Feb. 18, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Freshman diver Jodie McGroarty's podium finish and a school-record performance by the 200y medley relay team led the Tennessee women's swimming and diving team on Wednesday at the 2009 Southeastern Conference Swimming & Diving Championships at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
The Lady Vols sit in third place with 76 points after the first day of competition. Florida (116) and Auburn (88) hold the top two positions heading into the day two.
McGroarty captured the second-highest score (348.10) in Lady Vol history on the 3-meter board en route to finishing third in the event. It's the second year in a row a Lady Vol made the podium on the 3-meter as Lauren LeRoy grabbed top honors last season with a score of 344.05 in the finals.
In the prelims, McGroarty qualified sixth with a score of 315.15. At the time it was her season-best until she shattered that score with her outstanding finals performance.
"I'm very proud of Jodie," UT head diving coach Dave Parrington said. "What I said to her before the event was `when you get to the finals in the SEC, all bets are off.' She took that to heart and competed like a veteran tonight."
The 200y medley relay team of freshman Jenny Connolly, sophomore Tricia Weaner and juniors Jamie Saffer and Michele King placed fourth in a school record time of 1:38.04. King vaulted the Lady Vols from seventh to fourth with her impressive freestyle anchor leg. The old record was 1:38.09 set a year ago at SECs by Weaner, King, current-senior Carly Mathes and former Lady Vol Christine Magnuson.
The 800y free relay of freshman Caitlin Perks, sophomore Morgan Farrell and seniors Brittany Nauta and Mathes finished fifth in a season-best time of 7:14.25. It is the seventh fastest performance in Lady Vol history.
Both relays are NCAA `B' cuts, as well.
"Michele's leg was extraordinary in the 200 medley (relay)," Lady Vols head swimming coach Matt Kredich said. "The other legs were just a little off. In the 800 free relay we also got one really good swim from Brittany Nauta. We're just not clicking right now on our relays like we're used to. Hopefully tomorrow we can correct those little mistakes that are not letting us get on track."
Alabama freshman Carrie Dragland grabbed victory on the 3-meter board with a score of 366.05, while Florida set the SEC record in winning the 200y medley relay (1:36.22). Auburn took first in the 800y free relay with an American and NCAA record time of 6:54.02.
The Lady Vols hop back in the pool on Thursday at 10 a.m. for prelim heats of the 500 free, 200y IM and 50y free. Women's 1-meter diving prelims start at 12:30 p.m. Finals begin at 5:30 p.m. and will include the 200 free relay.
At the 2008 conference championships, Nauta, Mathes and King combined with former Lady Vol Magnuson to win the 200 free relay in a time of 1:29.07.
Live results can be found at auburntigers.com.
McGroarty Makes 3-Meter Diving Final
AUBURN, Ala. - The Tennessee swimming and diving team got off to a great start during the first session of competition at the 2009 Southeastern Conference Swimming & Diving Championship on Wednesday afternoon.
Freshman diver Jodie McGroarty scored a career-best 315.15 during the prelims of the 3-meter board and sat in sixth-place heading into the finals at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
"I'm very pleased with Jodie's results this afternoon," Tennessee head diving coach Dave Parrington said. "Making the final in the very tough SEC is a very big step for her. She even left some points on the table, but we'll make some corrections and get ready for the finals tonight.
Classmate Gabrielle Trudeau also competed well in the prelims of the 3-meter, finishing 15th with a score of 268.10.
McGroarty is one of eight divers to qualify for the finals. The Sheffield, England, native has the opportunity to keep 3-meter conference championship with the Lady Vols for the second straight season. In 2008, Lauren LeRoy capped her UT career by capturing the SEC 3-meter title with a score of 344.05 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Florida's Kara Salamone had the top qualifying score (335.85) on the afternoon.
The 3-meter finals begin at 7 p.m. tonight. Swimming kicks off tonight, as well. The 200 medley relay starts at 6:30 p.m. and the 800 free relay begins at 7:30 p.m.
For live results go to auburntigers.com.