FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas swimming and diving team joined the College Swimming Coaches Association of America rankings Friday at No. 25 before welcoming Vanderbilt to the Arkansas Natatorium for Senior Day on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
The Lady Razorbacks joined the top 25 for the first time in 16 years.
“We’re ecstatic to be ranked in the top 25 in the nation,” said head coach Jeff Poppell. “We’re very happy that the rest of the country is noticing the improvement of our program. Our focus now is to keep moving up the ladder.”
The last swimming and diving squad to be ranked in the top 25 was the 1991-92 team who made it as high as No. 13. The best ranking ever achieved by the program was 11th in 1990.
Arkansas takes its national recognition into Saturday’s final home meet of the season against Southeastern Conference opponent Vanderbilt. Saturday’s meet is also a day to recognize the Lady’Backs’ three seniors – Emily Gregory, Katie McGraw and Tifanie Silver – as they compete in the last home meet of their career.
“We’re very excited about the upcoming meet with Vanderbilt and more important we’re excited about the opportunity to honor our seniors in their last home meet as Lady Razorbacks,” Poppell said. “We’re looking forward to swimming in front of a home crowd after being away for the last three months.”
The Lady’Backs face their third SEC team this Saturday, posting an 0-2 conference record so far with loses to then No. 1 Georgia and No. 7 Florida. Arkansas is 6-2 overall which is the most wins the program has had since 2001-02 when Arkansas finished 8-4 in dual meets.
The Lady’Backs come into Saturday’s meet having upset then-18th-ranked Missouri on the road last weekend. The Lady’Backs swept the double-dual meet defeating Missouri State 247-53, which marked the highest dual-meet score in the history of the program.
Vanderbilt is the only non-top 25 team Arkansas faces in the second half of its season. The Commodores are 0-7 in dual meets, but freshman Leigh-Ann Axt should give the Lady’Backs a run for their money leading Vanderbilt with 12 individual wins and top times in five events.
Arkansas is led by freshman Katie Kastes who has nine wins and set three school records this season.
Admission to Saturday’s meet is free to the public.
For more information about Arkansas swimming and diving, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.