LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will jump back into the pool Monday as they travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Southeastern Conference Championships, Feb. 18-23.
The diving events will take center stage first at the championships, Feb. 18-20. Leading the way for UK will be returning 2001 All-American and SEC Champion Clayton Moss. The junior, who earned both on the one-meter board, has been diving strong as of late, posting his best score of the season on the one-meter during the Cats’ last meet against Cincinnati and Indiana. Also looking to make a big impression will be senior Aaron Kirkpatrick. An honorable mention All-American on the three-meter in 2001, Kirkpatrick has also been scoring well lately, winning his last two three-meter events and his last one-meter.
In the women’s diving well, all three Kentucky entrants have been diving strong of late. Junior Kelli Frost and freshmen Alison Riccobono and Trisha Tumlinson all posted their highest scores of the season during the last two meets.
We are looking forward to having a good meet, UK Diving Coach Mike Lyden said. “However, our divers will have to come in ready to go because there are some good divers throughout the conference, and they will push us throughout the entire championship.” In the men’s swimming lanes, Daniel Cruz, Joey Faltraco and Roger Watkins have been leading the Cats from start to finish. Cruz, a freshman, is tied for UK’s top time in the 100 freestyle (45.81), is first in the 200 freestyle (1:40.44) and is second in both the 100 (51.59) and 200 (1:50.00) butterfly.
Faltraco, a sophomore who transferred to UK this season, has already captured three Wildcat records. He is tops in the 100 (49.76) and 200 (1:45.68) backstroke as well as first in the 400 IM (3:54.10). A junior, Watkins holds the Cats’ top time this season in the 100 (54.85) and 200 (1:59.86) breaststroke as well as the 50 freestyle (20.84).
The women have also had some underclassmen leadership as freshman Chrissy Miller and sophomore Shawna Sechrist have been among the fastest in their respective events. Miller has dominated the sprint and middle-distance freestyles, holding UK’s top time in the 100 (50.74), 200 (1:50.31), 500 (4:49.84) and 1000 (10:15.86) freestyles and is second in the 50 (24.28) freestyle. Sechrist has been UK’s top female in both the 100 (56.47) and 200 (2:00.36) backstroke.
We are expecting it to be a very fast meet, UK Coach Gary Conelly said. “Individually, Joey Faltraco and Roger Watkins should be in the hunt to win their events. We also expect strong performances from Shawna Sechrist in the 200 backstroke along with strong support from our middle distance women (Carolyn Rader, Marci Vrooman and Chrissy Miller). When it’s all over, I think we may see a men’s and a women’s relay qualified for the NCAA along with two to four individuals on both sides.”
The swimming portion of the championships will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 20, with two relay events and conclude on Saturday, Feb. 23.