Oct. 28, 2010
By Todd Mounce, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Lady Vol swimming and diving team will hit the road for the first time during its 2010-11 campaign, as the Big Orange travels to "The Bluegrass State" for dual meets against the University of the Cumberlands on Friday and SEC rival Kentucky on Saturday.
Friday will only be the second meeting between the Lady Vols and the Cumberlands. In 2008, the Patriots invaded Rocky Top, with Tennessee prevailing by a score of 101-27. UC holds a perfect 2-0 dual meet record this season, as the squad knocked off Union College and the University of the South.
"The Cumberlands is a really strong NAIA team and they have some really good athletes," Lady Vol head swimming coach Matt Kredich said. "We'll get a chance to work on speed there and expect some good competition."
Lady Vol Head Swimming Coach Matt Kredich
Heading into Saturday, the Lady Vols and Kentucky have met 28 times and every year since 1988. UT holds a commanding 26-2 series record against the Wildcats, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 193-103 victory for the Big Orange last season.
This season, UK possesses a 2-1 overall record, as the team has wins over Southern Illinois and Missouri, but dropped its most recent dual meet to Indiana.
"We have a great rivalry with Kentucky in the time that I've been here," Kredich said. "They have beaten us at SECs a couple of times and they came in here and beat us at our invitational last year. We have gotten the better of them at dual meets, but they love to race us and we love to race them, so we expect a great meet and a lot of good performances."
To start the season, UT (2-0 overall, 1-0 SEC) has defeated Arkansas and Louisville at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in dominating fashion. The team won 13 of 16 events in both duals and the Southeastern Conference has taken notice of some individual performances.
Sophomore Kelsey Floyd was named SEC Swimmer of the Week following the dual against the Razorbacks, as she used NCAA B-cut times to nab the top spots in the 100y fly and 200y fly and added wins in two relay events. Most recently, redshirt freshman Tori Lamp was tabbed the SEC Diver of the Week for her efforts against the Cardinals, as she swept the diving events and improved her zone qualifying scores on both boards.
Against Louisville, freshman Lindsay Gendron continued to impress, as the Bloomington, Ill., grabbed victories in the 200y (1:47.98), 500y (4:51.47), and 1000y (10:03.30) free events. Fellow freshman Mary Kate McNeilis joined Gendron on the victorious all-freshman 400y free relay (3:26.35) and added individual victories in the 50y (23.65) and 100y (51.10) frees.
"We are really strong at the top end of just about every event and we have depth across all the events," Kredich said. "What we saw a little bit more in the second meet was our second, third and fourth finishers are pretty close to the top also. That is the kind of depth we've been looking for and we really haven't had much of."
It will be a bit of a homecoming for Floyd on Saturday, as the Lexington, Ky., native will look to continue her dominance. Versus the Cardinals, she broke the AJIAC 200y fly record with a mark of 1:58.80. The first-place time was .16 seconds better than teammate Brooke Watson's old mark set last February.
Connolly swam NCAA Zone-B cut times in the 100y back (54.61) and 100y fly (54.47) to win both events and swam the lead leg on the victorious 200y medley relay (1:41.41). Akerfelds and Higdon both had runner-up finishes, as Akerfelds took second in the 500y (4:59.71) and 1000y (10:17.19) frees, while Higdon touched in at 2:05.27 in the 200y IM.
Along with Lamp on the boards, junior Gabrielle Trudeau also qualified for zone on the 1-meter board. The Montreal, Canada, native has a pair of runner-up finishes on the 1-meter, with her highest score of 277.95 coming last week against Louisville.
The divers will not compete on Friday against the Cumberlands, but face an NCAA qualifier on Saturday at Kentucky.
"Kentucky's top diver Lisa Faulkner qualified for the NCAAs last year and now has a season under her belt in the SEC, so I expect her to be extremely tough," Tennessee diving coach Dave Parrington said. "We will be coming in with quite a few divers, so we will come at them with depth and hopefully handle them in a manner I see fit."
The dual against UC is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. at the Dinah Taylor Aquatic Center. Saturday's 10 a.m. SEC showdown in Lexington will mark the home opener for the Wildcats at the Lancaster Aquatic Center.