Jenny Connolly and Kelsey Floyd
March 2, 2012
By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The NCAA has announced the full national championship field and nine talented Lady Vol swimmers will represent the University of Tennessee at the 2012 NCAA Championships, taking place over March 15-17 in Auburn, Ala.
UT will be represented in 11 of the 12 individual swimming events and all five relays over the course of the three-day meet held at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center on the campus of Auburn University.
Lady Vols who will be in action are seniors Kirstyn Colonias and Jenny Connolly, juniors Kelsey Floyd and Caroline Simmons, sophomores Alexandria Frasier, Lindsay Gendron, Kate McNeilis and Lauren Solernou and freshman Molly Hannis.
"This is a really strong and experienced group of nine swimmers," Lady Vol head coach Matt Kredich said. "If you look at the composition of this group it really says a lot about our team. We have a great mix of youth and experience. We're versatile and nationally we're very competitive."
Seven of the nine Orange and White swimmers have experienced competing at the national championships, with Simmons and Hannis being the two newcomers.
Tennessee will look to carry its momentum from the Southeastern Conference Championships, where the team finished runner-up. Held in its home waters at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, UT earned seven event victories, set three conference records and placed third or better in 15 of the 21 events.
With Kredich at the helm, the Big Orange has never finished below 13th at NCAAs during his six year at Rocky Top. Last season UT finished in the top 15 for an unprecedented sixth-straight season, grabbing 12th at the national championships.
"We're just excited to compete at the highest level," Kredich explained. "Performing well at this meet has been the ultimate goal of the season since August, and each person has some big goals specifically for this meet. Now that we're less than two weeks away, we're all getting really excited."
Connolly will enter the 100y fly event with the fastest time in the country after she touched in at 51.21 seconds at the conference championships in February. She also holds the second fastest clocking in the 100y back (51.37), an event she has gone undefeated in this year, and will compete in the 200y back.
Both medley relays will be poised to make a run at national championships, as the UT 200y MR quartet's time of 1:35.33 is the best in the nation, while the 400y MR ranks third (3:30.36).
Floyd is one the best in the country in fly events, as the 2012 conference champion in the 200y fly recorded the fourth best mark in the event (1:54.65) and holds the sixth best readout in the 100y event (52.08). Swimming in the 200y IM for the first time in her UT career this season, she secured a spot in the event at SECs after a time of 1:58.58.
Gendron has top 10 times in the 1,650y free and the 500y free, while she ranks 11th in the 200y free (1:44.51). In the mile, the sophomore's time of 16:01.38 is the seventh best nationally, while ranking ninth in the 500y free with a clocking of 4:38.74.
Hannis and Colonias are the Lady Vols' top performers in the breaststroke events, as each will compete in both the 100y and 200y breast events. Hannis hold UT's best time in the 100y event (59.53), to seed her seventh, while Colonias' mark of 2:10.68 is a Lady Vol best this season.
Along with Connolly, McNeilis will be in both back events and the 100y fly. McNeilis has the team's fastest mark in the 200y back after touching in at 1:54.26, seeding her 12th. Solernou, also a sophomore, will give the Orange and White three competitors in the each of the backstrokes.
Simmons will be UT's lone competitor in the 50y and 100y frees, while she and Frasier will join Gendron in the 200y free competition.
The Lady Vols rank in the top 10 in the 200y, 400y and 800y free relays.
"We're deep enough to have some options with our relays that we've never had before and I think we're very well represented across a wide range of events as well," Kredich said. "We're excited to have the meet in SEC country. A lot of this group swam in the Auburn pool this summer, so it's a familiar venue and we have a clear vision of what kind of atmosphere we'll encounter at the meet."
The Big Orange divers still have a chance to add their name to the list of those who qualify for NCAAs, as senior Gabrielle Trudeau, redshirt junior Jodie McGroarty and redshirt sophomore Tori Lamp compete for national-meet bids at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships in Auburn, Ala., over March 5-7.
The top eight finishers in each event at NCAAs earn All-America First Team status, while places nine through 16 capture honorable mention All-America accolades.
|Lady Vol NCAA Championships Entries|
|500 Free||Lindsay Gendron||4:38.74||9|
|200 IM||Kelsey Floyd||1:58.58||28|
|50 Free||Caroline Simmons||22.16||13|
|100 Fly||Jenny Connolly||51.21||1|
|100 Fly||Kelsey Floyd||52.08||6|
|100 Fly||Kate McNeilis||54.47||59|
|200 Free||Lindsay Gendron||1:44.51||11|
|200 Free||Alexandria Frasier||1:47.83||52|
|200 Free||Caroline Simmons||1:47.87||53|
|100 Breast||Molly Hannis||59.60||7|
|100 Breast||Kirstyn Colonias||1:01.33||39|
|100 Back||Jenny Connolly||51.37||2|
|100 Back||Lauren Solernou||52.72||19|
|100 Back||Kate McNeilis||53.57||40|
|1650 Free||Lindsay Gendron||16:01.38||7|
|200 Back||Kate McNeilis||1:54.26||12|
|200 Back||Jenny Connolly||1:54.55||18|
|200 Back||Lauren Solernou||1:55.25||26|
|100 Free||Caroline Simmons||49.10||36|
|200 Breast||Kirstyn Colonias||2:10.68||26|
|200 Breast||Molly Hannis||2:12.01||34|
|200 Fly||Kelsey Floyd||1:54.65||4|
|200 Free Relay||Tennessee||1:28.86||8|
|400 Free Relay||Tennessee||3:15.09||6|
|800 Free Relay||Tennessee||7:03.63||10|
|200 Medley Relay||Tennessee||1:35.33||1|
|400 Medley Relay||Tennessee||3:30.36||3|