WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.– University of Arkansas collected NCAA ‘B cut times for one 400 medley relay team, five 500 freestyle swimmers and a new school record at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center of Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., on Friday.
After day one, the Hogs sit in first place with 224.5 points followed by No. 20 Louisville with 203.5. No. 13 Michigan is currently in fifth after 12 events.
With seven heat of the 500 freestyle during the preliminary session, five Razorbacks earned NCAA ‘B’ standard qualifying times while nine made their way into the finals session Friday evening. Nicole Menzel, Chelsea Franklin, Jamie Marks, Sigrun Sverrisdottir and Alison Templin each swam their way to qualifying times. Franklin set a new school record in the 500 free during the finals of the race. Her time of 4:42.43 beats the previous record set by Stephanie Carr in 2009.
"We had four girls in the 500 free that were faster than our fastest time last year," head coach Jeff Poppell said. "So I couldn’t be any happier and we have two more days to build on that," Poppell said.
Menzel’s time of 4:47.31 was the top time going into the finals session. She came back to place sixth in her final heat behind Marks who was fifth with a time of 4:45.37. Carly Mercer picked up a season best time in the 50 free when she finished a B-finals time of 23.22 to finish first in her heat and set a new career-best time.
Jillienne Schilling won her heat during prelims in the 200 IM. Her time of 2:04.51 earned her a spot in the evening session where she stopped the clock in 2:04.69. Julia Kucherich clocked 2:03.56 in the A finals heat after finishing third in her heat during prelims.
"We are sitting first in team points," Poppell said. "It was just a true team effort. The swimmers did a great job; the divers did a fantastic job as well. That’s what we’ve been striving for the past four years."
Three of the four Razorbacks’ divers made it to the finals on the three-meter board. Kesha Naylor finished fifth with 286.95, while Alex Roman was sixth and Liana Bugslag was seventh, overall.
The last event of the night brought an NCAA ‘B cut time for Haley Smith, Erin Neumann, Katie Whitbeck and Carly Mercer in the 400 medley relay. The team posted 3:42.95 for third in the event.
The Razorbacks are back at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center on Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m. CT.