Yesterday marked the end of the SEC Swimming Championships. The Kentucky Wildcats had a great final day and will be sending several swimmers to the NCAA Championships next month.
The day was topped yet again by sophomore Asia Seidt’s gold medal in the 200-yard backstroke. Seidt successfully defended her title from last year with a time of 1:49.65. This was Seidt’s second conference title of the meet. She was joined on the podium by fellow sophomore Ali Galyer. Galyer rallied to a third place finish with a time of 1:50.63. Both Seidt and Galyer qualified for the NCAA Championship meet with ‘A’ cut times. Senior Bridgette Alexander finished sixth overall with a time of 1:52.17.
But the women weren’t done. Freshman Bailey Bonnett also qualified for NCAA’s with an ‘A’ cut time in the 200 breaststroke. Her time of 2:07.17 was good enough for fifth place overall and lowered her own school record set earlier this season. Also scoring in the event were sophomore Madison Winstead (10th), senior Morgan Belli (12th), and senior Ann Davies (23rd). Four Wildcats also scored points in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Junior Kathryn Painter finished fourth overall with a personal best time of 16:09.91. Following Painter were junior Paige Kelly (eighth), junior Meredith Whisenhunt (15th), and freshman Payton Neff (19th). The women finished the competition with a seventh place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Seidt, Geena Freriks, Winstead, and Galyer finished with a time of 3:17.69. Overall the women’s team finished just off the podium, taking fourth with a total team score of 877.5.
The men had a tough night and a tough finish to the meet. However, they still had several swimmers finish well enough to score points for the team. In the 1,650 freestyle, senior Jack Gunning was the top finisher, swimming to a time of 15:16.30, good enough for 20th. Just behind him in 21st was freshman Hank Siefert with a time of 15:16.42. The Wildcats also got points from sophomores Peter Wetzler and Jack Mitchell who finished 16th and 19th, respectively, in the 100 freestyle. The last individual event of the meet, the 200 breaststroke, saw three Wildcats scoring points in the ‘C’ final. Sophomore Glen Brown won the heat to finish 17th in a time of 1:56.74. He was followed by junior Austin Haney (22nd) and fellow sophomore Wyatt Amdor (23rd). The men finished the competition by rallying to a sixth place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Mitchell, Brown, Shane Anderson, and Wetzlar posted a final time of 2:53.27. The men improved their final place from last year, finishing in ninth with a total team score of 575.5 points.
Head coach Lars Jorgensen had this to say after five days of strong competition:
“I thought we had a really good meet overall. Asia (Seidt) was outstanding again, winning her second SEC championship of the meet, so congratulations to her. Really pleased with our fourth-place finish on the women’s side. I thought we swam really well. On the men’s side, we moved up from last year. Our men’s divers were phenomenal. I think we got some more people qualified for NCAAs, so we’re really pleased with that. Now we’ve got to get ready for NCAAs.”
The next meet up for the Wildcats will be the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Championships. The men’s competition will be March 21-24 in Minneapolis, MN and the women’s is March 14-17 in Columbus, OH.