Nov. 20, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Sophomore Aleksa Akerfelds achieved the NCAA Championships B qualifying standard in the 500y free and the Tennessee women's swimming team jumped to first place on Thursday at the 2008 Tennessee Swimming Invitational hosted by the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.
Tennessee enters day three of competition with a six-point lead over Virginia Tech in the three-team meet. The Lady Vols have 292.5 points, while the Hokies have 286.5 points. Kentucky sits third with 198 points.
The meet began with a preliminary session at 10 a.m., while finals started at 6 p.m.
"We had a lot of great swims today," Lady Vol head swimming coach Matt Kredich said. "Almost all of our girls swam faster in the night session than in the morning - and that's something we always strive for."
Akerfelds finished with a UT season-best time of 4:48.55 to win the distance freestyle event. Senior Carly Mathes finished third in 4:56.45. Classmate Sarah McCall placed sixth in a season-best time of 4:58.50. Akerfleds and McCall both swam a grueling double in the evening by coming back and competing in the 200y IM soon after the 500y free's completion.
Freshman Samara Gelb placed second in the 200y IM with a UT season-best time of 2:02.83, while classmate Jenny Connolly was third in 2:04.02. Hokies' swimmer Sara Smith placed first in the 200y IM in 2:01.14.
Connolly captured another third in the 50y free with a Lady Vol season-best time of 23.32. Fellow freshman Abbie Alton finished just behind in a tie for fourth with a season-best time of 23.39. Smith also captured the 50y free in an NCAA B qualifying time of 22.44.
The 200y free relay of seniors Katie Gehring and Ashley Quinn and sophomores Atlantis Wilkins and Jenny Connolly set a season-best time (1:32.52) in the relay with a third-place performance. Virginia Tech won the relay with an NCAA B qualifying time of 1:30.87.
The Tennessee Lady Vol divers hosted the Allan Jones Diving Invitational concurrently with the Tennessee Swimming Invitational. Freshman Jodie McGroarty finished runner-up in the 3-meter, the day's only event, with a score of 299.85, while senior Staley McCartney and freshman Gabrielle Trudeau each hit NCAA Zone marks for the first time this season.
McCartney scored 290.70 in the preliminaries - just off her career-best mark of 290.90. Trudeau scored 284.95 to finish fifth in the finals.
Kentucky's Jessica Snowden won the 3-meter competition with a score of 330.85.
"I was extremely pleased with Staley McCartney's performance as she got her NCAA Zone qualifying score much earlier than she ever has before," head diving coach Dave Parrington said. "We used a new competitive strategy and I think that worked out well tonight. This evening I was very happy with Jodie's competitiveness diving against an outstanding competitor in Snowden from Kentucky and I think as the season progresses we will see more great things from her. I'm pleased that Gabbie also got her NCAA Zone cut in the 3-meter, as well."
The women's 1-meter competition will be held on Friday with prelims at 1:30 p.m. and finals at 5:15 p.m.
The Tennessee Swimming Invitational continues tomorrow and Saturday with prelims beginning at 10 a.m. and finals starting at 6 p.m.