Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky women finished strong at SEC Swimming Championships

Kentucky went 1-2 in the 200 backstroke at the 2017 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. Asia Seidt, right, won the gold medal in 1:50.22. Danielle Galyer, left, finished second to take the silver.
Kentucky went 1-2 in the 200 backstroke at the 2017 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. Asia Seidt, right, won the gold medal in 1:50.22. Danielle Galyer, left, finished second to take the silver. UK Athletics

The weekend travels have made me a little late on this, but the Kentucky women’s swim team finished third, matching its highest finish ever, at the SEC Championships completed this weekend in Knoxville.

Here are the highlights:

▪ It was the highest finish by the UK women’s team since 1999.

▪ The UK men finished 10th overall.

▪ Freshman Asa Seidt earned her first gold medal with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:50.22 and Danielle Galyer picked up her second-consecutive silver medal in the race in 1:51.17. Freshman Ali Galyer finished sixth overall in the race and junior Bridgette Alexander turned in the seventh-fastest time. In all, the four added 107 points to the team score in that race alone.

“It was a great day. What a finish,” said head coach Lars Jorgensen. “As far as the team points, we were pretty far behind going into today. The girls really rallied. It was a fantastic finish led by the 200 backstroke. Asia Seidt with the victory, but all four girls making the finals was huge. But it was really just everybody contributing a little bit to our success. Every person here has been awesome, so it’s been a magical week.”

▪ Senior Kendal Casey, who earned a bronze medal in the 500 free on Tuesday, turned in the top time for Kentucky in the women’s 1650 freestyle to finish fourth overall with a personal-best time of 16:11.90. Paige Kelly, Kathryn Painter and Meredith Whisenhunt each added double-digit scores for the women, finishing inside the top 13 overall.

“The 1650 was a critical event for us, led by Kendal Casey,” said Jorgensen. “Wow, she had a great meet. She was awesome, but all the girls scored in the mile and it was a really good effort.”

▪ Senior Kendra Crew finished 11th in the 200 breast final time of 2:10.42. Madison Winstead finished 16th overall, posting 2:13.90 in the B final. Morgan Belli and Annie Davies each competed in the C final, placing 21st and 24th, respectively.

▪ In their final event of the meet, Geena Freriks, Galyer, Galyer and Seidt teamed up to post a school-record time of 3:16.70 in the 400 free relay, the sixth-fastest in the field.

▪ In the 100 free, Geena Freriks qualified for the B final with a time of 49.32 before posting a 49.41 in the evening session to finish 14th overall.

▪ Sophomore Seb Masterton finished fourth in the platform diving final. After posting a score of 401.90 in the prelims, the sophomore scored a career-best 423.05 in the event.

▪ In the men’s 1650 free, junior Isaac Jones set a new school record with his 10th-place time of 14:57.77. He’s the second Wildcat to ever reach the sub-15-minute mark after fellow senior Drew Aviotti accomplished the feat earlier this season. Aviotti was the next-highest finisher in the event, grabbing 12th place overall with a time of 15:03.11. Junior Jack Gunning also scored for UK in the event, going a personal-record time of 15:16.83 to take 22nd.

▪ In the men’s 200 back, Walker Thaning and Josh Swart each posted personal best times to finish 16th and 19th, respectively. Thaning went 1:43.70 in the prelims to become No. 2 on Kentucky’s all-time performance list, while Swart went 1:44.44 in the finals to claim the No. 3 spot on the list.

▪ Freshman Peter Wetzlar posted a personal-record in the men’s 100 free, going 43.33 in prelims and 43.51 in the B final to finish 12th overall. Fellow freshman Wyatt Amdor came in 16th in the 200 breaststroke with a B-cut time of 1:58.31.

▪ In the final event of the night, Wetzlar, Cobe Garcia, Sean Gunn and Shane Anderson teamed up to turn in the 9th-best time in the 400 free relay, finishing in 2:55.18.

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