Cats excel at SEC S&D championship


Swimming and Diving on Friday, September 30, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Hunter Mitchell | Staff

Chase Campbell

The UK Women’s swimming and diving team took Nashville by storm this week, on a five-day tear that started Tuesday. The team matched its best ever finish in the SEC Championship – third place, which had only been accomplished once before in 1999. 

The week was headlined by the amazing performances of freshman Asia Seidt, a Louisville, Kentucky native. She scored in every race she competed in and was responsible for 295 of the team’s 938 points. Her worst performance was a fifth place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. But she also took third in the 100-yard backstroke and first in the 200-yard backstroke.

“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,” head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “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.”

Seidt wasn’t the only star of the week, however, as several teammates had huge days at exactly the right time. One of those teammates was Geena Freriks in the 200-yard freestyle, in which she broke her own school record of 1:44.98 with the time of 1:44.51 that she set in the gold medal performance, making her the first Cat since Kelly Heath in 1995 to win that race at the SEC Championships.

“I couldn’t be more proud of (Freriks),” said Jorgensen. “She’s deserving of a championship and she’s a championship swimmer.”

Team performance was huge going into the last few days of the championships. At the end of a somewhat shaky day two, the women were in sixth, and the men were in tenth. While the men were in their position for the rest of the week, the women went on a tear for the last three days, getting to fourth place by day four, and finishing in third. 

The men weren’t nearly as explosive as their female teammates, but there were some very bright spots in the Cats’ tenth-place finish. They took strong finishes in a couple events, namely, the relays. They had a 6th place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay, beating out Tennessee and Texas A&M in that race.

Junior Isaac Jones set a new school record in the 1650-yard freestyle, with a time of 14:57.77, becoming the second Cat to breach the 15-minute mark. Both occasions where that happened were this season, so the men weren’t at all devoid of quality performances.

The Cats’ season isn’t quite over yet. They’re looking to continue to push qualifications for the NCAA championships this year. They’ll be competing in the Ohio State Last Chance meet, as well as the Zone C diving meet in early March. If they perform like they did in the conference championships, they should have plenty of representatives in the NCAA tournament.