GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The 18th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks swam to an eighth-place finish at the 2011 edition of the Southeastern Conference Championships on Saturday evening with 210 points.
After 14 Hogs made finals, Arkansas finished with a seven-day total of 210 points including diving and swimming competition. The Hogs set three new school records in the 100 free, the 500 free and the 200 backstroke.
"I don’t think we could have done anything differently," Arkansas coach Jeff Poppell said. "I am very proud of the girls. They overcame a lot of adversity in the two weeks leading into the meet. The way they handled it and performed this week is a true testament to their character and heart."
In the 1650 freestyle, sophomore Chelsea Franklin finished sixth overall with a career-best time of 16:09.18. Her time is the third best in Razorback history only behind senior Jamie Marks’ top-two times in UA history. Four other Hogs scored in the event for Arkansas. Junior Alison Templin stopped the clock at 16:19.31, good for 12th in the SEC, while freshman Nicole Menzel was 13th with a time of 16:20.34. Ashley Largo was 15th and Sigrun Sverrisdottir finished 16th in the conference.
In the 200 backstroke, freshman Liz Braun finished 12th when she stopped the clock at 1:56.94, tying her record-breaking time from Saturday’s morning session, while Haley Smith was 15th overall. Smith was broke the school record in the morning session, but it only lasted until the end of Braun’s race in the next heat.
Carly Mercer was the only Razorback to compete in the 100 free. The freshman has had a record-breaking swim in the morning session with 49.99. She finished in 16th during finals with 50.80. Mercer’s 100 free record is the first to make it onto the record list in the event in eight years.
Junior Katie Whitbeck and senior Erin Neumann finished 14th and 16th, respectively in the 200 butterfly. Whitbeck clocked 2:00.88 in the consolation finals after finishing ninth overall during prelims. Neumann earned a time of 2:01.83 in her last conference swim as a Razorback.
To conclude the 2011 SEC Championships, Mercer, Sigrun Sverrisdottir, Nicole Menzel and Katie Whitbeck clocked 3:22.17 in the 400 free relay. That time earned the Hogs seventh overall. Auburn won the final event of the evening session with a time of 3:13.02. Mercer’s 100 free lead-off time was a new school record, improving on her time from the morning session.
The Razorbacks now head to the NCAA Last Chance meet in Athens, Ga., Feb. 26-27.
2011 SEC Championship Team Finishes1. Georgia – 7202. Florida – 6783. Auburn – 5634. Tennessee – 466.55. Louisiana State – 3936. South Carolina – 2527. Kentucky – 2368. ARKANSAS – 2109. Alabama – 185.510. Vanderbilt – 78