Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Univ. of Ark.) - Shana Lim, Nikki Daniels, Susanna White and Nina Drolc capped off a strong day at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championship with a University of Arkansas record in the 400 medley relay (3:36.63). The relay win, coupled with two top-eight finishes from Nikki Daniels and Kesha Naylor helped move Arkansas past Missouri in the standings and into seventh-place with 406 points.
"Obviously the highlight would be Nikki Daniels in the 100 breaststroke with getting a top-eight swim tonight and breaking her own team record (59.22) in the morning," head coach Sean Schimmel said. "It was just an outstanding swim right there,"
To kick off the evening senior Chelsea Franklin scored for the Razorbacks from the 'C' finals in the 200 butterfly. Following Franklin in the 'B' finals was junior Liz Braun. Braun sat back in eighth place after the first 50 yards, but the junior made up some time on the second 50 clocking the second-fastest leg to move herself up two places where she would hold onto sixth to close the race.
Sophomore Anna Mayfield and freshman Shana Lim put on a show in the 'C' finals of the 100 backstroke as the duo battled it out. Lim led the field after the first 50 with a split of 25.90, but it was Mayfield who had the closing speed and came from behind in seventh place to touch second. Lim would finish the race in fourth as both scored for the Razorbacks. Mayfield's personal-best time was good for third in school history and was the first time the freshman broke 54 seconds. Lim would nab the fifth-fastest time in school history with her 54.12 swim.
The spotlight was then on Daniels in the 100 breast finals. The Wichita, Kan., native recorded a school record in the morning preliminaries with a time of 59.26, she followed the prelims with a clutch swim clocking 59.83 for a sixth-place finish in the finals. Her school-record time also secured her a spot in the NCAA Championships with an individual 'A' cut. Julia Banach also earned a spot in the evening finals and finished fourth in the 'C' final with a time of 1:01.99, scoring for the Razorbacks.
Junior Kesha Naylor had a standout performance in the platform finals with a seventh-place finish and a score of 264.75. Naylor finished the SEC Championship as one of just two SEC divers to final in all three events.
"I was really pleased with Kesha and her performance in all three events," head diving coach Dale Schultz said. "Being one of only two divers in the SEC to final in all three contests shows her maturing into one of the most complete divers in our conference."
With just one event left on the table the Razorbacks left nothing to chance as the 400 medley relay team of Lim, Daniels, White and Drolc rocked the event. Lim led things off with a 54.68 split in the backstroke, handing it off to Daniels who recorded another impressive 100 breast performance (1:00.27), White was next in the 100 fly with a speedy 51.86 before handing it off to Drolc to close the race with a 48.73 to give Arkansas a sixth-place relay finish (3:36.63), setting a new school record and scoring 48 points. The sixth-place finish moved the Razorbacks in front of Missouri
"Every event is going to count," Schimmel said. "We are in some team races and that is important to everybody and they know how important that is as every point is going to count."
Arkansas will return tomorrow at 10 a.m. for the final day of the SEC Championship and will compete in the 100 free, 200 back, 200 breast and 1,650 free. Arkansas sits in seventh-place going into the final day and is just 26 points behind the LSU Tigers in sixth.
Fans looking to follow the swimming and diving team as they compete in the SEC Championships can do so by tuning in to the live blog and live video stream 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.