Kentucky mens and women’s swimming and diving drop meet against Louisville


Kentucky swimmers compete in the Blue and White Meet on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, at the Lancaster Aquatic Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Scott Clarke

Despite breaking three records in the annual Battle of the Bluegrass in Louisville on Saturday, the No. 14 Kentucky womens swimming and diving team dropped a 174-126 decision to the No. 11 Cardinals, while the UK mens team suffered a 208.5-88.5 loss to their No. 9 in-state foe. 

Riley Gaines recorded the first pool record of the day in the 200 free, which was good for first place. Her time of 1:43.93 broke the previous mark of 1:44.58 set by Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey in 2017. The Southeastern Conference Female Co-Swimmer of the week also placed second in the 100 free (48.62) and third in the 50 free (22.49). 

Kentucky was dominant in the backstroke by rebreaking the Ralph Wright Natatorium records previously held by two Cardinals in both the 100 and 200 back. Caitlin Brooks set a time of 52.18 in the shorter of the two distances to eclipse Kelsi Worrell’s 2015 mark of 52.53 while Sophie Sorenson broke Alina Kendzior’s 200 back standard of 1:53.61 set in 2016.

Bailey Bonnett helped give the Wildcats another win in the 100 breast as the only swimmer in the field to break the minute-barrier with a time of 59.89, which is four-tenths off her lifetime best. She also finished third in both the 200 breast (2:10.03) and 200 IM (1:59.43) as Gillian Davey placed second (2:08.60) and fourth (1:59.49), respectively, in those events.

Kaylee Williams led Kentucky in the distance events, finishing second with a time of 16:23.68 in the 1650 free, slightly off her best time of 16:23.01 set at the 2021 SEC Championships. Beth McNeese placed third in both the 500 free (4:45.90) and mile (16:26.70).

Izzy Gati also had two top-three finishes, finishing second in the 500 free (4:45.61) and third in the 200 fly (1:55.65). Kyndal Knight led the 1-meter board with a final score of 290.48, ahead of UofL’s Else Prassterink (244.50). Abby Devereaux dove to third on the 3-meter after tallying a score of 264.75.

Danny Zhang swept both boards to lead the Kentucky divers on the men’s side, leading the field by nearly 40 points to win the 1-meter with a final score of 363.38. He and Rodrigo Romero finished first and third on the 3-meter, posting respective scores of 387.30 and 353.40.

Mason Wilby had a good showing as well, winning the 200 back in a career best of 1:43.20 to move up to No. 2 all-time in school history. His time of 1:42.32 was fast enough for second in the 200 fly and was just shy of his program mark of 1:42.26 set at last year’s NCAA Championships.

Wilby then went on to finish second in the 200 IM in 1:45.85 — only .04 behind Louisville’s Daniel Sos — while Kyle Barker took third in 1:47.59. Henry Miller finished third in the 200 breast (1:59.70).

The Wildcats are back in action on Friday, Jan. 28 to host Cincinnati at the Lancaster Aquatic Center for a 4 p.m. ET start time. Prior to the beginning of the meet, Kentucky will honor its graduating seniors as part of the senior day ceremony.