BLOOMINGTON, IND. – University of Arkansas freshman swimmer Katie Kastes qualified for the NCAA Championships with an “A” cut time in the 200 butterfly Saturday in the final day of competition at the Hoosierland Open Invitational in Bloomington, Ind.
Kastes’ qualifying time in the 200 fly beat her own school record set earlier this season. She touched in first in the prelims with a career-best time of 1:58.98. The Palm Harbor, Fla., native finished second in the finals of the event with a 1:59.58.
Junior Stephanie Carr earned the only first-place finish of any Lady Razorback this weekend with a time of 16:24.61 in the 1,650 freestyle. Carr’s time was a season-best and just over one second away from automatically qualifying her for NCAAs.
“We have a totally different team than we’ve had in the past and it’s really exciting to see our swimmers and divers competing with the best teams in the country,” said head coach Jeff Poppell. “We got better each night of finals and the last night was tremendous.”
Freshman Ashley Largo got in the ‘B’ cut club, turning in a career-best 16:49.92 with a fifth-place finish in the 1,650 free. She was followed by freshman Shara Sutphen (17:18.88) and junior Macey Webb (17:38.14) who both had personal best times.
Every swimmer in the 200 backstroke touched in with career-bests as well including freshman Jessie Clark (2:07.48), senior Tifanie Silver (2:09.98), junior Dashya Kimmel (2:12.69), sophomore Allison Chinn (2:15.01) and freshman Gina Bargiachi (2:23.74).
The 100 free saw much of the same success. Junior Summer Jackson led the way with a season-best time of 51.79. Sophomore Lynette Ng (52.26), senior Emily Gregory, Silver (52.98), freshman Megan Haskins (53.36) and Webb (53.76) all earned individual bests in the event.
Freshman Erin Neumann paced the Lady’Backs in the 200 breaststroke with a personal-best time of 2:22.62. Freshman Brittany Kimmitt’s time was close, with a 2:23.26, while senior Katie McGraw touched in with a 2:23.89 in the prelims.
In the 200 fly, Kastes held the spotlight, but Gregory was right on her tail, turning in a career-best 2:02.41 in the prelims. The Burnsville, Minn., product placed seventh in the event with a 2:02.90 in the finals.
The Lady’Backs finished the meet earning their best time of the season in the 400 free relay. The squad of Ng, Jackson, Gregory and Kastes finished fifth with a 3:29.51.
On the diving end, juniors Hilarie Wilson and Madison Palmer placed fifth and sixth, respectively, on the platform. Wilson scored a 211.80 and Palmer had a career-best 210.60.
“We couldn’t be any prouder of our team and we’re looking forward to even more improvements over the next three months as we get ready for the SEC Championships,” said Poppell.
Arkansas swimming and diving takes a break from competition over the holidays and returns to action Jan. 5 with a meet against No. 7 Florida and Indian River Community College in Gainesville, Fla.
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