Tina Bechtel Swims Nation-Leading 200 Fly As Florida Trumps Kentucky In Dual Meet

Photo by Griffin Scott

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, October 16. JESSICA Thielmann was named this week’s Southeastern Conference’s female swimmer of the week, and she will face competition for that honor next week from Tina Bechtel after their impressive performance tonight in the Florida-Kentucky dual meet.

The Florida women took charge with wins in 10 of the 12 individual events, scoring 161 points to Kentucky’s 137. On the men’s side, Florida had no problem overcoming their SEC rivals with a score of 164-127.

Though Bechtel posted the only wins for the home team on the women’s side, her 200 fly was one of the highlights of the meet. Her time of 1:57.70 leads the collegiate rankings this season, dropping the 1:58.34 by Louisiana State’s Kara Kopsco off the top rung. Later in the meet, Bechtel, who was fifth in the 200 fly at NCAAs, won the 100 fly with a 53.03. She nearly got a third win in the 100 free, but her 51.19 was four tenths off Russell’s pace.

Thielmann was very busy tonight. She started the evening with a 9:52.38 in the 1000 free, her fastest time of the season by three seconds to move her to fourth in the collegiate rankings. No less than 15 minutes later, she was back for the 200 free and won that with a 1:49.15, another season best. Thielmann got an extended break and finished off her meet with a 4:21.49 to win the 400 IM, the last individual event of the meet. She missed her season best in that event by a scant two tenths of a second.

Lindsey McKnight and Sinead Russell were double winners for Florida in the women’s meet. McKnight swept the breaststrokes, winning the 100 breast in 1:02.86 and the 200 breast in 2:17.16. While the 100 breast fell short of her fastest of the season, McKnight’s 200 breast time is now her fastest of the season.

Sinead Russell didn’t swim her best event, the 200 backstroke, but focused on sprinting instead. She won the 100 back in a 53.23, which ties her time from the All-Florida Invitational that stands as the fastest in the nation this season. She followed it up with a 50.78 in the 100 freestyle.

Other wins for the Florida women in the meet included a 22.88 by Natalie Hinds in the 50 free, a three-second win by Georgia-Mae Hohmann in the 200 back with a 1:57.74 and a 4:54.89 by Taylor Roy in the 500 free. Florida won the 400 medley relay with a 3:41.34 and posted the fastest 200 free relay time with a 1:33.62.

In the men’s meet, four Gators won two events each. Pawel Werner took the 50 free with a 20.75 and the 100 free in 44.35. It should be noted that Werner’s 50 free time was not the fastest of the day, as Florida freshman Caeleb Dressel punched out a 20.31 leadoff swim in the 200 free relay at the end of the meet.

Jack Blyzinskyj started things off with a 50.01 in the 100 back, then posted a 49.84 to win the 100 fly. Erik Kahr swept the breaststroke races with a 56.74 in the 100 and 2:06.93 in the 200 distance. Carlos Omana cruised to a 9:11.59 in the 1000 free then posted the fastest 400 IM of the day in an exhibition swim with a 3:58.46.

Kyle Higgins got a win for Kentucky in the 200 fly with a 1:49.96. He nearly got a win in the 100 fly over Blyzinskyj, but fell three tenths short with a 50.21. With Omana swimming exhibition in the 400 IM after Florida secured the meet victory, Brandon Flynn got the winning points for Kentucky in the 400 IM with a 4:01.51.

Mitch D’Arrigo led a 1-2-3 finish for Florida in the 200 free with a 1:37.55, while Alex Dehner won the 200 back with a 1:49.54. Arthur Frayler held off Kentucky’s Isaac Jones in the 500 free, posting a 4:31.96 to Jones’ 4:32.85.

The Florida men easily took the relays. A 3:17.95 in the 400 medley relay kicked off the meet and a 1:21.14 exhibition swim in the 200 free relay was the fastest time in the event, helped largely by Dressel’s leadoff swim.

Link to meet results