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Team Effort Moves UT Up the Leaderboard at NCAAs



March 16, 2012

Results | PDF Results | Saturday Prelim Heat Sheets | SEC Recap


AUBURN, Ala. - The University of Tennessee Lady Vol swimming & diving climbed three spots in the overall standing on day two of 2012 NCAA Championships after five firstteam All-America performances Friday at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.

Tennessee ranks sixth in the field with a two-day total of 186 points. California still sits atop the leader board with a tally of 311 points, followed by Georgia in second with 247 points and Southern Cal and Arizona deadlocked in third with a tally of 226.

Just as the 400y medley relay did a day prior, UT's 200y medley relay also grabbed third, finishing in 1:35.91. Consisting of senior Jenny Connolly, juniors Kelsey Floyd and Caroline Simmons and freshman Molly Hannis, the squad registered the third-fastest clocking in Lady Vol history.

The time ranks only behind the quartet's prelim readout of 1:35.75 and the Southeastern Conference record setting performance of 1:35.33 that came at this year's league meet.

The combination of Floyd and Connolly proved to be a powerful punch for the Big Orange in the 100y fly, as the duo accounted for a 3-4 finish. Floyd notched third with a personal-best time of 51.67 seconds, with Connolly one spot behind her after a readout of 51.73 seconds.

Both of the finishes rank among the top 10 fastest in Lady Vol history and marks the second time that Connolly and Floyd achieved All-America status in the event.

Two events later Connolly was quickly back in the water for the 100y back. Having swum the event at NCAAs in each of her four years at UT, the West Lafayette, Ind., native registered Tennessee's best placing in the 100y back after her time of 51.67 seconds earned her third.

Connolly and former Lady Vol Catherine Byrne previously tied for the best event finish, which was sixth. Connolly notched sixth last season in Austin, Texas, while Byrne did it 1989 and 1992.

"I can't say enough about Jenny," Lady Vol head coach Matt Kredich said. "I think she executed everything she needed to really, really well today. It was a great night for Jenny Connolly."

The 200y free consolation finals champion a year ago at NCAAs, sophomore Lindsay Gendron did one better this season, grabbing sixth after touching in at 1:43.89. The time ranks third in the UT record books and gives Gendron her best individual event finish at the national meet.

History seemed to repeat itself for the Lady Vol divers on day two, as redshirt junior Jodie McGroarty again made the consolation finals and redshirt sophomore Tori Lamp narrowly missed the cut.

Competing on the 3-meter boards, McGroarty placed 10th in the event, accumulating a total of 334.55 points in the finals. The Sheffield, England native qualified for the `B' finals after a prelims tally of 316.20, and picked up her second honorable mention All-America accolade in her first trip to NCAAs.

"Again, very pleased with Jodie's performance today," Parrington said. "She stood up and competed extremely well, came up a little shy in making the big final, but it was a very tough competition. To finish10th in the country is something to be really proud of and I'm very happy for her."

"It's kind of mixed emotions because this is nothing like anything I've ever competed in," McGroarty said. "It is so intense and so nerve racking, but it's so fun at the same time. I came with a goal in mind to just do the absolute best I could and I gave it 110 percent. It would have been nice had I won it, but I'm still really pleased because I tried really hard and it is a really cool way to finish the season."

Like yesterday, one dive proved costly for Lamp, who ended the prelims in 18th after a six-round score of 302.35. Despite just scoring 21 points on her third dive, Lamp nearly missed placing within the top 16 by 1.40 points. In her other five dives, she averaged over 56 points per round.

"At this level there is just no room for error," Parrington explained. "If you are going to make a mistake, it has to be a small mistake. She bounced back extremely well to try and get back into the top 16 and for her to come back valiantly like she did said a lot, but we needed a little bit more. She finished on a positive note so we'll come at it tomorrow."

Tennessee capped off the day with the 800y free relay timed finals. Sophomore Alexandria Frasier swam the lead leg, followed by Floyd, Kate McNeilis and the anchor Gendron, combining for a 10th-place time of 7:04.60, which ranks third in Big Orange history.

"I feel great about where we are and we are in the thick of a pretty good team race," Kredich said. "We set ourselves up to have a great session tomorrow."

Other competitors in action during morning prelims were senior Kirstyn Colonias, sophomore Lauren Solernou, Frasier, Hannis and McNeilis.

Hannis touched in at 1:00.94 to grab 28th in the 100y breast, while Colonias notched 38th in the event with a time of 1:01.94. Solernou and McNeilis each competed in the100y back, with Solernou placing 21st after a time of 53.11 seconds and McNeilis touching in at 53.88 seconds to earn 43rd. Frasier swam the 200y free in 1:49.30, which was good for 57th.

The national championships will conclude tomorrow with the mile, 200y back, 100y free, 200y breast, 200y fly, platform diving and the 400y free relay.

 

 

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