Arkansas swimming and diving traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Southeastern Conference Championship Feb. 20-23.
Arkansas equaled its best finish ever, placing 7th. The Lady Razorbacks crushed nine school records and had nine NCAA automatic qualifying times and 18 “B”-cut times in the four-day championship. Auburn won the SEC title for the second year in a row, followed by Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU. Alabama, South Carolina and Vanderbilt finished 8th-10th.
SECs Day One
The Lady Razorbacks broke the school record in the 200 medley relay (1:41.73), the 800 freestyle relay (7:1914) and the 200 free. Freshman Katie Kastes split time in the 200 free was 1:48.57.
SECs Day Two
Katie Kastes set a school record in the 500 free with a fifth-place finish in 4:43.93. Junior Stephanie Carr also scored, finishing 10th with a 4:44.06. Both times were automatic qualifiers. Freshman Ashley Largo touched in with a “B”-cut time of 4:53.88.
SECs Day Three
Katie Kastes touched in fourth in the 400 individual medley with a school record 4:13.16. Freshman Jamie Marks finished eighth, but her best time was in the prelims with a “B” cut 4:16.34. Arkansas set the school record in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:43.74. The relay was a “B” cut as well as Summer Jackson’s time of 1:03.67 in the 100 breaststroke and Carr’s time of 1:50.03 in the 200 free.
SECs Day Four
Katie Kastes saved her best finish for the 200 butterfly in the final day. She finished third with a school-record, “A”-cut time of 1:57.87. Freshman Erica Totten placed 14th and had a “B”-cut time of 2:01.90 in the prelims. Gregory also had a provisional qualifying time of 2:02.26. In the 1,650 free, Carr and Largo both touched in with automatic qualifiers placing sixth and 10th, respectively. Carr’s time of 16:12.90 set the school record. Marks and freshman Shara Sutphen finished 11th and 16th, respectively with “B” cuts. Freshman Erin Nuemann had a “B” cut 2:18.14 in the 200 breast.
Bringing their “A” game
Kastes (500 free, 200 fly, 400 IM), Carr (500 free, 1,650 free) and Largo (1,650 free) have automatic qualifying times to compete in the NCAA Championships March 20-22.
Who’s getting B’s?
Arkansas accumulated 38 NCAA “B” Cuts this season. Kastes has nine, Carr owns seven, Totten and Marks have four, Largo and have Gregory three and Jackson, Neumann and Sutphen touched in with one.
Palmer breaks school record
Junior diver Madison Palmer set a school record with a win on the one-meter springboard on Jan. 19. She had a personal-best score of 318.82. Palmer’s score on the one meter is first in the SEC.
No. 25 Arkansas
The Lady Razorbacks joined the top 25 for the first time in 16 years on Jan. 18. The last swimming and diving squad to be ranked in the top 25 was the 1991-92 team who made it as high as No. 13. The best ranking ever achieved by the program was 11th in 1990.
Lady’Backs still getting votes
Although Arkansas fell out of the top 25, they still received 38 votes in the last poll on Feb. 15.
Arkansas with six wins
The Lady’Backs finished the dual-meet season with a 6-5 overall record a 1-3 record in the SEC. Six wins is the most the program has had since 2001-02 when Arkansas finished 8-4 in dual meets.
Arkansas’ 151-149 win over Missouri was overturned recently. There was an error in the meet management. A mistake was made in the awarding of third place in the 200 medley relay to Arkansas and that it should have been awarded to Mizzou. As a result, Mizzou received two points and two points were taken away from Arkansas, awarding the team victory to the Tigers.
What a tough schedule
Five of Arkansas’ dual-meet opponents this season were ranked in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Top 25. Auburn (5), Georgia (1), Florida (3), Missouri (21) and Florida State (22) sit amidst the nation’s best. California (8), Minnesota (9), Tennessee (7), Penn State (13) and Indiana (19), five teams Arkansas competed against at the Hoosierland Open Invitational, are also ranked.
Kastes boasts 10 wins
Katie Kastes leads the Lady’Backs with 10 wins this season. Also tallying individual victories for Arkansas is Palmer with eight, Carr and Marks with seven, Gregory with four, Lynette Ng with three, freshman Ashley Largo with two and Jackson, McGraw, Silver and Sutphen with one.
Totten wins three medals at the Southeast Asian Games
Erica Totten earned a silver medal and broke the Philippians’ national record in the 200-meter butterfly with a personal-best time of 2:16.79 at the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand in December. Totten took bronze medals in the 200-meter freestyle and the 4×100 free relay.
Katie Kastes, Freshman of the Week – Nov. 20
Kastes broke three school records, had an NCAA “A” cut time and three “B” cuts. She finished second in the 200 fly, first in prelims. Both times were school records. Her prelim time of 1:58.98 stands as the record. Kastes placed third in the 400 IM with a time of 4:20.70, setting another school record. Her time is fifth in the SEC. Kastes’ swam the100 fly time in 55.05, posting her third school record.
Madison Palmer, Diver of the Week – Nov. 20
Palmer placed third on the three meter with a 283.20 after finishing first in both the prelims and the semis. Her best score was 284.30 in the prelims. She finished third on the one meter, recording a season best of 287.90. Palmer also had a career-best score of 210.60 on the platform with a sixth-place finish.
That was a close one
Arkansas’ 150.5-149.5 triumph against Kansas marks one of the closest wins in school history. The only other one-point win came during the 1983-84 season against Missouri when the Lady’Backs defeated the Tigers 57-56.
Altitude time conversions
All of the times from Arkansas’ meet at Denver were adjusted due to the level of altitude. According to the NCAA, it allows times achieved at an altitude of 3,000 feet or higher to be converted to faster times. .10 seconds were taken off for 100-yard events, 1.2 for 200 yards, 5.0 for 400-500 yards and 20.0 seconds for 1,650 yards.
Arkansas goes 2-for-3 in SEC weekly awards
Palmer earned SEC Diver of the Week honors and Ka. Kastes earned Freshman of the Week honors Tuesday, Oct. 16. The duo went 6-for-6 in the events they competed, contributing 56 points to Arkansas’ 210 team total against the Mean Green. Palmer and Kastes marked the first time two Lady’Backs won SEC swimming and diving honors in the same week.
Madison Palmer, SEC Diver of the Week – Week 1
Palmer, an Olathe, Kan., native, qualified for the NCAA Zone meet on both the one- and three-meter springboards Oct. 12. Palmer swept the diving events, winning the one meter with a score of 283.70, eight points shy of her career best, and placing first on the three meter with a 286.85.
Katie Kastes, SEC Freshman of the Week – Week 1
In Kastes’ first competition as a Lady’Back, she broke the school record, earned a ‘B’ cut time and life-time best time of 2:01.63 with a first-place finish in the 200 butterfly. She beat her nearest opponent by almost three seconds. The Palm Harbor, Fla., product also touched in first in the 100 fly with a time of 56.26 to sweep the butterfly events. She was not done there, winning the 200 individual medley by almost two seconds with another personal-best time of 2:05.90 before she anchored the 200-freestyle relay squad to a victory.
Leading the 13 returning Lady’Backs are this year’s seniors, Emily Gregory, Katie McGraw and Tifanie Silver. Joining the roster are 12 newcomers including all-Americans, state champions and U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers.
The 2007-08 recruiting class was ranked fifth in the nation by CollegeSwimming.com. Four incoming freshman, Marks, Largo, Kastes and Totten, were named to the CollegeSwimming.com Top 100 Recruits list.