UK swimming takes 2 of 3 at quad meet


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

By Chris Leach

When trying to complete a big task, such as beating a great Southeastern Conference team, you will need some good momentum to get started.

In the first day of competition at the UK swim & dive quad meet featuring Mizzou, Northwestern, and Southern Illinois, both the men and women’s swim & dive team got off to a good start right from the opening events.

Before the meet even started, the dive team delivered big points to the Cats’ hope of beating Mizzou. Rebecca Hamperian took third place in the three-meter springboard and first place in the one-meter springboard. Seb Masterton also took third in the three-meter springboard and first place in the one-meter springboard on the men’s side.

In the first individual race of the day, a freshman combo of Asia Seidt and Glen Brown won both races of the 200 I.M.. Seidt would come back the following day and win the 400 I.M. while achieving the NCAA B-standard.  Seidt also swam a b-standard time in the 200 back where she finished second.

“I’ve never gone this fast mid-season, so it’s pretty exciting to think about what could happen end of the season,” Seidt said.

Seidt would not be the only one to achieve B-standard’s Friday evening.

Walker Thaning was less than a second from the B-standard in both of his 200 back races before the quad meet.  Third time’s the charm for Thaning as he earned his B-standard in the 200 back by just .19 seconds. Thaning finished in second place.

Arguably the performance of the day had to be from junior Isaac Jones.

In the 500 free, Jones was in a very competitive race with Northwestern’s Jordan Wilimovsky. Wilimovsky represented team USA this past summer in the Olympics at Rio, and he and Jones pushed each other to B-standard times. Jones would take second in the race but he improved his season’s best time by four seconds along with achieving the B-standard.

“I knew when I was at his [Wilimovsky] hip level it was going to be a good time, whether it was the b time or not,” Jones said.

The Cats would tally seven first-place finishes, and many second and third place finishes by the conclusion of the first day of competition. Unfortunately for the Cats, those events where UK got second or third, Mizzou would often finish in first.

Both UK squads would finish the first day of the meet trailing the Tigers but beating Northwestern and S. Illinois. The UK men only trailed Mizzou by two points while the UK women trailed the Tigers by 30.

Starting the second day of competition behind Mizzou, the Cats needed more big-time performances if they wanted to close the gap between Mizzou.

While there were strong performances on the men and women’s teams for the Cats, the Tigers won 13 of the 18 events on Saturday to pull away from UK and win the quad meet.

The Mizzou men beat UK 202-170 while the Mizzou women beat the Cats 199-152. Both UK squad’s defeated Northwestern and S. Illinois.

At one point during the competition on Saturday, the UK men and Mizzou were tied at 130. Once the Tigers started collecting more and more individual victories, it became unrealistic for the Cats to make a comeback.

“I think the guys got a little bit flat at the end,” head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “It’s been a long couple of days, we need to do better.”

Even with the team loss, Brown still performed really well following his victory in the 200 I.M.. Brown won the 400 I.M. and set a new personal best time in 3:55.06. That time is also a five second seasonal improvement and less than a second away from a B-standard.

“After coming off a good day yesterday [Friday], I knew that today was going to be an even better day,” Brown said. “I’m really pleased with both days, and this is the best meet I’ve had this season so far.”

Brown also took third in the 200 breaststroke.

In the 200 free, the Galyer sisters took second and third place with younger sister Ali leading the way in the event over older sister Danielle.

With the loss, the UK men are currently 2-2 in SEC competition while the women are 1-3.

Up next for the Cats is the biggest meet of the season so far. The swimmers will travel to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the Ohio State Invitational on Nov. 18-20. The divers will travel to Indianapolis, Ind. where they will compete in the Diving House of Champions meet on the same days.

“It’s going to be really important, we’ll have an opportunity to make NCAA qualifying times,” Jorgensen said. “For us that’s huge, we want to get as many people as we can qualified early in the season.”