COLUMBIA, Mo. – Bolstered by a top-five finish in the 1-meter diving finals and an NCAA ‘A’ cut in the 800 free relay, the Arkansas swimming and diving team sits tied for eighth with 112 points following day one of the SEC Championships.
After the first round of the 1-meter diving preliminaries, Nicole Gillis found herself in 38th place. But the sophomore came back with five strong dives, totaling 283.50 points en route to a sixth-place finish and a spot in the finals.
In the finals later in the evening, Gillis turned in an even better performance. She placed fifth with a personal-best 310.00 points, tallying 25 points for the Razorbacks.
“We’re all really proud of Nicole’s performance today,” Arkansas swimming and diving head coach Sean Schimmel said. “After being down early, she continued to get better throughout the day. So it was great to see her finish strong like that.”
The 200 medley relay team of senior Anna Mayfield, freshman Madison Strathman, junior Natalie Burnett and senior Nina Drolc opened the swimming competition with a ninth-place finish, clocking the third-best time in program history (1:38.63).
The Razorbacks closed out the first day of competition in the 800 free relay. The senior trio of Mayfield, Drolc and Maddie Monroe and sophomore Chelsea Tatlow placed seventh in the event (7:06.08), the second-best mark in program history, and the squad’s first ‘A’ cut of the season.
With the qualifying time, Mayfield and Drolc have now each qualified for four NCAA Championships. They join Missy Allert (1990-93) as the only three swimmers in program history to accomplish that feat.
“All of our relay swimmers swam really well,” Schimmel said. “Getting that ‘A’ cut is a big deal and will definitely help us this week. It was a really good first day for us, and I’m proud of our overall performance.”
Day two begins with prelims at 10 a.m. and will feature the 500 freestyle, 200 IM and 50 freestyle. Finals for the three events as well as the 200 freestyle relay will begin at 6 p.m.
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