LAWRENCE, Kansas, February 2. THE 18th-ranked University of Arkansas swimming and diving team recorded the best record in school history, finishing the dual meet season with a 10-1 mark, after a 219-81 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks where the Razorbacks swept all 16 events. Arkansas also walked away with two pool records, as sophomore Lauren Jordan clocked a time of 9:57.31 in the 1,000 freestyle and freshman Anna Mayfield recorded a time of 4:52.57 in the 500 freestyle.
“I think for our hard work and the commitment of our women and their dedication day in and day out it's great,” head coach Sean Schimmel said about the 10-1 dual met record, which ties the 10-1 record from the 2008-09 season. “They stayed strong throughout all of our dual meets. The bottom line is it shows the foundation of this team and how far they have come and how we are a good strong team and that's a good place to be going into conference and NCAAs.”
Arkansas recorded nine one-two finishes en route to the victory. The Razorbacks' 16-event sweep of Kansas marks the first time since the 2010-11 season when the Razorbacks took the victory in all 16 events in a double-dual meet against Tulane and North Texas.
Arkansas opened the meet with a strong one-two finish in the 200 medley relay to set the tone for the meet. The relay team of sophomore Shana Lim, sophomore Nikki Daniels, sophomore Susanna White and freshman Nina Drolc picked up their fifth 200 medley win of the year, clocking the winning time of 1:42.83. Lim led things off with a speedy 25.82 split in the backstroke, giving Arkansas the lead from the get-go. All three of the remaining swimmers clocked the fastest times in their respective leg to complete the victory.
The breaststroke duo of Daniels and sophomore Julia Banach recorded a one-two finish in the 100 breaststroke with times of 1:03.54 and 1:03.67 respectively. It was Banach who led with a 30.28 split on the first leg with Daniels just .13 behind, but Daniels made up some ground with strongest closing 50 of the race, clocking a time of 33.13 to take the win.
The strong start left Arkansas leading 94-37 after the first seven events with the Razorbacks recording the win in each event.
Kesha Naylor captured another first-place finish on the three-meter board with a score of 315. Freshman Hannah Bortnick grabbed second-place with a 204.05 and sophomore Meghan Clark picked up a fourth-place finish with a score of 261.83 to score for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks swept the first 12 events and the 100 butterfly was underway. After the first leg, Kansas had a clear lead, but Shana Lim came from behind on the final 25 years to overtake Kansas' Deanna Marks with a time of 56.51 and keep the potential for a 16-event sweep alive. It was the first time Lim competed in the 100 fly this season.
With just three events remaining, Arkansas held a 176-66 lead over Kansas. Only the 200 individual medley, 200 free relay and one-meter diving stood in Arkansas' way of taking first in each event.
Naylor and freshman Shelby Bartlett stepped up with a one-two performance on the one-meter board, as Naylor recorded a 280.42 and Bartlett a 257.25.
“It was really excited about our consistency today,” head diving coach Dale Schultz said. “Obviously Kesha and Hannah did well on the three-meter and then Shelby and Kesha had an outstanding one-meter performance. Our goal is to be more consistent and I think we did that today. We are continuing to work on our consistency to be able to help the team at SECs.”
In the 200 individual medley it appeared as if the Razorbacks could be in trouble, but junior Julia Kucherich nabbed the fastest breaststroke split of the race (36.88) in the third leg, catching up with Kansas' Brooke Brull to position herself nicely for the final leg and take the win with a time of 2:05.80.
Arkansas didn't disappoint in the final race, taking the top time in the 200 free relay (1:34.01). The relay team of White, Drolc, Monroe and Lim grabbed the lead from the first leg with a 23.67 split from White and the rest of the Razorback quartet never surrendered it.
“Coming into today it was about being aggressive, having good race strategies, being focused and how that's going to set us up going into SECs,” Schimmel said.
Arkansas returns to the pool Feb. 19th for the first of the five day Southeastern Conference Championships, which will be held in College Station, Texas and hosted by the Texas A&M Aggies.
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