KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, October 26. THE 12th-ranked Lady Vol swimming and diving team improved its record to 3-0 (2-0 SEC) this afternoon by taking two decisive wins from Southeastern Conference foes No. 17 Kentucky and South Carolina. UT downed the Wildcats, 187-113, and the Gamecocks, 213-87. In turn, Kentucky defeated USC by a score of 183-117.
"In every event we had somebody, if not all three people, really take control of the race," head swimming coach Matt Kredich said. "I felt like everybody dove in with a vision of how they wanted to race. Kentucky and South Carolina have some great athletes and put up some good races tonight so I feel good that we came out on top."
Junior Katie Gehring replaced classmate Brittany Nauta on the 200y medley relay team from last week to swim the anchor leg of the relay which finished first today. Freshman Tricia Weaner, sophomore Michele King, senior Christine Magnuson and Gehring recorded the best 200y medley relay time of the season (1:43.07). The foursome of freshmen Morgan Farrell and Martina Moravcikova, senior Brooke Boncher and junior Ashley Quinn came in third in 1:47.07. The Tennessee ‘C' team of junior Maria Jugan, sophomore Bryttany Curran, junior Betsy Lange and senior Danyelle Vincent placed seventh with a time of 1:50.16.
Freshman Aleksa Akerfelds swam a personal-best 9:57.79 to take first in the 1000y free. She was followed by South Carolina's Claire Thompson in 10:04.52. Although USC swimmers filled up the second and third spots, Lady Vol Sarah McCall came in fourth at 10:19.87.
"Aleksa is very talented and very smart," Kredich said. "She swam the 1000y free three times now and got faster every time. I expect that to continue."
Carly Mathes' 1:49.67 time in the 200y free was an NCAA ‘B' cut and earned the junior her fourth individual win of the season. She was followed closely by King who touched the wall in a ‘B' cut time of 1:50.20. Nauta was fourth in 1:51.69.
For the second consecutive week, Weaner won the 100y back in a time of 57.03. Farrell swam her first 100y back of the season and placed second in 1:05.20. Kentucky swimmers rounded out the top four and Jugan was seventh in 1:02.01.
Moravcikova swam the 100y breast in a season-best time of 1:04.50 to place first. Kentucky's Lindsay Myhre placed second, while Tennessee swimmers took the third and fourth spots in sophomores Bryttany Curran (1:05.41) and Jamie Saffer (1:05.95).
Magnuson earned an NCAA provisional cut in the 200y fly, her first of the year in the event, by touching the wall in a first-place 2:00.63 time. The Tinley Park, Ill., native already has ‘B' cuts in the 100y fly and 200y free. Boncher, swimming in her first individual event as a Lady Vol, placed seventh in 2:11.61. Lange was eighth in 2:12.00.
Just before the diving break, Tennessee had its first race of the day in which it did not claim top honors. Jenny Bradford of Kentucky took the 50y free title in an NCAA provisional time of 23.12. Behind her by a mere .04 seconds was UT's King who also registered a provisional cut. Gehring and Quinn touched the wall in fourth and fifth place with times of 23.88 and 24.10, respectively.
Halfway through, Tennessee led the Gamecocks, 106-44, and the Wildcats, 94-56.
The diving portion of the meet began at 1:45 p.m. with the one-meter competition. Defending SEC Female Diver of the Week, Lauren LeRoy, led the UT divers with a third-place 238.85. UK's freshman Jessica Snowden took the top spot, followed by USC's Taryn Zack. Senior Vicky Linnell and junior Staley McCartney came in sixth and seventh with scores of 225.55 and 201.10, respectively. In her first meet at the Student Aquatic Center, freshman Jill Pierce placed 10th after registering a 182.35 score.
"Today was kind of an up and down day," head diving coach Dave Parrington said. "To be honest I kind of expected Lauren LeRoy to do a better job on the one-meter board. She looked strong, but she may have been a little too excited at the beginning of the contest and made a few atypical errors. She bounced back and finished strong though."
From the three-meter board, the senior LeRoy was second with a 289.45 total, behind Snowden. McCartney was sixth (222.10), Linnell eighth (215.75) and Pierce was 10th (175.10).
"Staley probably had her best contest today on both boards and I am really proud of her," Parrington said. "That was something she needed. Vicky was doing well on the one meter before she clipped the board with her hand, but was able to bounce back. Jill dove a little bit like a rookie today. She is nursing a sore shoulder and she will continue to gain experience."
Magnuson's 50.64 in the 100y free gave the senior her second individual (third total) win of the day. The time also served as her best of the season and her fourth NCAA provisional cut. She was followed by J. Bradford of Kentucky who interrupted the Lady Vols' sweep of the top-four spots. Mathes placed third by stopping the clock at 52.11, while Fehrman registered a season-best 52.73 for fourth place.
Event 20, the 200y backstroke, saw Weaner take her second individual win of the day. The freshman finished in 2:03.04. Once again, Farrell took runner-up honors with a season-best 2:05.11. Vincent was the fourth swimmer to touch the wall with a season-best time of 2:08.46.
Only two Lady Vols competed in the 200y breast, Curran and Saffer. Curran placed second (2:22.76), behind Lindsay Myhre of Kentucky (2:22.29). Saffer followed in third with a 2:23.48 readout.
A natural sprint freestyler, King has competed in the 500y free twice this year, and remains undefeated. At Louisville last week, the All-American took first in a personal-best 4:55.01. Her time of 4:56.23 today also earned her top honors. Nauta had a personal-best time in the event at 5:01.37 for second place. Christine Thompson of South Carolina came in third at 5:03.72. McCall was the third swimmer to represent UT in the 500y free and came in sixth (5:06.30).
Magnuson, an All-American in the 100y fly, took the title in the event by registering an NCAA provisional time of 54.53. She was followed by Kentucky's Heather Bradford and Megan Pulskamp. UT's other contingents in the 100y fly were Lange (fifth-place 58.72) and Boncher (sixth-place 59.48).
Mathes picked up win number five by stopping the clock in a season-best 2:04.46 in the 200y IM. South Carolina picked up the second and third spots in Amanda Dunnigan and Christy Williams, respectively. Weaner, who already won both breaststroke events today, came in sixth (2:10.48), while Saffer was seventh (2:13.06), in her first 200y IM swim this year.
The last event of the day saw Tennessee's ‘A' team take first in the 400y free relay. The foursome of Nauta, Gehring, Farrell and Mathes was almost an entire second ahead of the top team from Kentucky with a 3:26.30 finish. UT's other two entrants were exhibitions. Quinn, Boncher, Vincent and Weaner recorded a time of 3:33.63, while Lange, Tomes, Jugan and Saffer finished in 3:41.04.
The Lady Vols will not compete again in Knoxville until Jan. 5, 2008. The squad has two weeks to prepare for a trip to Auburn to face the defending national champion Tigers, Nov. 9-10.
Special thanks to University of Tennessee for contributing this report.