Mona McSharry, Trude Rothrock Lead Tennessee Women Over Kentucky; Volunteer Men Also Take Win

mona mcsharry
Tennessee's Mona McSharry -- Photo Courtesy: Carlos Morales

Mona McSharry, Trude Rothrock Lead Tennessee Women Over Kentucky; Volunteer Men Also Take Win

The Tennessee Volunteers bussed two hours north to Lexington Friday to take on Kentucky, including the Wildcat women’s team that captured last year’s SEC title, and Tennessee was victorious in both the women’s and men’s categories. The women won 161.5-138.5 against Kentucky, while the men finished well on top, 192-108.

Mona McSharry, a sophomore at Tennessee who was a finalist in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympics, finished first in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events against Tennessee, while teammate Trude Rothrock finished second in the 200 free, tied for first in the 100 free with Kentucky’s Riley Gaines (who edged Rothrock in the 200 free) and later won the 100 fly.

For the Tennessee men, Rafael Ponce de Leon Castilla won the 500 and 1000 free, and Harrison Lierz took first in both backstroke events.

Check out full results from the meet here.

Read the full press release from Tennessee below:

Tennessee swimming & diving had a pair of strong showings Friday, sweeping the Kentucky Wildcats on the road at Lancaster Aquatic Center.

The Lady Vols earned their second-straight top-15 win with a 161.5-138.5 victory against 12th-ranked Kentucky, who is the reigning SEC champion, while the Vols cruised to a 192-108 win against the Wildcats. Tennessee posted three meet records on the day.

Mona McSharry notched a pair of season-best times to sweep the 100 and 200 breaststroke, touching the wall in 59.68 and 2:09.99, respectively. Alexis Yager sealed the victory for the Lady Vols with a close win in the 200 IM (2:00.32), decided by 0.10 seconds. She also had a pair of third-place finishes in the 100 (1:01.86) and 200 (2:13.01) breaststroke.

The Lady Vols went back and forth with Kentucky early on in the meet. After Summer Smith secured the top time in the 1000 free with a mark of 9:56.94, Tennessee rallied with a strong showing in the 50 free to extend its lead going into the first break. Jasmine Rumley touched the wall first at 22.76 to pace three scorers for the Lady Vols in the event. Trude Rothrock finished in a tie for first in the 100 free (49.83) after placing second in the 200 (1:48.21). Julia Mrozinski came out on top in the 500 with a time of 4:50.47.

With the meet tight going into both butterfly races, Tennessee received a huge swing in momentum with a sweep in the 200 fly early followed by a strong performance in the 100 as Rothrock (53.36) and Mallory Beil (53.74) took first and second, respectively. Beil placed third in the 200 behind the freshman duo of Ellen Walshe (1:57.26) and Sara Stotler (1:58.40).

“Kentucky is a really competitive program, so it’s great to race against them in November,” associate head coach Ashley Jahn said. “They showed us again just how competitive they are, but we came out as the victors. It was fun to see us win and show off our depth in different areas against a really good team.”

The Vols dominated the meet, posting the top times in 12 of 14 events and recording four sweeps. Two of the sweeps came in the breaststroke races. In the 100, Michael Houlie took first (53.67) followed in second by Lyubomir Epitropov (53.95). The duo swapped places for the 200, as Epitropov posted the top time of 1:57.41 ahead of Houlie’s 1:59.93. Jarel Dillard and Brett Champlin finished third and fourth in both races, respectively.

In the freestyle, Rafael Ponce de Leon Castilla finished first in both the 500 (4:28.07) and the 1000 (9:08.12). Jacob Narvid took second in the 1000 with a mark of 9:14.60. The Vols swept the 100 with Jordan Crooks (44.49) taking the top time followed by Seth Thompson-Bailey (44.50) and Nolan Briggs (44.86) in second and third. Crooks notched a second-place finish in the 50 free (20.36) behind Scott Scanlon’s top mark of 20.04.

Harrison Lierz placed first in both backstroke races with a pair of season-best times, touching the wall in 48.83 in the 100 and 1:46.25 in the 200. In the butterfly, Kayky Mota posted the fastest mark in the 100 (46.79) and was second in the 200 (1:46.33). Gus Rothrock recorded a time of 1:49.97 in the 200 IM to take second in the event.

“We continue to lean on our breaststrokers, as they present really well in these meets,” associate head coach Rich Murphy said. “Those guys are really competitive with each other and keep challenging each other to raise the level. We are really benefiting from their competitive presence. Our relays continue to be very competitive. We want all the men on the team to feel like they are behind the blocks when the 400 free relay goes off, so regardless of how the meet is shaping up, we want to see it out all the way until the end. We know that it comes down to the 400 relays in our best, most competitive and most fun dual meets. With NCAAs and SECs also ending on the 400 free relay, it’s a great championship mindset rehearsal for us.

“We have gotten a lot of consistency from Rafael in the longer races and Harrison in the backstrokes. We continue to benefit from Kayky’s presence in the butterflies. I’m really excited about what our sprint crew is showing both in the 50 and the 100. Jordan has been outstanding, and Scott is from Lexington, so it’s always fun to watch him do well here. Across the board, it was a really good, solid team effort.”

Tennessee opened the meet with a strong showing in the 200 medley relays, posting the top times for both races. The Vols took first and second in the event as the squad of Lierz, Houlie, Mota and Scanlon recorded a time of 1:26.92, and the team of Griffin Hadley, Dillard, Luke Brice and Micah Chambers touched the wall in 1:28.92. The Lady Vols lineup of Josephine Fuller, McSharry, Emma Carlton and Rumley notched the top mark of 1:38.60.

Rothrock, Rumley, Mrozinski and Tjasa Pintar picked up the win in the 400 freestyle relay (3:20.24), while the men took first and second in the event. Crooks, Chambers, Jackson and Bailey posted the top time of 2:57.70, while Briggs, Houlie, Ponce de Leon and Scanlon recorded a mark of 2:59.30.

In diving, Grace Cable placed second on the 1-meter springboard with a mark of 288.45 and finished third on the 1-meter (305.10). Bryden Hattie was third on both springboards, posting a score of 324.45 on the 1-meter and 362.55 on the 3-meter.

“I’m relatively happy, even though I don’t like to get beaten,” diving coach Dave Parrington said. “First of all, credit to Kentucky’s divers. They are a very strong team to begin with, but they also dove very well today. That is what you expect in a great rivalry. We had some divers that really battled. Grace had a solid 3-meter, and then she came back and was on the edge of winning the 1-meter against a former SEC champion. I think that will be a confidence boost for her. On the men’s side, Bryden was solid. It was a good learning experience for us in a hostile and loud environment. We have a lot to learn from today, and we will go back and keep working at it.”

Up next, UT will host some of the nation’s top teams for the annual Tennessee Invitational on Nov. 18-20 at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center. Among the teams slated to compete, three squads are ranked on both the men’s and women’s side. The teams coming to the invitational will be Virginia (#1 women/#9 men), Alabama (#14/#20), Arkansas, South Carolina, UNLV and Carson-Newman.

“We are hungry and eager heading into the invite,” Murphy said. “We know our best swims are still ahead of us this season, so it will be exciting to get a little bit of rest and then compete in that championship format. That is always a fun time, and it’s always an honor to host both the invite and SECs like we are this year.”

Read the full press release from Kentucky below:

It was a hard-fought battle between two Southeastern Conference rivals, but the RV/No. 12 University of Kentucky men’s and women’s swimming and diving team fell to No. 17/7 Tennessee on Friday afternoon at the Lancaster Aquatic Center. The UK men’s team dropped a 192-108 decision to the Vols while the Wildcat women were bested by the Lady Vols, 161.5-138.5.

Kyndal Knight swept both boards for Kentucky, posting final scores of 290.18 on the 1-meter and 333.60 on the 3-meter. Morgan Southall finished second on the 3-meter with a personal best of 327.75, and Abby Devereaux achieved her Zone cut on the 1-meter 272.85 for a lifetime best of her own.

Danny Zhang also claimed both boards on the men’s side, sweeping the 1-meter (369.23) and 3-meter (424.43) in convincing fashion. Sam Duncan dove to second on the 1-meter with a score of 336.75, while Rodrigo Romero did the same on the 3-meter (369.00).

Dominating the 200 free for the women in the pool was Riley Gaines, who won the event by well over a second in 1:46.60 before going on to earn the runner-spot in the 50 free (22.85). The senior co-captain also tied for first in the 100 free with Tennessee’s Trude Rothrock in 49.83.

Caitlin Brooks was victorious in the 100 back, clocking in at 53.12 as Sophie Sorenson (54.07) took third and Lauren Poole (54.34) placed fourth. Sorenson (1:55.75) and Brooks (1:55.91) made it a one-two finish for UK in the 200 back with Poole (1:56.84) again taking fourth.

Poole also finished second in the 200 IM in the closest race of the day, taking second by just one-tenth in 2:00.42, with Sorenson (2:01.07) and Bailey Bonnett (2:01.44) finishing second and third.

The Wildcats also went 2-4 in the 1000 free after Beth McNeese (10:03.79) took second with Megan Drumm (10:05.55) and Caroline Benda (10:05.75) following close behind. Drumm was Kentucky’s top finisher in the 500 free, placing second in 4:52.53, and Gillian Davey also registered a runner-up spot in the 200 breast (2:12.59).

Pacing the Wildcat men in the pool was Mason Wilby, who won the 200 fly in 1:46.05 to hold off Tennessee’s Kayky Mota by less than three-tenths. He also got his hand to the wall first in the 200 IM in 1:48.62 in addition to taking second in the 100 fly (48.31).

UK’s distance contingent was led by Adam Rosipal who recorded a second-place finish in the 500 free (4:31.20) and a third-place showing in the 1000 free (9:17.51). Jakob Clark was third in the 500 free (4:32.28) and fourth in the 1000 free (9:19.47).

Victor Martin Roig was the runner-up in the 200 free with a time of 1:38.25, followed closely by Max Berg (1:38.30) in third. Berg also sprinted to third in the 50 free after stopping the clock in 20.63 while Roig turned in a time of 44.97 for fourth in the 100 free.

Also tallying a second-place finish was Kyle Barker in the 100 back with a final time of 49.05 as Jackson Mussler (50.94) took fourth. Mussler then went on to take second in the 200 back in 1:47.38 with Barker finishing third in 1:49.41.