March 23, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- With a rally by Tori Lamp on the platform and a record-setting relay to end the meet Saturday, the Lady Vols finished third at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
It was the highest finish in the national meet by the Lady Vols in program history.
Georgia, also the SEC Champion, won the national crown with 477 points. California was second with 393, followed by Tennessee with 325.5. Texas A&M was a near fourth at 323.5.
"You just have to look at the smiles and tears on our team's faces, and that's worth it to me," Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich said. "I know people are celebrating back at home. I'm thrilled to be part of Tennessee, and we want all of Tennessee nation to be proud of this team."
After the meet, Dave Parrington was named the National Diving Coach of the Year and Knoxville native Lamp was named the National Diver of the Year after becoming the only competitor to reach the finals in all three diving events and taking second on platform Saturday night.
"I'm shellshocked right now to be perfectly honest," Parrington said. "Just a credit to my divers. Tori did a fantastic job tonight and had an incredible week. She and Jodie (McGroarty) have trained for this all season, and put it together when it mattered most."
Like last year, Lamp entered the final with the top qualifying score, but she could not match Southern California's Haley Ishimatsu's lofty marks dive for dive in the evening finals. Ishimatsu set the NCAA meet record with a five-dive score of 396.75. Lamp hit her final dive to move from third to second with a total of 328.60.
Lamp was also runner up in 2012, giving her two NCAA silver medals on platform.
After an up and down performance during the morning preliminaries across the board for the Lady Vols, the team got just what they needed in the final few events to secure third place.
Lamp's platform performance certainly put the Lady Vols in contention for the top three, but Tennessee entered the final event of the night, the 400 freestyle relay, in fourth place behind Texas A&M. The Lady Vols needed a strong performance to leapfrog the Aggies.
It was fitting that a strong relay capped the Lady Vols' 2013 NCAAs. The Lady Vols won the national title in three of the five relays. The team had never before won a NCAA title in a relay before this weekend.
Tennessee had two swimmers compete in individual races on the final night. Junior Lindsay Gendron kicked off the evening races for the Lady Vols, finishing eighth in the 100-yard freestyle in 48.56 seconds.
While she did not collect any gold hardware of her own, Gendron undoubtedly put together a consistent meet in her individual events. She reached the championship final in all three of her races to earn a trio of first-team All-America honors in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyles. She was also a part of the Lady Vols' 400 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay national championship teams.
Sophomore Molly Hannis was the only other individual swimming on the meet's final night. She took fifth in the consolation (13th overall) in the 200 breaststroke in 2:09.40.
Senior Kelsey Floyd had a disappointing morning in the prelims, missing the finals of the 200 butterfly, her signature event. She recovered a few minutes later to help the Lady Vols into the championship heat of the 400 freestyle relay.
"She's carried us all year and for Kelsey to not make the finals in her best event, that can be the end for a team," Kredich said. "I can't say enough about her being able to bounce back. Kelsey exemplifies everything a Lady Vol should be."