Knoxville, Tenn. – The University of Arkansas swimming and diving team saw five top-eight performances on the first day of the Tennessee Invitational inside the Jones Aquatic Center on Wednesday, and sits in fourth place of a talented seven team field.
Arkansas has 172 points, trailing College Swimming Coaches Association of America Top 10 teams Texas A&M (358) and Tennessee (208), as well as defending Big East Champion Louisville (194).
Preliminary sessions of the invitational for all three days are swam in long course format, while the finals are swam in short course. Arkansas head coach Jeff Poppell commented that the unusual format caused the Razorbacks to practice long course considerably more during their training, which paid off in the preliminary events.
"This meet is obviously different in that we’re going long course in the morning and short course at night," Coach Poppell said. "I thought we had a great long course session this morning."
Arkansas showed its characteristic strength in middle distance freestyle in the morning preliminaries, placing three swimmers in the top eight and seven in the top 24 of the 400 meter freestyle. Chelsea Franklin led the way in the preliminary long course round with a fifth place finish in 4:19.60, while Nicole Menzel was sixth in 4:19.73 and Alison Templin seventh with a time of 4:19.90.
Those performances carried on to the finals of the 500 yard freestyle, with all three placing in the top seven. Franklin finished third with a season-best time of 4:44.52. Templin placed sixth with a time of 4:48.60, and Menzel was right behind her, placing eighth in 4:49.72. Sigrun Sverrisdottir also scored in the final, finishing 14th with a personal best time of 4:52.61.
In the 50 freestyle, freshman Susanna White finished fifth with a time of 23.45, the best of her young career. White had a strong preliminary race in the 50 meter freestyle, finishing first in her heat and third overall with a time of 26.51.
The Razorbacks had two swimmers score in the finals of the 200 yard IM, led by White’s eighth place time of 2:01.71. Julia Kucherich finished 12th, stopping the clock at 2:02.51. Jillienne Schilling just missed scoring in the event, finishing 17th with a time of 2:04.36.
In one meter diving, the top 12 scorers in the preliminary round qualified for the finals, and Arkansas sent three to the final round: Kesha Naylor, Liana Bugslag and Alex House. Naylor placed ninth in the finals with a score of 270.05, Bugslag placed 10th with 243.20, and House was 11th with a score of 234.50.
The morning session on Thursday will begin at 9 a.m. C.T. Once again raced in long course format, it will feature the 400 meter IM, 100 meter butterfly, 200 meter freestyle, 100 meter breaststroke, and 100 meter backstroke, as well as three meter diving. The finals of the day two events will begin at 5 p.m. CT and will feature the 200 yard medley relay, 400 yard IM, 100 yard butterfly, 200 yard freestyle, 100 yard breaststroke, 100 yard backstroke, 800 yard freestyle relay, and the three meter diving finals.
For more information about Razorback swimming and diving, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.