FAYETTEVILLE – Five members of the No. 19 University of Arkansas swimming and diving squad will travel to College Station, Texas this week for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Senior Stephanie Carr, juniors Leah Pierce and Yi-Ting Siow and sophomores Jamie Marks and Katie Kastes will compete at the meet.Carr, who was part of the 2005 Georgia NCAA Championship squad, returns to NCAAs for the second time in her Razorback career. Last year at NCAAs, she competed in the 200-, 500- and 1,650 free events and earned All-America honors in the 1,650 free after finishing 15th in a time of 16:16.01. This season, Carr is slated to swim the 500- and 1,650 free events.
Also returning to NCAAs for the second consecutive year is Kastes, who swam in the 200 fly, 400 individual medley and 500 free events at last year’s championships. In the finals of the 200 fly at the 2008 championship meet, Kastes finished ninth in a school-record time of 1:55.66 and earned All-America honors. She also garnered All-America status in the 500 free where she placed 15th in a time of 4:43.96.
This week, Kastes will once again compete in the 200 fly and 400 IM while trading the 500 free for the 200 IM.
Competing in her first NCAA Championship meet since 2007, when she was the second place finisher in the 200 breast as a Wisconsin Badger, Siow will don Razorback gear to swim the 100- and 200- breast events as well as the 200 IM alongside Kastes.
Making their first trips to NCAAs are Pierce and Marks. Pierce has made a mark on the Razorbacks in her first season since transferring from Purdue last January, putting her name all over the top five times in both the 100- and 200 breast events, the same events she is entered in this week.
For her part, Marks has blasted through career-high times in the 400 IM and 1,650 free this year to earn her spot at the championship meet. Entering this season, Marks’ personal best times in the 400 IM (4:16.34) and 1,650 free (16:28.11) are almost four seconds slower than her NCAA qualifying times of 4:12.51 and 4:24.26, respectively.
In 2008, Arkansas sent four competitors to NCAAs and it is no surprise to see that number rise to five after a record-breaking season that included the program’s first-ever 10 win season and a program-best fifth place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championships.
On Thursday, Carr (500 free), Siow (200 IM) and Kastes (200 IM) will be in action at the Texas A&M Student Rec Center Natatorium. Preliminary heats of the day’s events begin at 11 a.m. with final and consolation heats starting at 7 p.m.
For updated results and for complete coverage of Arkansas swimming and diving, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.