By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee Lady Vol swimming & diving team made its way to the podium in each of the three events held Wednesday at the 2012 Southeastern Conference Swimming & Diving Championships, as the squad is sitting in first place at the conclusion of day one of the league meet held at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center with 118 points.
"The team did great today," Lady Vol head coach Matt Kredich said. "The divers got us off to a phenomenal start. Those three (Tori Lamp, Gabrielle Trudeau and Jodie McGroarty) were just absolutely tough. They all got better in the finals and that really set the stage for the 200y medley relay."
The foursome set SEC, UT and Allan Jones Aquatic Center records in the event. Their readout of 1:35.33 is also the fastest in the NCAA this season and an NCAA automatic qualifying time.
"That was a great relay with four great legs," Kredich said. "When you set an SEC record that is a pretty good relay. So that was really exciting."
Connolly set the tone by swimming the fastest lead leg of the event, and the Lady Vols were never caught.
"We knew that we could win this relay," Floyd said. "We just really wanted to do this for the team. This is our home pool. No one beats us in the medley relay in our home pool."
Lamp had the highest finish of the group, notching runner-up with a career-best score of 326.35. The tally is the second best in Lady Vol history, only behind Jaime Sanger.
"To get all three in the finals really helps our team," Tennessee head coach Dave Parrington said. "I'm always looking to win the event, but by having three in there we got big points as all three were in the top five. Tori really showed her competitive skills all day today, particularly in the finals. She is a real gamer and I'm real proud of her."
Trudeau's tally of 315.10 was also a career best and placed her fourth. McGroarty was one spot behind in fifth after accumulating a six-round score of 311.05, another career best.
"Gaby was steady all day long," Parrington said. "Jodie also did a great job as well and I couldn't be more proud of the competitiveness tonight. For each one of them scoring their career highs was a great way to get the meet started."
During the prelims, Lamp recorded a score of 311.60 to notch second; Trudeau claimed fourth after a mark of 303.40 and McGroarty's tally of 290.30 was good for sixth.
The Orange and White closed out the meet by almost setting another Tennessee record in the 800y free relay. The quartet of sophomores Alexandria Frasier, Lindsay Gendron and Kate McNeilis and Floyd put forth a third-place time of 7:03.63.
That clocking was a full 19 seconds better than the previous season best, an NCAA "B" cut and just .19 seconds shy from being a Lady Vol record.
The second day of the conference championships will begin tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET. Events on tap for Thursday are the 500y free, 200y IM, 50y free, 200y free relay and 3-meter diving. The finals portion of the day will begin at 5:30 p.m.