Feb. 19, 2011
By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Over the course of the past week, the ninth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vol swimming and diving team left a lasting mark on its league foes and it resulted in a fourth-place score of 466.50 at the 2011 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
Garnering three gold medals, two silvers and five bronze medals over the course of the conference meet, the Big Orange had no shortage of success. Placing on the podium in 10 of the 18 swimming events, UT has now finished fourth at SECs the past four seasons.
"I'm really proud of the team," Lady Vol Head Coach Matt Kredich said. "We learned a lot about how to compete at a championship meet. We came away with a lot of great performances and also a few we missed. Those are the ones we hold on to because it allows us to highlight some things to work on."
The Georgia Lady Bulldogs won the meet with a score of 720, while host Florida finished runner-up with a tally of 678 and Auburn nabbed third after registering 563 points.
The final day of the conference championships was highlighted by a pair of runner-up finishes by senior Aleksa Akerfelds and sophomore Kelsey Floyd and a third-place clocking by the 400y medley relay.
Akerfelds competed in the 1650y free and swam a season-best mark of 16:00.84, which ranks second fastest in the Lady Vol records books and third in the nation. She also improved on her finish from a year ago, as the Bronxville, N.Y., native claimed bronze in the event at the championships in Athens, Ga.
In the 200y fly, Floyd shattered her UT record in the event for the second time on Saturday. A native of Lexington, Ky., she touched in at 1:54.17, bettering her prelim time by .80 seconds. The automatic qualifying mark also is the fourth fastest in the country.
Brooke Watson, a sophomore, also earned a spot in the `A' final of the event after swimming a season-best mark of 1:59.08 in the prelims. She grabbed eighth overall with a clocking of 1:59.48.
The quartet of junior Jenny Connolly, Floyd and freshmen Alex Frasier and Lindsay Gendron earned bronze in the 400y free relay with a mark of 3:15.58, which ranks second in Tennessee history. For the Championships, the Lady Vols medaled in four of the five relay events.
Gendron also took fourth in the mile with an NCAA B-cut time of 16:07.27. Her time ranks third on the Tennessee performers list and is sixth best in the country.
Freshman Lauren Solernou added another fourth-place clocking for the Lady Vols in the 200y back. She recorded the second-fastest UT time of 1:54.90 in the event, which is also an NCAA B-cut.
In the `B' final of the event, senior Tricia Weaner touched in at 1:55.19 to win the consolation and take ninth overall. Her B-cut time ranks fourth in school history and was her fastest readout since 2009. Mary Kate McNeilis, a freshman, also swam a B-cut time in the consolation final after touching in at 1:57.61 to place 14th.
Senior Martina Moravcikova and junior Kirstyn Colonias competed in the 200y breast finals. Moravcikova swam a sixth-place time of 2:11.69 in the championship finals. Her mark of 2:11.25 in the prelims was a career-best that ranks third on the Tennessee performers and performance lists.
Colonias also improved her previous-best clocking in the event by touching in at 2:12.13 to finish runner-up in the `B' final and 10th overall. The Danville, Calif., native is now the sixth fastest performer in the event.
The consolation final of the 200y fly saw Kennedy Higdon and Weaner in action. Higdon grabbed a runner-up finish, swimming a time of 1:59.53, which ranks seventh on the Lady Vols performer list. For Weaner, she touched in at 2:01.38 to claim seventh.
Frasier notched the Lady Vols top finish in the 100y free after swimming a time of 49.98 seconds to earn 13th. Her mark of 49.91 seconds in the prelims also moves her up to number eight on the UT performers list.
The Lady Vols will have one more chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships that will take place over March 17-19 in Austin, Texas, when they host Last Chance Meet at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center on Friday and Saturday.
Team Scores: 1. Georgia - 720, 2. Florida - 678, 3. Auburn - 563, 4. Tennessee - 466.5, 5. LSU - 393, 6. South Carolina - 252, 7. Kentucky - 236, 8. Arkansas - 210, Alabama - 195.5, 10. Vanderbilt - 78