FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas freshman swimmer Katie Kastes and junior diver Madison Palmer were named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week and Diver of the Week, the league announced Tuesday. Kastes and Palmer earned the honors for the second time this season.
Kastes broke three school records, had an NCAA automatic qualifying time and three “B” cut times. The Palm Harbor, Fla., native finished second in the 200 butterfly and first in prelims. Both times were school records. Her prelim time of 1:58.98 stands as the record, was an NCAA “A” cut time, and is tops in the SEC. Kastes placed third in the 400 individual medley with a “B” cut time of 4:20.70, setting another school record by almost three seconds. Her time in the 400 IM is fifth in the SEC. Kastes’ 100-fly time of 55.05 was another “B” cut time and her third school record set this past weekend. Kastes swam the 500 free for the first time in her career, earning her third “B” cut time of 4:53.18.
“Katie has been phenomenal,” said head coach Jeff Poppell. “She really has outperformed our expectations early on. For a freshman to come in and have the fastest time in the SEC in the 200 fly is remarkable. She’s tough and works extremely hard. It’s really nice to see that hard work pay off with the recognition that she’s getting from the SEC.”
Palmer placed third on the three-meter springboard with a score of 283.20. She finished first in both the prelims and the semis of the event and her best score came in the prelims with a 284.30. The Olathe, Kan., product finished third on the one meter, recording a season-best score of 287.90 in the semis. Palmer also had a career-best score of 210.60 on the platform with a sixth-place finish.
“Madison did very well and she just continues to get better as the season goes on,” said Poppell. “She’s someone we’re counting on heavily at the end of the season at SECs and possibly NCAAs. The fact that she’s competing as well as she is right now, gains her a ton of confidence that will help her down the road.”
Arkansas swimming and diving returns to competition after the holidays on Jan. 5, facing No. 7 Florida and Indian River Community College in Gainesville, Fla.
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