KENTUCKY vs TENNESSEE
- Thursday, October 29th, 2020
- Lancaster Aquatic Center, Lexington, KY
- Short Course Yards (SCY)
- Kentucky – 152
- Tennessee – 148
The Kentucky Wildcats women’s team pulled off a win over the Tennessee Volunteers for the first time since 1999 tonight. Tennessee, the defending SEC champs, fell by a 152-148 decision. The men’s meet will be swum Friday.
For the first time since 1999…
— Kentucky Swim & Dive (@UKSwimDive) October 29, 2020
The meet could have ended in a tie, but Kentucky was able to hold off a late charge by the Tennessee ‘B’ 400 free relay, pushing the Wildcats over the 150 point mark. Riley Gaines had gotten the Wildcats out to an excellent start with a 49.52, then Izzy Gati and Megan Drumm expanded the lead over Tennessee’s ‘B’ squad. Aly Breslin, the anchor for Tennessee ‘B’, earned back 1.17 seconds on Kentucky, but the Vols were unable to overcome the defecit, and Kentucky touched ahead of them 3:25.13 to 3:26.09.
The Wildcats got the ball rolling right off the bat, taking the 200 medley relay by .40 seconds over Tennessee. Kentucky opened up a large lead early in the race, with Caitlin Brooks leading off in 24.55, while Tennessee’s Olivia Harper was 25.90. Tennessee chipped into that lead on the breaststroke leg, with Mona McSharry splitting 27.75 to 28.05 for Kentucky’s Bailey Bonnett. Riley Gaines built Kentucky’s lead, however, posting a 23.94 fly split, while Tennessee’s Mallory Beil clocked a 24.47. Tennessee anchor Bailey Grinter was flying, swimming a 21.95, closing 1.18 seconds of the gap on Kentucky’s Kaitlynn Wheeler (23.13), but in the end it wasn’t quite enough to get her hand on the wall first.
Tennessee had an answer, however, throwing down a dominant performance in the 1000 free. The Vols went 1-2-3 with senior Amanda Nunan leading the way in 9:56.73. Recent transfer from East Carolina Kristen Stege posted a 2nd place finish in her first event with a 9:57.91. Claire Nguyen came in 3rd, swimming a 10:00.46. Beth McNeese was the top Wildcat in the event, posting a 10:04.40. Nunan went on to win the 500 free later in the meet with a 4:50.99. Kentucky had a better showing in the 500, with McNeese taking 2nd in 4:53.57.
After her pivotal role on the Kentucky 200 medley relay, Caitlin Brooks continued to play a significant part in Kentucky’s win over Tennessee. Brooks went on to sweep the backstroke events, posting a 52.32 to win the 100 back by over a second, and 1:54.71 to win the 200 back by over 4 seconds. Additionally, Brooks swam to a 2nd place finish in the 100 fly with a 53.37. Brooks narrowly pulled off a 3rd individual victory with that race, however, Tennesee’s Mallory Beil got her hands on the wall in 53.34, just .03 seconds ahead of Brooks. In all, Brooks tallied up 22 individual points on the day, and helped UK to a relay victory.
Kentucky sophomore Gillian Davey had a great swim in the 200 breaststroke, getting her hands on the wall first with a 2:11.51. Davey finished over 3 seconds ahead of runner-up Mona McSharry of Tennessee (2:14.69). Roles were reversed in the 100 breast, with McSharry swimming a 1:00.88, taking home a win by over a second. Davey was 2nd in that race with a 1:02.53.
Wildcat Riley Gaines posted a pair of impressive victories, swimming the top time in the 200 free and 100 free. Gaines swam a 1:46.35, clocking the only time in the field under 1:48. Gaines swam a very consistent race, splitting 25.15/26.94/27.17/27.09 respectively. She went on to win the 100 free as well, swimming a 49.26, coming quite close to her personal best of 49.07. Gaines also led of Kentucky’s ‘A’ 400 free relay with a 49.52.
Kentucky diver Kyndal Knight was also instrumental in the Wildcats’ success, sweeping the diving events. Izzy Gati was on pace for a spectacular 200 fly, hitting the 150 mark in 1:25.66. She faded a bit down the stretch, however, splitting 32.04 on the final 50.
Tennessee continued to show off their sprinting depth, with Mona McSharry (50.59), Trude Rothrock (50.50), Abby Samansky (50.09), and Tjasa Pintar (48.90) teaming up for a 3:20.08 in the 400 free relay. Bailey Grintar won the 50 free for Tennessee with a 22.76, touching as the only swimmer in the field under 23 seconds.