Arkansas swimming and diving begins the second half of its season Saturday in Gainesville, Fla. The Lady Razorbacks take on Florida and Indian River Community College at 12 p.m. The meet features 13 events with two heats of each.
Arkansas’ winning ways
The Lady’Backs are off to a 4-1 dual-meet record, the best start the program has seen since the 2001-02 season when Arkansas also began the year 4-1.
Bringing her “A” game
Freshman Katie Kastes is the only Lady’Back with an NCAA A Standard Qualifying Time with a 1:58.98 in 200 fly.
Who’s getting B’s?
Arkansas accumulated 12 NCAA “B” Cuts in the first half of the season. Junior Stephanie Carr and Kastes have four, freshman Erica Totten each earned two and senior Emily Gregory and freshman Ashley largo touched in with one apiece.
What a tough schedule
Five of Arkansas’ dual-meet opponents this season are ranked in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Top 25. Auburn (2), Georgia (1), Florida (7), Missouri (18) and Florida State (20) sit amidst the nation’s best. California (5), Minnesota (9), Tennessee (8), Penn State (11) and Indiana (22), five teams Arkansas competed against at the Hoosierland Open Invitational are also ranked.
Kastes boasts seven wins
Katie Kastes already has seven wins in the first half of the season. Also tallying wins for the Lady’Backs are junior Madison Palmer with six, Carr with four, freshman Jamie Marks with three, Gregory with two and sophomore Lynette Ng and Largo with one each.
Florida enters the weekend with a 5-1 overall record and a 1-1 Southeastern Conference record. The Gators defeated Kentucky and fell to Georgia in the SEC. Florida leads the all-time series 2-0 with its last meet against Arkansas on Jan. 20, 2006. The Lady’Backs fell to the Gators 42-91 tallying just two first-place finishes in the diving events.
Last time out
The Lady’Backs traveled to Bloomington, Ind., Nov. 15-17 to compete in the Hoosierland Open Invitational.
Katie Kastes, Freshman of the Week – Nov. 20
Kastes broke three school records, had an NCAA “A” cut time and three “B” cuts. She finished second in the 200 fly, first in prelims. Both times were school records. Her prelim time of 1:58.98 stands as the record. Kastes placed third in the 400 IM with a time of 4:20.70, setting another school record. Her time is fifth in the SEC. Kastes’ swam the100 fly time in 55.05, posting her third school record.
Madison Palmer, Diver of the Week – Nov. 20
Palmer placed third on the three meter with a 283.20 after finishing first in both the prelims and the semis. Her best score was 284.30 in the prelims. She finished third on the one meter, recording a season best of 287.90. Palmer also had a career-best score of 210.60 on the platform with a sixth-place finish.
Junior Stephanie Carr picked up Arkansas’s only win of the Hoosierland Open Invitational, touching in first in the 1,650 free with a “B” cut time of 16:24.61. Carr also placed third in the 500 free with another “B” cut time of 4:49.98.
More “B” cuts
Nov. 15-17 freshman Ashley Largo had a “B” cut in the 1,650 free with a 16:49.92. Senior Emily Gregory also turned in a “B” cut time in the 100 fly with a 55.18.
Arkansas had season-best times Nov. 15-17 in the 200 free relay (1:36.29), 400 free relay (3:29.51), 800 free relay (7:29.92), 200 medley relay (1:44.36) and 400 medley relay (3:50.34).
That was a close one
Arkansas’ 150.5-149.5 triumph against Kansas marks one of the closest wins in school history. The only other one-point win came during the 1983-84 season against Missouri when the Lady’Backs defeated the Tigers 57-56.
The Lady’Backs racked up points with great finishes in their first three meets, placing 1-2-3 three times and 1-2 in four events. Arkansas grabbed the top three spots in the 200 IM against Georgia and in the 500 free and 1,650 free against Denver. The 1-2 finishes came in the 100 fly against Kansas and the 200 free, 200 fly and one meter diving against Denver and Utah.
Altitude time conversions
All of the times from Arkansas’ meet at Denver were adjusted due to the level of altitude. According to the NCAA, it allows times achieved at an altitude of 3,000 feet or higher to be converted to faster times. .10 seconds were taken off for 100-yard events, 1.2 for 200 yards, 5.0 for 400-500 yards and 20.0 seconds for 1,650 yards.
Current Lady’Backs in the top five
Kastes has the top three spots in the 200 fly with times of 1:59.58, 1:59.58 and 2:01.63. She also holds the top spot in the 100 fly with a 55.05 and the 400 IM with a 4:20.70. Gregory holds the second, third and fifth slots in the 100 fly and the fourth and fifth slots in the 200 fly. Largo sits third in the 1,000 free with a time of 10:01.65. Carr is third in the 1,650 free with a 16:24.61. Marks notched the fifth position in the 400 IM with a time of 4:24.85. Palmer is fifth in the record book in one meter diving with a score of 295.10 that she earned last season.
Arkansas goes 2-for-3 in SEC weekly awards
Palmer earned SEC Diver of the Week honors and Ka. Kastes earned Freshman of the Week honors Tuesday, Oct. 16. The duo went 6-for-6 in the events they competed, contributing 56 points to Arkansas’ 210 team total against the Mean Green. Palmer and Kastes marked the first time two Lady’Backs won SEC swimming and diving honors in the same week.
Madison Palmer, SEC Diver of the Week – Week 1
Palmer, an Olathe, Kan., native, qualified for the NCAA Zone meet on both the one- and three-meter springboards Oct. 12. Palmer swept the diving events, winning the one meter with a score of 283.70, eight points shy of her career best, and placing first on the three meter with a 286.85.
Katie Kastes, SEC Freshman of the Week – Week 1
In Kastes’ first competition as a Lady’Back, she broke the school record, earned a ‘B’ cut time and life-time best time of 2:01.63 with a first-place finish in the 200 butterfly. She beat her nearest opponent by almost three seconds. The Palm Harbor, Fla., product also touched in first in the 100 fly with a time of 56.26 to sweep the butterfly events. She was not done there, winning the 200 individual medley by almost two seconds with another personal-best time of 2:05.90 before she anchored the 200-freestyle relay squad to a victory.
Leading the 13 returning Lady’Backs are this year’s seniors, Emily Gregory, Katie McGraw and Tifanie Silver. Joining the roster are 12 newcomers including all-Americans, state champions and U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers.
Look who’s back
Arkansas returns three seniors to this year’s squad, including Emily Gregory (Burnsville, Minn.), Katie McGraw (Keswick, Va.) and Tifanie Silver (Honolulu, Hawaii). Also returning are juniors Stephanie Carr (Jacksonville, Fla.), Elizabeth Engs (Cambridge, Ontario), Emily Fletcher (Kingwood, Texas), Summer Jackson (Sequim, Wash.), Dashya Kimmel (Bentonville, Ark.), Madison Palmer (Olathe, Kan.), Macey Webb (Columbia, Tenn.), Kellyn Williams (Manhattan, Kan.) and Hilarie Wilson (St. Louis, Mo.). Rounding out the 2007-08 returners is sophomore Allison Chinn.
Swimming and diving roster doubles
This year’s team is almost two times the size of last year’s team, welcoming 12 newcomers. Joining the 2007-08 Lady’Back squad is Gina Bargiachi (Memphis, Tenn.), Jessie Clark (St. Louis, Mo.), Megan Haskins (Orlando, Fla.), Katie C. Kastes (Palm Harbor, Fla.), Kylie A. Kastes (Palm Harbor, Fla.), Brittany Kimmitt (Germantown, Wis.), Ashley Largo (Sarasota, Fla.), Jamie L. Marks (Beesley’s Point, N.J.), Erin Neumann (Chesterfield, Mo.), Lynette Ng (Singapore), Shara Sutphen (Chesterfield, Mo.) and Erica Totten (Jacksonville, Fla.).
The 2007-08 recruiting class was ranked fifth in the nation by CollegeSwimming.com. Four incoming freshman, Marks, Largo, Kastes and Totten, were named to the CollegeSwimming.com Top 100 Recruits list.
Also new to Arkansas swimming and diving
Josh Morgan enters his first year with the Lady’Backs as the director of swimming and diving operations. Morgan’s primary team responsibilities include video editing and handling the day-to-day office duties for head coach Jeff Poppell.
Arkansas finished the regular season 4-4 in dual meets, the most wins the program has seen since the 2002-03 season when the Lady’Backs finished 5-5. The Lady’Backs also posted 89 personal best performances.