Columbia, Mo. – The Arkansas swimming and diving team closed competition at the 2016 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday at the Mizzou Aquatic Center in Columbia, Missouri.
Over the course of the five-day meet the Razorbacks produced 30 lifetime-best times, clocked 44 NCAA “B” cut times and an NCAA “A” cut time in the 800 free relay. The team finished the meet in ninth place with a total of 491 points, which is the third-highest point total at the SEC Championships in program history and the most since 594 in 2013. The Razorbacks have now eclipsed the 400-point plateau in three straight seasons.
“We had a lot of good things happen this week, including a lot of awesome performances,” Arkansas swimming and diving head coach Sean Schimmel said. “There were some spots where things didn’t go our way. But it was a long week, and that’s part of the experience. I’m very proud of our team and how they supported each other. We have a great team dynamic, and that helped them stay strong all the way through.”
The Razorbacks qualified for all individual swimming finals in a fast last day of preliminaries. Six personal records fell across the four events.
To kick off the evening, senior Anna Mayfield touched the wall first in the 200 back C final with a time of 1:54.60. Mayfield racked up a team-high 46 individual points over the week.
Sophomore Chloe Hannam followed Mayfield in the B final where she collected 13 points for the Razorbacks. Hannam finished sixth in a time of 1:54.97, shaving over a half a second off her lifetime-best mark she set in the morning prelims.
Senior Nina Drolc scored in the 100 free C final, placing eighth in a time of 49.98. In the B final, senior Maddie Monroe grabbed fourth place in a time of 49.05, collecting 15 points on the day.
Mary Margaret Soderberg went fourth in the 200 breast C final, chipping in five points. The junior registered a time of 2:12.94, bettering her lifetime-best mark from the morning prelims.
In diving, sophomore Nicole Gillis led the way in the platform prelims, scoring 225.75 points en route to a 13th-place finish. Senior Shelby Bartlett placed 22nd with a score of 207.00, while senior Hannah Bortnick followed in 23rd with a score of 206.50.
“I thought our divers did well this week,” Arkansas diving coach Jeff DiNicola said. “They were very consistent, and we were able to score more points than we did at this meet last year. Nicole placing fifth in the 1-meter finals earlier this week is great for her development and the future. We’re looking forward to still training and preparing for NCAA Zones in a few weeks.”
To end the meet, Monroe, junior Natalie Burnett, Drolc and sophomore Chelsea Tatlow combined to swim a 3:18.09, finishing in eighth place.
A recap of the championship will air on Wednesday, March 2 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Team Rankings – Through Event 41
1. Texas A&M – 1166.5
2. Tennessee – 1139.5
3. Georgia – 1099.5
4. Auburn – 797
5. Missouri – 764
6. Florida – 754
7. LSU – 624
8. Kentucky – 619
9. Arkansas – 491
10. Alabama – 486
11. South Carolina – 424.5
12. Vanderbilt – 166
• The Razorbacks finished the meet in ninth place with a total of 491 points, which is the third-highest point total at the SEC Championships in program history and the most since 594 in 2013.
• The Razorbacks have now eclipsed the 400-point plateau in three straight seasons.
• The Razorbacks produced 30 lifetime-best times, clocked 44 NCAA ‘B’ cut times and an NCAA ‘A’ cut time in the 800 free relay.
• 14 different swimmers produced lifetime-best times.
• Of those 14 swimmers, five clocked a lifetime-best time in preliminaries then later bettered their mark in finals.
• Seniors Anna Mayfield, Nina Drolc and Maddie Monroe and sophomore Chelsea Tatlow placed seventh in the 800 free relay in a time of 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.
• Nicole Gillis placed fifth with a personal-best 310.00 points in the 1-meter diving finals.
• Hannah Bortnick scored 276.45 points en route to placing 23rd in the 3-meter diving prelims, a career-best finish at the SEC Championships.