March 15, 2012
AUBURN, Ala., - The University of Tennessee Lady Vol swimming & diving team kicked off the 2012 NCAA Championships in style, qualifying for the championship finals in three events after the swimming portion of morning prelims concluded at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
The Big Orange got the national meet off to a blazing start, setting a UT record in the 200y free after touching in at 1:28.37. The mark ranked seventh in the prelims and advances the quartet of Jenny Connolly, Kelsey Floyd, Kate McNeilis and Caroline Simmons into this evening's championship finals.
The previous event record was set at the 2012 SEC Championships, where Simmons, McNeilis, Connolly and Lindsay Gendron registered a mark of 1:28.86. Tennessee's best finish in the 200y FR at NCAAs is sixth, as the squad placed sixth on three occasions, most recently in 1989.
Simmons will be busy tonight after swimming the eight-fastest time in the 50y free prelims, touching in at 22.05 seconds. The mark ranks third on the UT performers list and is the ninth fastest in Tennessee history.
The morning session concluded just as it started, with Tennessee again sending a relay to the championship finals, this time in the 400y medley relay. Consisting of Lauren Solernou, Molly Hannis, Floyd and Simmons, the quartet notched a clocking of 3:31.24, which is the third-best readout in the Lady Vol record books.
Gendron was also in action for the 500y free on day one of the meet. The sophomore finished with a mark of 4:44.11, good for 31st. Last season at the national championships held in Austin, Texas, she recorded a time of 4:44.17.
Redshirt junior Jodie McGroarty and redshirt sophomore Tori Lamp will look to add to the total of Lady Vols competing in the finals. The duo will take to the 1-meter boards this afternnon, with the top eight qualifying for the `A' finals. Spots 9-16 will participate in the consolation finals that will begin immediately after prelims.