KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Four University of Arkansas swimmers excelled at Thursday’s morning session of the SEC Championships at the Jones Aquatic Center, and will move on to the finals this evening. Three Razorbacks moved on in the 500 freestyle, and one in the 200 IM.
Junior Chelsea Franklin led the morning session for Arkansas and qualified for the finals of the 500 freestyle for the second straight year. The All-American stopped the clock in 4:44.81, earning 11th place. Senior Alison Templin was not far behind Franklin, swimming a 14th-place 4:48.51, and sophomore Nicole Menzel rounded out Arkansas’ finals qualifiers in the event with a time of 4:50.41, good for 16th. Templin’s mark was a season-best.
Freshman Susanna White earned her first career SEC Championships finals qualification with a strong swim in the 200 IM. White clocked a career-best 2:00.91, edging out several close finishers in a race that saw some of the fastest times in the country set.
"Our goal was to have as many swimmers reach the finals as possible," said Arkansas head coach Jeff Poppell of this morning’s session. "I think we did a good job of that."
Although the world-class field did not allow them to advance to the finals, senior Sarah Howard (4:54.40) and freshman Allison Boyle (4:55.25) both swam season-best times in the 500 freestyle. Seniors Jillienne Schilling and Lisa Lunkenheimer, and freshmen Nikki Daniels and Julia Banach, each posted season-best times in the 200 IM.
This evening’s finals sessions are set to begin at 5 p.m. The Razorback divers will be competing on the three-meter board for preliminaries this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. For more information about Razorback swimming and diving, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.