down to Olivia Scott and our women's divers today," Hawke said. "Olivia was clutch. She performed way above my expectations, but that goes to show what a competitor she is. But it was a total team effort. Diving really came through for us, too. That was huge."P
Scott also came up with two other big individual wins, claiming the 200 freestyle in 1:48.51, then coming back just before the second break with a 52.71 to put the Tigers within striking distance. Scott also provided the butterfly leg on the 200 medley relay that opened the meet with a win. The team of Aubrey Peacock, Lauren Norberg, Scott and Hannah Riordan clocked a 1:39.15 to start the meet off on a high note.
Meanwhile, Shanna Schuelein and Cinzia Calabretta each claimed wins for the Auburn divers to provide the points that put the Tigers over the top. Calabretta posted a 284.18 to claim the 3-meter title with Carly Scheper finishing second, and Schuelein and Calabretta went 1-2 in the 1-meter event with Schuelein posting a 281.25, just one point better than Calabretta.
"Overall, our women placed well, but there's still some things we need to work on to improve our scoring potential as we look toward SECs," Auburn diving coach Jeff Shaffer said.
Riordan also put together a huge day for the Tigers, winning all four events she entered. In addition to her opening relay, she claimed the 50 free in 22.81 and the 100 free in 49.38 to remain unbeaten in 2013 in the sprint events. She also led off the 400 free relay in 49.28 as the team of Riordan, Megan Fonteno, Haley Krakoski and Peacock clocked a 3:19.86 to clinch the victory.
Freshman Jillian Vitarius made the most of the return to her home state as the Kingwood, Texas, native won the 100 backstroke in 54.49 for Auburn's other women's victory. Micah Lawrence earned a pair of runner-up finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststroke to NCAA record-holder Breeja Larson.
On the men's side, Auburn won 12 of 14 swimming events to run away from the Aggies. Kyle Owens finished off a perfect 8-for-8 week with wins in all four of his races today. He swam the backstroke leg along with Stuart Ferguson, Arthur Mendes and James Disney-May to claim the 400 medley relay title (3:15.11), then came up big in a pair of events he doesn't often swim. He led a 1-2 Auburn finish in the 200 free with a 1:38.59 (Tommy McKee was second), then showed his sprinting ability with a 44.15 to win the 100 free.
He finished off a perfect day as the team of Disney-May, Marcelo Chierighini, TJ Leon and Owens wrapped up the meet with a win in the 400 free relay in 2:56.64.
"Kyle Owens is just having a lights-out season," Hawke said. "And Stuart Ferguson, he's another one of our captains that's having a great year for us. We've got great leadership up front."
Ferguson also had another big day, winning both breaststroke events in addition to the medley relay. He led a 1-2-3-4 Auburn finish in the 100 breast with a 54.87, Peter Haas was second in 56.95, Chander Gerlach was third (57.45) and Jordan Jones, another Texas native, was fourth (57.69). Ferugson then came back to win the 200 breast in 2:00.38.
Alex Hancock claimed a pair of victories in the 100 fly (52.71) and 200 fly (1:48.97), Disney-May won the 100 back (48.53), and Spencer Kerns earned his initial victory of the season in the 200 IM (1:51.33). Chierighini also earned another victory in the 50 free with a time of 19.83.
Freshman Andrew Laing earned a second-place finish in 3-meter diving with a score of 330.23, and Justin Youtsey took third place with a 311.48. Fraser McKean was runner-up in the 1-meter event with a 353.78, and Laing had a personal-best score of 328.65.
"Andrew led the day for the divers," Shaffer said. "He did a personal-best on 1-meter, and stepped up with a second-place on 3-meter. He's continuing to improve, and that's exciting to watch. Thje rest of the guys did some dives that were good, but just lack some polish and finish."
The Tigers will wrap up the 2012-13 dual meet season on Saturday, Jan. 26, with Senior Day as SEC rival Florida visits the James E. Martin Aquatic Center for a noon meet.