ATHENS, Ga. – The Arkansas swimming and diving team began championship season Tuesday evening, participating in night one of the SEC Championships. The championship meet, held at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., runs through Saturday evening. Arkansas’ performance included a school-record time in the 800-yard freestyle relay.
“It was a good start,” head coach Sean Schimmel said. “The 200 medley relay was really good. It’s a different relay than we had last year with some different people on there. Getting what we got in that 200 medley was good. We had some people go faster, so some good things really showed up in that. Then the 800 freestyle relay, that was certainly the highlight of tonight. Those four girls really came together. All four of them swam really well. We got a team record by a couple of seconds. That was pretty sharp. I feel like we’re off to a pretty good start right now. We’ve got a lot of swimming left this week. So we’ll get up tomorrow morning and get it done in prelims.”
The relay team of Anna Mayfield (San Antonio, Texas), Rachel Stoehr (Lake Forest, Ill.), Lauren Jordan (Carmel, Ind.), and Nicole Menzel (Hilton Head, S.C.) set a new program record in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:08.61. The time cut 2.26 seconds off the previous record and earned the Razorbacks fifth place overall.
The team kicked off swimming events with a season-best NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 1:38.49 in the 200 medley relay. Mayfield, juniors Nikki Daniels (Wichita, Kan.) and Susanna White (Forest, Va.), and sophomore Nina Drolc (Velenje, Slovenia) each contributed to the team’s eighth-place finish overall. The time also ranked as the second-fastest in Arkansas history.
On the diving side, senior Kesha Naylor (Saskatchewan, Canada) scored 14 points for the Razorbacks with a 13th-place finish on the one-meter springboard. Naylor’s score of 271.25 was her eighth NCAA zone-qualifying score this season.
Arkansas finished day one in ninth-place after the first finals session with a total of 108 points.
The team returns to action tomorrow morning with competitors in four events. The 500 freestyle is scheduled to feature Mayfield, Menzel, Stoehr, Jordan, freshman Leia Bates (San Antonio, Texas), senior Julia Kucherich (York, Pa.), and freshman Aiden Lister (Toowoomba, Australia). The 200 individual medley slates White, junior Julia Banach (Eilat, Isreal), sophomores Maddie Monroe (Godfrey, Ill.) and Erika McGovern (Tulsa, Okla.), and freshmen Mary Margaret Soderberg (San Antonio, Texas), Sarah Easterling (Cumberland, Maine) and Anna Williams (Naperville, Ill.). The 50 freestyle participants include White, Drolc, Monroe, Daniels, Soderberg and senior Shelby Cox (Little Rock, Ark.). The evening will end with the 200 freestyle relay.
Swimming prelims begin at 9 a.m. CT Wednesday through Saturday followed by diving prelims at noon. Finals will begin at 5 p.m.
Live streaming of the finals sessions will be available beginning at 5 p.m. Links to the live streams will be posted at ArkansasRazorbacks.com as they become available before competition. A 90-minute highlight show of the women’s competition will air on ESPNU on March 4 at 4:30 p.m.
Click here to access Championship Central and click herefor live results.
For more information on Arkansas swimming and diving, follow @RazorbackSwim on Twitter.
200 Medley Relay (Finals)
8th – Mayfield, Daniels, White, Drolc (1:38.49) @^
800 Freestyle Relay (Finals)
5th — Mayfield, Stoehr, Jordan, Menzel (7:08.61) @!
One-Meter Diving (Prelims)
13th — Kesha Naylor (271.25) Q
27th — Shelby Bartlett (229.70)
30th — Hannah Bortnick (217.40)
@ – NCAA ‘B’ time
Q — NCAA zone-qualifying score
! — Arkansas record
^ – Arkansas top-five time