COLUMBIA, South Carolina, October 27. THE No. 15 Tennessee Lady Vols recorded two wins today in its tri-meet versus the University of South Carolina and No. 23 Kentucky. Tennessee downed the Gamecocks, 141-98, and the Wildcats, 131-108. UT moves to 3-0 on the season, 2-0 in Southeastern Conference competition.
"We had a few rough spots in the first half of the meet," Lady Vol Head Coach Matt Kredich said. "It seemed like everyone was not on top of the racing as much as I would like, but as the meet went on it went better and better. By the end, we were swimming really well and competed well under pressure."
Three Lady Vol swimmers earned NCAA "B" qualifying times in individual events, while the foursome of freshman Michele King, sophomores Carly Mathes and Brittany Nauta and junior Christine Magnuson combined to win the 400y freestyle relay event in 3:24.37, good enough for an NCAA "B" qualifying time.
Senior Megan Tomes won two events on the evening, the 200y free (1:49.65) and the 500y free in 4:54.48. Her time in the 200y free beat the 1:50.30 NCAA "B" qualifying time and is her second individual qualifying time of the season. The Cincinnati, Ohio native posted a 50.94 in the 200y free against Louisville on Oct. 20. Tomes' leadoff leg as part of the second-place 400y Medley Relay (55.93) today, is also an NCAA B Cut.
Freshman standout King was also victorious in the freestyle, winning the 50y free in 23.09 and earning an NCAA "B" qualifying time in the process. Magnuson earned her pass to the NCAA Championship meet by touching the wall in 2:01.50 in the 200y butterfly, earning her nine points to contribute to the team score.
"That was the first time Christine swam the 200y fly," Kredich said. "That was a close race against a great swimmer from South Carolina, but she really outraced her. She was the toughest swimmer in the pool. That changed the meet; that got things rolling for us."
On the diving side, junior Lauren LeRoy, who already posted a three-meter, NCAA qualifying score in the 185-111 win over Louisville, led the squad with a second-place 264.10 in the three-meter and a third-place 258.45 in the one-meter.
The afternoon started with the 400y Medley Relay in which Tennessee's two squads came in second and fourth. Tomes, Magnuson and seniors Tiffany Clay and Elizabeth Christy made up UT's "A" team which finished in second place with a 3:49.44. Juniors Danyelle Vincent, Laura Fehrman along with sophomores Sarah McCall and Betsy Lange landed in fourth with a time of 3:55.96. South Carolina won the event in 3:48.25.
Next up for the Lady Vols was the 1000y freestyle in which freshman Bryttany Curran led the squad by coming in fourth (10:27.19), less that a second ahead of classmate Keira Heath (10:27.68). Senior Misty Cain was sixth in 10:31.66.
Freshman Laura Tomes joined older sister Megan, in the 200y free and was the second Lady Vol to finish the race with a fifth-place 1:53.74. Sophomore Sam Maccherola, who was part of last year's 800y freestyle relay squad to compete at NCAA's, finished sixth in 1:54.06.
In the 50y free, King's first-place finish led UT sophomores Katie Gehring and Ashley Quinn who finished fourth (24.21) and eighth (24.78), respectively. In the 200y IM, Mathes, McCall and Christy each contributed points to the cause. Mathes placed second (206.97), McCall was fifth (2:10.20) and Christy was sixth in 2:10.67.
King missed her second NCAA qualifying time of the night by less than one second in the 100y free. Her 51.94 led the Lady Vols in the race, but put her in second-place behind Jenny Bradford of Kentucky.
In the first diving event of the meet, the one-meter, returning SEC Female Diver of the Year, Taryn Ignacio of Kentucky, posted a 267.85 to claim top-honors. Tennessee's LeRoy, however, kept the Wildcats from taking the top-three positions by earning a third-place 258.45, one point more than Kentucky's Joey Brown.
LeRoy was second from the three-meter board only to South Carolina's Lyndsey Havens. The Oshkosh, Wis., native's 264.10 defeated all three members of Kentucky's well-established diving squad.
The Big Orange took the lead from South Carolina after the one-meter diving making the score 60-52. The Lady Vols took off and did not trail South Carolina for the rest of the meet.
Event 14, the 200y fly, saw Magnuson take first-place with her NCAA "B" qualifying time of 2:01.50, while freshman Jamie Saffer and sophomore Betsy Lange were fifth (2:07.54) and eighth (2:12.08), respectively.
Junior Vincent led the squad in the 200y back (2:06.74), but was behind Chatham Penrod and Keli Hnat of Kentucky to take third. Nauta came in at a fifth-place 2:08.06, while senior Ashley Yeager was ninth with a 2:13.25.
The Lady Vols picked up the top-three spots in the 500y freestyle. Tomes recorded her second win of the night in 4:54.48. She was followed by Mathes, who had a career-best 5:00.18, and Maccherola with a 5:02.02.
The last individual event, the 200y breast, saw Clay and Curran earn their best placements on the night. Clay was .26 seconds away from first-place Lindsay Myhre of Kentucky to take second (2:20.01). Curran was not far behind in third place with a time of 2:20.23. Saffer rounded out the UT swimmers in sixth place in 2:25.34.
Tennessee left the Carolina Natatorium in style by posting a first-place and NCAA "B" qualifying time of 3:24.27 in the 400y freestyle relay. King, Nauta, Mathes and Magnuson made up the squad. Christy, Laura Tomes, Maccherola and Gehring finished fourth in 3:33.20. UT's "C" squad of Quinn, Vincent, Lange and Fehrman defeated the two other "C" squads and South Carolina's "B" squad to place sixth (3:34.21).