March 4, 2010
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - For the second straight season, eleven Lady Vol swimmers earned spots to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, as the NCAA announced the full national championships field late Wednesday night.
UT will have an entry in every individual event and three relays at the 2010 NCAA meet, held from March 18-20 at Purdue's Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind.
Competing for the Lady Vols will be seniors Alex Barsanti, Michele King and Jamie Saffer, juniors Aleksa Akerfelds, Morgan Farrell, Martina Moravcikova and Tricia Weaner, sophomores Jenny Connolly and Samara Gelb, and freshmen Kelsey Floyd and Breanna Folk.
Head Coach Matt Kredich will be looking to take the 13th-ranked Lady Vol swimming and diving team to its school-record fifth consecutive top-15 finish at the national championships.
"Our primary goal all year has been to excel at the NCAA Championships," Kredich said. "You have to get there first, though, and we got most of the people into the meet that we expected, although we had hoped to get one more in. We have the most individual qualifiers we've ever had, our relays look solid, we have someone in every event, and we've got some great point scoring opportunities. Now our goal is to make NCAAs our best meet of the year."
UT will look to ride the momentum of a successful SEC Championships performance to Purdue.
The Lady Vols finished fourth at the conference meet in Athens, Ga., scoring its most points (497) since 1997 and snagging two event titles.
King, a 15-time All-American, captured the 50y free and was joined by Connolly, Barsanti and Floyd on the victorious 200y medley relay.
Both King, in the "splash-and-dash," and the relay are seeded second and should contend for national titles. UT has won four NCAA championships all-time, but never a relay.
Last season, the 200y medley relay team of King, Connolly, Saffer and Weaner had the highest relay finish in school history, taking third in College Station. King was third in the 50y free in 2009 and runner-up in 2008.
Connolly will get another shot at two-time defending national champion Gemma Spofforth in the 100y back after placing runner-up behind the Florida Gator at the SEC Championships for the second straight season. Connolly is seeded fourth in the event and placed ninth in the event at the 2009 NCAA Championships.
Barsanti leads the deepest breaststroke unit in the country, as five Lady Vols are entered in both breast events.
The Hummelstown, Pa., native placed second in the 100y breast at SECs, while Folk placed third in the event. Gelb captured third in the 200y breast. Saffer and Moravcikova also nabbed top-five breaststroke finishes at the conference meet.
In the 100y breast, UT's strongest event, Barsanti is seeded sixth, Folk tenth, Saffer 12th, Moravcikova 23rd and Gelb 41st.
Gelb is also seeded 13th in the 200y breast, while the other four Lady Vols rank in the top-40.
The NCAA took the top 31-32 entries in each individual event and the top 14 teams in each relay for this season's national championship meet. Any swimmer qualified for the meet in an event can compete in every event in which she has earned an NCAA B-cut.
Sophomore Tori Richmond nearly gave UT six breaststrokers at NCAAs, but just missed the cut-off in the 200y breast.
Tennessee still has an opportunity to add more athletes to its NCAA travel party, as UT sophomore divers Jodie McGroarty and Gabbi Trudeau are competing for national-meet bids at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships in Atlanta, Ga., from March 12-14.
The top eight finishers in each event earn All-America First Team status, while places nine through 16 capture honorable mention All-America accolades.
This is King's fourth appearance at the NCAA Championships, while Akerfelds, Farrell, Moravcikova, Saffer and Weaner will all be making their third trip to the national meet. For Barsaniti and Connolly, it's their second time. Gelb, Floyd and Folk will be making their national championships debuts.
|Lady Vol NCAA Championships Entries|
|500 Free||Aleksa Akerfelds||4:43.74||31|
|200 IM||Breanna Folk||1:59.00||34|
|200 IM||Samara Gelb||2:00.56||58|
|200 IM||Martina Moravcikova||2:00.67||59|
|50 Free||Michele King||22.06||2|
|400 IM||Aleksa Akerfelds||4:12.86||30|
|100 Fly||Jenny Connolly||52.76||18|
|100 Fly||Kelsey Floyd||53.28||32|
|200 Free||Kelsey Floyd||1:47.29||37|
|100 Breast||Alex Barsanti||59.97||6|
|100 Breast||Breanna Folk||1:00.30||10|
|100 Breast||Jamie Saffer||1:00.36||12|
|100 Breast||Martina Moravcikova||1:00.91||23|
|100 Breast||Samara Gelb||1:02.09||41|
|100 Back||Jenny Connolly||52.10||4|
|100 Back||Morgan Farrell||54.16||38|
|100 Back||Tricia Weaner||54.21||40|
|1650 Free||Aleksa Akerfelds||16:02.78||9|
|200 Back||Tricia Weaner||1:55.55||30|
|200 Back||Jenny Connolly||1:55.84||34|
|200 Back||Kelsey Floyd||1:55.92||36|
|100 Free||Michele King||48.91||16|
|200 Breast||Samara Gelb||2:10.34||13|
|200 Breast||Martina Moravcikova||2:12.39||34|
|200 Breast||Alex Barsanti||2:12.67||37|
|200 Breast||Breanna Folk||2:13.45||39|
|200 Breast||Jamie Saffer||2:13.50||40|
|200 Free Relay||Tennessee||1:30.04||14|
|400 Medley Relay||Tennessee||3:34.40||11|
|200 Medley Relay||Tennessee||1:37.32||2|