Campus News

SEC Champions: Kentucky Women’s Swimming and Diving Wins 1st SEC Championship

Photo provided by UK Athletics
Photo provided by UK Athletics.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 24, 2021) — For the first time in school history, the No. 3 University of Kentucky women’s swimming and diving team has won the Southeastern Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. The Wildcats broke five school records and produced 12 podium finishes throughout the meet, collecting 1,124 points for their highest score in program history. 

Kentucky set itself up for success during the Saturday morning session after every single swimmer who competed in preliminaries earned a trip to that night's finals, creating 20 scoring opportunities down the stretch. Thirteen swimmers earned a combined 14 personal records on Saturday, while 39 personal records were set throughout the meet.  

“This championship means a lot,” said Head Coach Lars Jorgensen. “We’ve been building this over a few years now, and it’s about the people in front of us that helped build our program. The alumni from years passed established it, our coaching staff, our administration. So many people had terrific effort this weekend, it was really fantastic. I couldn’t be more thrilled for our institution and for our girls. What a great moment.” 

Kentucky set the pace early on in finals, earning a 2-3 finish in the 200 backstroke.  

Sophie Sorenson claimed the first individual podium finish at the SEC Championships in her career, collecting the silver medal in the event on a personal record 1:50.94. The time is the fourth fastest in UK history. Caitlin Brooks followed her pace, earning her second individual podium finish of the meet with a bronze medal after touching the wall in 1:51.96.  

Following the opening event, two swimmers went on to break school records in the next two events. 

Riley Gaines broke the school record in the 100 freestyle for the third time this season, doing so in 48.21 and earning sixth place overall in the conference. In the next race, Gillian Davey broke the school record in the 200 breaststroke on a time of 2:05.59. With that time, she also earned her second silver medal of the meet and met the 2021 NCAA Championships “A” time standard. 

Two other swimmers stepped up in the 200 breaststroke to win the “B” final and the “C” final on personal records. Jaclyn Hill won the “B” final for ninth place on a time of 2:08.62, while Anna Havens Rice, just a freshman, won the “C” final for 17th place on a time of 2:10.21. 

In the final individual event of the meet, the 200 butterfly, Gaines brought home fourth place on a personal record 1:55.10, while Izzy Gati finished in seventh place in 1:56.00. 

On the men’s diving side, Danny Zhang earned his second podium finish of the meet, collecting a silver medal in the men’s platform event on a score of 403.20. It marked his second-best performance of the season on the discipline. Chase Lane, competing in the final SEC Championships of his career, finished in fifth place overall on a score of 345.40. 

The men’s diving scores from this week will be combined with the men’s swimming scores at the 2021 SEC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 23-26, in Columbia, Missouri. 

The No. 3 Kentucky women’s swimming and diving statistics are as follows: 

Medal Count: 12 

Gold: 3 

Lauren Poole (400 IM, 4:03.90) 

Riley Gaines (200 free, 1:42.70) 

800 freestyle relay, 6:58.58 

 

Silver: 3 

Gillian Davey (200 breast, 2:05.59) 

Gillian Davey (400 IM, 4:05.96) 

Sophie Sorenson (200 back, 1:50.94) 

 

Bronze: 6 

Izzy Gati (100 fly, 51.74) 

Caitlin Brooks (100 back, 51.63) 

Caitlin Brooks (200 back, 1:51.96) 

Kyndal Knight (platform, 275.65) 

200 med-r, 1:35.87 

400 med-r, 3:30.44 

 

School Record Count: 5 

Gillian Davey (200 breast, 2:05.59) 

Lauren Poole (400 IM, 4:03.90) 

Riley Gaines (100 free, 48.21) 

Riley Gaines (200 free, 1:42.70) 

200 med-r, 1:35.87 

 

2021 NCAA Championships Automatic Qualifications Count: 5 

Riley Gaines (200 free, 1:42.70) 

Gillian Davey (200 breast, 2:05.59) 

200 med-r, 1:35.87 

400 med-r, 3:30.44 

800 freestyle relay, 6:58.58 

 

Team Scores 

PLACE    TEAM                   POINTS 

1.            Kentucky            1124 

2.            Florida                1071 

3.            Georgia              999 

4.            Alabama            973 

5.            Tennessee         934 

6.            Texas A&M        839 

7.            Missouri             614.5 

8.            Arkansas            595 

9.            Auburn               510 

10.         LSU                     390.5 

11.         South Carolina    276 

12.         Vanderbilt            154 

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