March 7, 2012
Five Tennessee swimmers were selected to compete in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships later this month in Washington, the NCAA released Wednesday.
Senior Ricky Henahan, junior Ed Walsh and sophomores Oystein Hetland, Renato Prono and Samuel Rairden qualified for the national championships. They join divers Ryan Helms, Mauricio Robles and Brent Sterling, giving Tennessee a total of eight representatives.
"To have eight Vols going to the NCAA Championships is phenomenal for our program," Tennessee interim head coach Lars Jorgensen said. "I couldn't be more excited to head to Seattle. We want to finish the season off on the best note that we can and end the year as high in the country as possible.
"You've got to make it to the show first, so I'm excited we've got eight guys going who are going to represent the university in a first-class manner."
Henahan qualified in the 100-yard backstroke, an race he has won five times this season and has a season-best of 46.99 seconds, which he swam at the Georgia Bulldog Invitational Last Chance Meet.
Rairden also qualified individually in the 100 backstroke. One of the Vols' top swimmers this year, Rairden raced in the backstroke in just two meets, but took silver at the SEC Championships in a time of 46.68.
Henahan and Rairden both have the excelled nationally in the 100 backstroke. Henahan has been an All-American in the event the last two years, and Rairden made a surprise run at the NCAAs last year as a freshman on his way to All-American honors as well.
Tennessee's 200 medley relay team of Henahan, Prono, Hetland and Walsh also qualified. The team clocked a time of 1:25.97 at the Last Chance Meet. Henahan has earned All-American honors in the race his first three trips to the NCAAs, and Walsh has been part of that medley relay team the last two years as the anchor.
Swimmers who qualify for the NCAA Championships in one event can compete in other individual races or relays as long as they have recorded NCAA B-cut qualifying times in the event earlier in the season. The five Vols have
The Vols' three divers making the trip to Washington later this month -- Helms, Robles and Sterling -- qualified this week for the national meet by earning three of eight positions available at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships in Auburn, Ala.
"Our divers have been great all year," Jorgensen said. "For three to qualify for NCAAs is a credit to Dave (Parrington) and the divers. Our program is heading in the right direction."
The NCAAs run from March 22-24 in Federal Way, Wash.