ATHENS, Ga., — Arkansas senior Yi-Ting Siow finished third in the 400-yard individual medley, automatically qualifying for the NCAA championships and recording one of the Razorbacks’ four school-record times Friday at the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships inside the University of Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium.
“We had a phenomenal day today,” Arkansas coach Jeff Poppell said. “Probably one of the best days at an SEC meet we have had in the last four years. We can’t swim any better and we gave ourselves a shot going into the last day to do something great. I know we are sitting in eighth right now but we are only about 55 points out of fifth place and this is our best day of the meet coming up tomorrow. We are going to come in tomorrow and see how much ground we can make up and try to climb back into the top five, that is our goal.”
Siow’s school-record time of 4 minutes, 7.29 seconds in the 400y individual medley finals beat the previous school-best mark set by Katie Kastes at last year’s NCAA championships. The time also represented a personal best by almost five seconds.“It was just a phenomenal swim,” Poppell said. “A very gutsy swim by her on the outside lane in lane eight where she was the eighth seed and then finished third. I know that is going to give her a lot of confidence going into her best event tomorrow and we are going to see something special.”
Katie Whitbeck and Lynette Ng both set school records in the morning’s preliminary sessions. Whitbeck clocked in at 54.33 seconds in the 100y butterfly, breaking the previous school record of 54.80 that she set in November at the Purdue Invitational. Ng touched in at 55.26 in a qualifying heat of the 100y backstroke, breaking the previous school record of 55.55 that she claimed in 2008 at the Minnesota Grand Prix.The 400y medley relay team of Haley Smith, Siow, Whitbeck and Megan Haskins finished seventh with a school-record time of 3:40.47. The quartet broke the previous school record of 3:42.69 set by Ng, Siow, Lisa Lunkenheimer and Whitbeck in November at the Purdue Invitational.
Heading into the final day of competition, the 20th-ranked Razorbacks are sitting in eighth with 149.5 points, after scoring 59.5 points Friday. Georgia leads the field with 555.5 points, followed by Florida in second with 466.
Whitbeck touched in at 54.85 to finish 14th in the consolation final of the 100y butterfly. She finished her night with a 15th-place finish in the 200y freestyle consolation final with a time of 1:49.05. Her best mark of the day came in the morning when she touched in at 1:48.68, just two tenths of a second off her career best.
Junior Jamie Marks picked up a 10th-place finish with a time of 4.12.60 in the consolation final of the 400y IM, which is her fastest this season.
In their final SEC championship meet with the Razorbacks, seniors Leah Pierce and Ng each posted top 16 finishes. Pierce placed 11th in the consolation final of the 100y breaststroke with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:01.99. Ng touched in with her own NCAA “B” cut time of 55.46 to finish tied for 15th.
In the preliminaries of the 400y IM, sophomore Jillienne Schilling posted a NCAA “B” cut time with a personal-best mark of 4:19.17.
Other personal bests on the day included Erica Totten (4.21.13) and Ashley Largo (4:25.22) in the 400y IM prelims and Smith (55.75) and Dannica Brennan (56.84) in the 100y backstroke. Sigrun Sverristoddir (1:50.33), Chelsea Franklin (1:50.39) and Alison Templin (1:51.06) all set personal-bests times in the preliminary race of the 200y freestyle.
In other 100y butterfly action, Lunkenheimer posted a career-best time of 55.04, as did Ng with a time of 56.33.
Saturday begins with preliminaries in the 200y backstroke at 10 a.m. EST followed by the 100y freestyle, the 200y breaststroke and the 200y butterfly. The preliminaries in the women’s platform diving event are scheduled for 12:30 p.m. The evening session will include the finals in the 1,650y freestyle and the 400y freestyle relay.
Download: Friday Finals Results.pdf