Cats making waves despite early losses

The UK swimming and diving team competed with some top finishes in their opening weekend, even if their record doesn’t show it. In meets against three teams in two days, the Cats were only victorious against South Carolina, falling to the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech, and starting the season 1-2.

Still, UK had some breakout performances in both swimming and diving without notching all winning results.

Freshman Jessie Snowden was named Diver of the Week by the Southeastern Conference on Tuesday after winning three-of-four events.

Snowden finished first in the 1-meter and 3-meter against Tennessee and South Carolina and in the 1-meter against Virginia Tech. She also finished second in the 3-meter behind her senior teammate Kari Retrum.

Snowden received a score of 308.80 on the 3-meter in Knoxville, engraving her name in the record book as the sixth-best score in UK Diving history.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a girl go over 300 in the first meet of the year. She’s got it, so we’re looking forward to some good things happening all year,” said diving coach Mike Lyden.

The first place wins continued with swimming. On the men’s side, senior Will Vietti also finished with three first place wins and one second place.

“I’m happy with the places overall,” Vietti said. “The times could have been a little quicker. I think it was a good starting point. It’s a place to work from.”

Senior Jenny Bradford won the 50-freestyle in both meets and the 100-free against Virginia Tech.

The women hosted Florida yesterday, losing to the Gators 167-132.

Retrum took first in the 1-meter and second in the 3-meter behind teammate Snowden. Snowden’s first place score was 319.64, over 10 points higher than her score last weekend.

The Bradford sisters took one-two in the 50-yard freestyle. Jenny finished with a time of 23.10 while her sister, senior Heather Bradford, finished with a 23.46.

In the 100-yard freestyle, UK made a sweep of placing first, second, third and fourth. Swimmers included seniors Jenny Bradford and Beth Parsons, freshmen Jenna Newsome and sophomore Sydney Witzky.

The swimming and diving team’s next meet is tomorrow in Louisville against the University of Louisville. UK is hoping to continue the current winning streak against the Cards that stretches over a decade.

“It’s a tremendous rivalry, especially since their program, not just their swimming program, but all their programs, have gotten so much better in the last 10 years. It used to be a joke to swim them because they didn’t have much of a program,” said swimming coach Gary Conelly.

This season, Louisville is a contender and the team knows it.

“There hasn’t been as much of a rivalry between us and Louisville,” Vietti said. “Historically we’ve just beat them pretty harshly. This year they’re an up-and-coming team, and I think the rivalry is a little more defined this year because they are a little quicker.”

Even with the greater competition this year, the team is still confident they will come away with the victory.

“We want to win as many events as we can so Louisville understands that we’re the dominant team here,” Conelly said.