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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Following an impressive outing in her Arkansas debut two weeks ago, junior Leah Pierce broke a 17 year-old Arkansas record in the 200 breaststroke, touching in at 2:16.71 and helping lead the Razorbacks to a win over SEC foe LSU, 151-149.
“We were anxiously awaiting today’s meet for the opportunity to see what Leah was going to do in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes; she has been doing an outstanding job in training and we had a feeling we would see something special from her today. She had two phenomenal swims and her time in the 200 breaststroke broke our school record set back in 1994,” head coach Jeff Poppell said.
On the day, the Razorbacks won eight events, including three wins by sophomore Katie Kastes in the 100 and 200 butterfly and the 200 IM, giving Kastes five wins in the first two meets of the season.
“Katie continues to demonstrate why she is our leader. She is tough as nails and competes like non-other. She had three gutsy performances today, topped off by her lifetime best time in winning the 200 IM,” said Poppell.
After coming in second in the one-meter dive, senior diver Madison Palmer edged out LSU’s Rachel Ware, the 2008 SEC Diver of the Year, for the win in three-meter diving, with a score of 309.75. Kellyn Williams finished third in the three-meter dive, giving Arkansas a slim lead heading into the last two events.
“All the girls did extremely well today,” said head diving coach Dale Schultz. “I was very pleased with all four ladies, especially on three-meter, they’ve been training so hard to be able to come through in a meet. The biggest improvement I’ve seen from the divers is Kellyn Williams. She’s going to have great things happen for her if she keeps working the way she’s been working. Everyone expects Madison to be great, but I think Kellyn’s doing a great job and she’s finally getting the chance to show how good she is.”
The Razorbacks were able to hold on to the lead and secure the victory behind Kastes win and Jamie Marks’(2:06.80) third place finish in the 200 IM with and a third place time of 3:28.06, in the 400 freestyle relay swum by Katie Whitbeck, Lynette Ng, Megan Haskins, and Summer Jackson.
“Give credit to LSU for an outstanding meet. They performed exceedingly well and took us wire to wire. That being said, I am so very proud of the efforts of our girls and the way they fought throughout the two hour contest in winning this meet. It has been a long time since we have beaten LSU, and we’re truly excited to be able to both see and enjoy the progress we are making as a team.”
Next, the Hogs travel to the UNT Invitational in Denton, Texas on Nov. 8 at 10:30 a.m. For complete coverage of Arkansas swimming and diving, log onto ArkansasRazorbacks.com.