Feb. 19, 2010
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
ATHENS, Ga. - The 13th-ranked Tennessee women's swimming and diving team will have plenty of opportunities to rise in the standings tonight at the 2010 SEC Women's Swimming and Diving Championships after recording numerous outstanding prelims performances this Friday morning.
Chief among those Lady Vol performers was sophomore Jenny Connolly, who swam the fastest qualifying time (52.10) in the 100y back. She will be seeded first in the event when the finals kick off at 6 p.m. at the Gabrielsen Natatorium.
The West Lafayette, Ind., native is also seeded second in the 100y fly.
"Jenny pulled off a great double this morning," Lady Vol head coach Matt Kredich said. "She put herself in a great position to win two championships tonight."
Live results and live video of Friday's events can be found at georgiadogs.com.
Connolly was runner-up in the 100y back last season and will have another chance to defeat defending conference champion Gemma Spofforth, of Florida, who is seeded second (52.76). Connolly's prelim time is an NCAA A-cut.
Her readout of 52.76 in the 100y fly betters her career-best set at the 2009 SEC Championships, where she took sixth in the event. She remains the second-fastest Lady Vol ever in the 100y fly behind 2008 NCAA Champion and former American record-holder Christine Magnuson.
Tennessee will also contend for the SEC Championship in the 100y breast. Senior Alex Barsanti swam a career-best time of 1:00.16 in the event and is seeded second behind Auburn's Micah Lawrence (59.89). Classmate Jamie Saffer turned in the third fastest qualifying time (1:00.72). She is the defending conference champion in the event, setting the SEC Championships record (59.79) a year ago.
Junior Martina Moravcikova and freshman Breanna Folk give UT four athletes in the eight-person 100y breast final, as they touched the wall with the sixth and seventh fastest times in the morning session. Moravcikova's readout of 1:01.02 is a career-best, while Folk's time of 1:01.02 is a season-best.
Sophomore Samara Gelb made the consolation finals with a season-best mark of 1:02.58, good for the 14th position. All five performances are B-cuts.
In the 400y IM, junior Aleksa Akerfelds was just off her school-record performance en route to qualifying for tonight's `A' finals in the 400y IM. The Bronxville, N.Y., native's time of 4:13.63 placed her sixth in the prelims and was just off the record of 4:13.12 she set at the 2008 conference meet.
Freshman Kelsey Floyd missed joining Connolly in the `A' final of the 100y fly by just one one-hundredth of a second with a mark of 53.78 and will settle for the top seed in the consolation final. Classmate Brooke Watson will join Floyd in the `B' final after recording the 13th fastest prelim time (54.32). Connolly, Floyd and Watson all recorded season-bests and NCAA B-cuts.
Juniors Tricia Weaner and Morgan Farrell will also come back and swim in the evening session tonight, as they finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in the 100y back prelims. Weaner's time of 54.46 and Farrell's clocking of 54.57 are both B-cuts and season-bests.
Sophomore Caitlin Perks led Tennessee in the 200y free with a season-best time of 1:49.72. That mark, however, was not good enough to make the finals session, as she tied for 18th.
The Lady Vols will also compete in the 400y medley relay tonight. The team of senior Michele King, Baranti, Connolly and Floyd captured the gold in the 200y MR on Wednesday night.
"I'm really proud of the way we competed this morning," Kredich said. "We had a team that was clearly on a mission. That was a great session. We've set ourselves up to score some points tonight."