COLUMBUS, OHIO – Four members of the University of Arkansas swimming and diving team compete at the 2008 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships beginning Thursday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on the campus of Ohio State. The Lady Razorbacks are represented by juniors Stephanie Carr and Madison Palmer and freshmen Katie Kastes and Ashley Largo.
“We’re thrilled that we have three swimmers and one diver competing at the championships,” said head coach Jeff Poppell. “There are a number of teams in the top 25 that have no one qualified for the meet. We had to put a very large emphasis on the SEC Championship just to qualify for the NCAA meet. Our goal at NCAA’s is to try to equal if not better our times at SEC’s.”
2008 marks the first trip to the NCAA Championship for every student-athlete but Carr. The Jacksonville, Fla., competed at the championships twice before as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs swim team. Carr’s best finish was eighth in the 500 freestyle in 2005. That same year, she placed ninth in the 1,650 free. At Arkansas, Carr shattered both of those career-best times and is seeded 13th going into the 1,650-free event. She is also set to compete in the 500 and 200 frees.
Carr holds school records for the 1,000 and 1,650 frees and has the second fastest time in the 500 free. Carr, along with Kastes, is also a member of the 800-free relay team with the best time in program history.
Kastes is seeded 16th in the 200 butterfly and will also swim the 500 free and the 400 individual medley. As a freshman, the Palm Harbor, Fla., product broke school records in the 200 and 500 frees, the 100 and 200 butterflies and the 400 IM. She is also a member of the school-record-holder 200- and 400-medley relay squads. She finished a team-best third in the 200 fly at the SEC Championship and also finished in the top five in the 500 free and the 400 IM.
Largo boasts the third-best time in program history in the 1,000 free. She is set to compete in the 1,650 free and the 500 free. From Sarasota, Fla., Largo touched in with her qualifying time at the SEC Championship with a 10th-place finish in the 1,650 free.
Palmer earned her trip to the championships this past Sunday after placing fourth on the one-meter springboard at the NCAA Zone D Diving Meet. Palmer was one of just eight from the regional meet that qualified for NCAA’s. She holds the school record on the one meter and is second on the one meter in championships. The Olathe, Kan., native will dive on the one and three meter springboards in Columbus.
This year’s NCAA Championships are held at Ohio State for the first time and get underway on Thursday. The Lady’Backs compete in the 500 free and one-meter diving events Thursday. The 400 IM, 200 free and three meter are on Friday and on Saturday is the 1,650 free. The top 16 finishers in each event score points towards a team score.
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