Women’s Swim and Dive conquers first SEC Championship


Kentucky freshman Caitlin Brooks swims in the women’s 200 yard butterfly during the meet against the University of Cincinnati on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, at the Lancaster Aquatic Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Braden Ramsey

Just a week after receiving its best-ever College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America ranking, No. 3 Kentucky has achieved another milestone: conference champions.

The Wildcats vanquished the rest of the SEC in dominant fashion through six days of competition, notching a historical total to claim their first SEC title. The 1,124 points Kentucky claimed represent the highest in the history of the program.

“This championship means a lot… we’ve been building this over a few year now,” head coach Lars Jorgensen said post-meet. “So many people had terrific effort this weekend. It was really fantastic. I couldn’t be more thrilled for our institution and for our girls.”

The Cats reset five school records and sent twelve to the podium on their way to the top spot. Junior Riley Gaines – a Gallatin, Tennessee native – was responsible for two of the new Kentucky records, both in the freestyle form (100 meter and 200 meter).

Her 100 m. outing – which became her whopping third time setting the school-low in the event in 2021 – ranked sixth overall, while the 200 m. result earned one of Kentucky’s three first place finishes and marks the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season.

Sophomores Lauren Poole and Gillian Davey snagged gold and silver in the 400 m. individual medley for their first career podium placements. Each of their times (Poole – 4:03:90, 2nd; Davey – 4:05:96, 6th) slotted top-six across the NCAA.

Poole’s performance broke the previous school record. Davey, not to be outdone, then marked the new Wildcat-low time in the 200 m. breaststroke (2:05:59), which also netted her a second-place spot.

The complete list of podium placements – with dictations for new school records and automatic NCAA Championship qualifications – and team totals can be found below:

($ indicates new school record; @ indicates automatic NCAA Championship qualification).


Lauren Poole: 400-meter Individual Medley (IM) – 4:03:90 > $

Riley Gaines: 200-meter freestyle – 1:42:70 > $,@

Izzy Gati, Riley Gaines, Kaitlynn Wheeler, Sophie Sorenson: 800-meter freestyle relay* – 6:58:58 > @

*Kentucky’s first-ever gold in a relay event; quickest time in the nation.


Gillian Davey: 200-meter breaststroke – 2:05:59 > $,@

Gillian Davey: 400-meter Individual Medley (IM) – 4:05:96

Sophie Sorenson: 200-meter backstrokes – 1:50:94


Izzy Gati: 100-meter butterfly – 51:74

Caitlin Brooks: 100-meter backstroke – 51:63

Caitlin Brooks: 200-meter backstroke – 1:51:96

Kyndal Knight: Platform Dive – 275.65

Caitlin Brooks (Backstroke), Bailey Bonnett (Breaststroke), Izzy Gati (Butterfly), Riley Gaines (Freestyle): 200-m. medley relay – 1:35:87 > $,@

Caitlin Brooks (Backstroke), Bailey Bonnett (Breaststroke), Izzy Gati (Butterfly), Riley Gaines (Freestyle): 400-m. medley relay – 3:30:44 > @


  1. Kentucky – 1,124
  2. Florida – 1,071
  3. Georgia – 999
  4. Alabama – 973
  5. Tennessee – 934
  6. Texas A&M – 839
  7. Missouri – 614.5
  8. Arkansas – 595
  9. Auburn – 510
  10. LSU – 390.5
  11. South Carolina – 276
  12. Vanderbilt – 154


The title was the first of the school year for any Kentucky Athletics team, and garnered praise or recognition from a number of Big Blue’s most notable faces:

Barnhart’s reaction to the championship was particularly notable. In elation, he leapt into the pool with the team sporting his entire outfit. Minus two exceptions, which were called out by Coach Cal.

The diving portion of the men’s conference tournament was completed alongside the women’s diving from Feb. 17-20 in Columbia, Missouri. Men’s swimming will round things out Feb. 23-26, also in Columbia.