COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The 18th-ranked University of Arkansas swimming and diving team is ready to compete at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championship which takes place Tuesday through Saturday, Feb. 19-23, at the Texas A&M Natatorium. The Friday and Saturday evening finals will be streamed live on ESPN3.com and will also air on ESPNU on March 4.
The Razorbacks enter the postseason with a 10-1 dual meet mark, which ties the 2008-09 team for best record in school history. Arkansas is also riding a five-meet win streak that dates back to Oct. 26th when Arkansas defeated SEC opponents Missouri and Kentucky and also topped Southern Illinois in a triple-dual meet.
Razorback head coach Sean Schimmel said the team has been fine tuning everything over the last few weeks and is ready to go on Tuesday.
“I hope to see the team perform better than they have before,” Schimmel said. “If we control what we can control by swimming in our own lanes and diving on our boards per say it will optimize our overall and individual performances. I want us to come onto that deck with energy and be connected on the bench to the swims in the water and if we do that we will have a great atmosphere and a great dynamic.”
Arguably the most competitive conference meet in the country, the SEC Championship will feature top-ranked teams No. 3 Auburn, No. 4 Tennessee, No. 5 Georgia, No. 8 Florida, No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 18 Arkansas. So far this season Arkansas has squared off with Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina and LSU either in a dual-meet or invitational. Arkansas’ only dual-meet loss was to then No. 2 Georgia and Arkansas finished higher than LSU at the Houston Cougar Invitational, but below then No. 4 Texas A&M.
“Our team has been in high-pressure situations a couple times this year, which is really good to prepare for the championship,” Schimmel said. “Knowing they have been there before and taking that deep breath and just getting up and getting it done will help them.”
This year’s team features many top swimmers beginning with sophomore Nikki Daniels who ranks 13th nationally in the 100 breast with a school-record time of 1:00.12 and 15th nationally in the 200 breast with a time of 2:10.73. Sophomore Lauren Jordan sits at 16th in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 16:15.03 and freshman Anna Mayfield closes out the Razorbacks ranked in the top-25 with a school-record time of 1:55.18 in the 200 backstroke, which ranks 23rd in the country.
At their last invitational the Razorbacks broke six school records, taking down the 200 and 400 medley relay records, 100 breaststroke and the 100 and 200 backstroke records. Fans looking to follow the swimming and diving team next week (Feb. 19-23) as they compete in the SEC Championships can do so by tuning in to the live blog on ArkansasRazorbacks.com and following the Razorbacks on Twitter (@RazorbackSwim).
For more information regarding Razorback swimming & diving or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.