PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, February 19. THE inaugural American Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships got underway on Wednesday from the Ralph Wright Natatorium in Louisville, Ky. The opening day featured diving preliminaries in the morning and finals in swimming relay events along with diving in the evening session.
The host Cardinals opened the evening session with a victory in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Louisville set a new school and pool record with a mark of 7:08.67. Louisville had to hold off SMU throughout the race, with sophomore Kelsi Worrell getting the squad off to a good start with a school record on her opening split with a time of 1:44.97, touching the wall just .02 seconds faster than SMU’s Nina Rangelova. Andrea Kneppers and Abbie Houck, helped build the lead for Louisville, with Breann McDowell swimming 1:49.06 to clinch the win. Louisville defeated SMU by 2.03 seconds to score the first victory of the event, with Cincinnati finishing third.
Louisville captured another record swim in the Men’s 800-yard freestyle relay, recording an NCAA ‘A’ Standard Time of 6:19.25. The Cardinals were led by Joao De Lucca’s blazing 1:32.26, the fastest swim of the race, in the second leg, ensuring the Louisville victory. Louisville finished over 14 seconds ahead of the second place squad UConn, with SMU taking third.
In the men’s 1-meter diving, SMU set the pace sweeping the podium, with Devin Burnett placing first. The junior’s score of 386.80 beat teammate freshman Bryce Klein 376.60, with Mustangs junior Hayden Hodges finishing third in 346.95.
On the women’s side on the 3-meter board, UConn’s Taryn Urbanus took first place with a score of 313.55. Houston took the other two medals, with junior Natasha Burgess (310.70) in second and junior Taylor Olanski (306.65) taking third.
The swimmers got back in the pool and Louisville took the title in the 200-yard Medley Relay, beating SMU to the wall. The relay team of Krissie Brandenburg, Andrea Cottrell, Kelsi Worrell, and Breann McDowell tied a pool record with a 1:38.43, also giving them an NCAA’B’ standard time.
The final relay of the night was the men’s 200-yard medley relay, with Louisville taking first place and setting another pool record with a time of1:26.21. The quartet of Grigory Tarasevich, Kameron Chastain, Pedro Coutinho and Caryle Blondell recorded an NCAA ‘A’ Cut, with Blondell swimming an impressive18.85 in the freestyle leg to cap off the victory for the Cards.
The American Athletic Conference Championship resumes tomorrow, Feb. 20 beginning at 10 a.m. with swimming preliminaries. Diving prelims and consolations will begin at 12:30 pm. Tomorrow’s events include the women’s 1-meter diving ,500-yard freestyles, 200-yard individual medleys, 50-yard freestyles, and the 200-yard freestyle relays, Finals will be in the evening session, beginning at 6 p.m. You can watch it live at www.theamerican.org/sd.
Men’s Team Standings
1 SMU 131
2 UConn 105
3 Louisville 103
4 Cincinnati 82
Women’s Team Standings
1 Louisville 122
2 UConn 101
3 Rutgers 83
4 SMU 72
5 Houston 66
6 Cincinnati 65
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