Former University of Kentucky swimmer Christina Bechtel is making her USA Swimming National Team debut at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea. It is the first international competition of Bechtel's career.
Bechtel was the 2015 Southeastern Conference champion in the 200-yard butterfly, and she notched a runner-up finish in that event at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
The five-time All-American will participate in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly at the World University Games.
Her personal bests are 26.72 seconds in the 50 and 59.05 in the 100. Both of those times came at the 2014 USA Swimming National Championships, where Bechtel finished fifth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 50 to earn a spot on Team USA.
"One thing that I'm really looking forward to is gaining experience," Bechtel said in a release by UK Athletics. "This is my first international meet and it's really far away. They simulate a lot of Olympic trials, so I think it would be good to have the experience in a big pool with a huge crowd. It's just a different atmosphere than what I'm used to, different than the NCAA or the SEC championships."
She'll get started with the preliminaries and the semifinals of the 50 butterfly are on Saturday.
"I'm really excited," she said of competing in South Korea. "It's something that's always been a goal of mine. I qualified last summer so I've always been thinking about it throughout the school year while I've been getting ready, and it's pretty exciting that it's right around the corner. I'm excited to finally get to compete, and it being over the Fourth of July, I always thought that was cool to be somewhere representing our country at that time."