The Week That Was: Virginia, Kentucky Claim Conference Titles; Iowa Women Reinstated

kentucky wildcats cheer team
Photo Courtesy: University of Kentucky Athletics

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The first round of Division I conference championships concluded this weekend in the southeast as Kentucky won its first ever SEC women’s swimming and diving title, and Virginia won its 12th ACC title in 14 seasons. The Cavaliers also broke an American record in the 200 medley relay to start the meet and currently lead the nation in every single freestyle event.

Read below the five biggest stories in The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #1: Kentucky Wins SEC Women’s Title

sec-kentucky-800M Free Relay (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Kentucky 800 free relay; Photo Courtesy: Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics

By Dan D’Addona

Kentucky won its first ever SEC team championship with a combination of strong top-level point-scorers and depth that placed a multitude of swimmers in the finals.

The Wildcats scored 1,124 points to hold off Florida (1,071), Georgia (999), Alabama (973) and defending champion Tennessee (934).

Kentucky broke five school records and had 12 podium finishes, while the team lowered 39 personal-best times during the meet. The Wildcats had never finished higher than third, which they accomplished the past two years.

#2: Virginia Breaks American Record in 200 Medley Relay

kate-douglass

Photo Courtesy: Virginia Athletics

By Andy Ross

The Virginia Cavaliers wasted no time in getting the night off to a fast start with a 1:32.93 in the 200 medley relay to break the American and NCAA record that stood since 2018 at 1:33.11 that Stanford set on its way to winning all five relays at NCAAs three years ago.

The team of Caroline GmelichAlexis WengerLexi Cuomo and Kate Douglass swam on the record setting relay with NC State coming in second at 1:33.52.

  • Virginia’s splits:
    • Gmelich – 23.70
    • Wenger – 26.03
    • Cuomo – 22.58
    • Douglass – 20.62
  • Stanford’s old record splits:
    • Howe – 23.54
    • Williams – 26.50
    • Hu – 22.62
    • Manuel – 20.45

The Week That Was #3: Iowa Reinstates Women’s Swimming & Diving

emma-sougstad

Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

By Andy Ross

The University of Iowa announced today it will be reinstating the women’s swimming and diving program

“Every student-athlete in all 24 sports at Iowa has experienced challenges and uncertainty since the pandemic began. This has been especially true for the men and women in the four sports we announced would be discontinued after this season,” Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a press release. “The women’s swimming lawsuit brought forward last September, combined with the recent court order mandating the continuation of the sport during the legal process, has created additional uncertainty that could last several months or even years.

“We made the decision the right thing to do was to re-instate the women’s swimming and diving program and remove any uncertainty moving forward for our current student-athletes as well as high school swimmers considering attending the University of Iowa.”

The swimming and diving program was to be cut after this season, as announced last summer, causing outrage among the swimming community for cutting such a storied program – the birthplace of the butterfly stroke, and the original host of the 2021 NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships before the meet had been moved to Greensboro. With the women’s team returning, that leaves the relatively new natatorium with a home team for the future. The return of the men’s swimming and diving program still remains up in the air.

#4: Rikako Ikee Continues Comeback With Solid 100 Butterfly

rikako-ikee-

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Swimming World Editoral Team

As Japan moves closer to its Olympic Games selection competition, various storylines continue to unfold for the host nation. During the first day of the Tokyo Open, Rikako Ikee posted the latest performance in her comeback from Leukemia while Yuki Ikari was strong in the 400 individual medley.

Having already contested the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle during her comeback, Ikee ventured into the 100 butte
rfly this weekend and managed a third-place effort off a time of 59.44. The possibility of competing at a home Games later this summer remains a major hurdle for Ikee, but the fact that she continues to move in the right direction only adds to the feel-good tale of her beating Leukemia and returning to elite form.

Last week, Ikee sent well wishes to Sarah Sjostrom after the Swede had an accident in which she fell and suffered a broken elbow. When Ikee was battling Leukemia, Sjostrom, Emma McKeon and Maggie MacNeil sent their support to their fellow competitor.

The Week That Was #5: Olympic Medalist Scott Miller Arrested on Drug Charges

Scott Miller

Photo Courtesy: George Olsen

By Swimming World Editorial Team

Australian two-time Olympic medalist Scott Miller was arrested Monday in Sydney in connection with an alleged drug distribution ring.

According to reports, Miller was arrested after the discovery of up to $2 million of methylamphetamine, or “ice,” in what are reported as “commercial quantities” hidden in candles. Coordinated raids across the city swept up Miller at his home in Rozelle and apprehended an unidentified man at another location. Miller was taken to Newtown Police Station, and police are expected to give an update later in the day.

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