FAYETTEVILLE –The No. 20 University of Arkansas swimming and diving team excelled top to bottom Saturday morning, defeating Kansas 199-96 inside Arkansas Natatorium.
The Razorbacks had the top performer in each event of Saturday’s 16-event program, aside from the last two, which they entered in exhibition. Freshman Julia Banach, junior Chelsea Franklin, senior Katie Whitbeck and freshman Susanna White all won two events each.
"One of the challenges I posed to the team was to see if they could win every heat," said Arkansas head coach Jeff Poppell. "They did a great job today."
A week after winning the 1,000 and 500 freestyle events last weekend at Penn State, Franklin again ruled the distance events, taking first in the 1,650 free and 500 free. The junior’s time of 16:46.08 in the 1,650 free won by more than 14 seconds. Franklin was challenged by her Razorback teammates in the 500 free, but still earned first place in 4:53.96. Sophomore Nicole Menzel was on Franklin’s heels for the entirety of the race and finished second in 4:56.37, while junior Sigrun Sverrisdottir placed third with a time of 4:58.83.
Coming off of her first ever Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week award, White was equally dominant in the pool. She placed first in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.56, and sprinted out to an impressive lead in the 100 free, winning by 2.04 seconds with a time of 51.13.
Coach Poppell commented after the meet that the enthusiastic home crowd clearly contributed to the team’s performance.
"It’s great to be at home in front of a large crowd like we had today," Poppell said. "There’s no question that it makes a difference. You can see that we swam well at home."
Whitbeck, a butterfly specialist all season, had a standout day. She won the 200 fly with a time of 2:02.62, and also placed first in the 100 fly with a time of 55.38, touching the wall more than two seconds before the second-place finisher.
Freshmen Banach and Nikki Daniels have competed with each other all season for Arkansas’ top times in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and Banach excelled Saturday to win both events. Her first-place times were 1:03.52 in the 100 breast and 2:15.64 in the 200 breast, while Daniels was second in both events with respective times of 1:04.39 and 2:19.45.
The Razorbacks also won both the one-meter and three-meter diving events. Sophomore Kesha Naylor, last week’s SEC Diver of the Week, took first place in one-meter with a score of 315.98, with senior Alex House in second at 274.65. House took the top spot on the three-meter board with a 322.95, and Naylor was second with 316.95.
"I was very pleased with our overall performance," said Razorback diving coach Dale Schultz. "Alex House dove outstanding on the three-meter. Kesha was obviously solid on the one-meter. Meghan Clark and Alyssa Tomlinson also had personal bests today, which I think shows the depth we’re developing."
Sophomores Liz Braun and Julia Kucherich each had backstroke wins, with Braun winning the 100 back in 57.86 and Kucherich taking first in the 200 back with a time of 2:02.77. Sophomore Nicole Menzel placed first in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:52.09.
Arkansas returns to action for its final dual meet of the season on Saturday, Feb. 4, for a 1 p.m. competition against Vanderbilt inside Arkansas Natatorium. For more information about Razorback swimming and diving, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.