(Photo: Arkansas Athletic Media Relations)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Univ. of Ark.) - The University of Arkansas swimming and diving team capped off one of the best seasons in school history with a sixth-place finish at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championship with 594 total points, 100 more than seventh-place LSU. En route to the sixth-place finish Arkansas cracked eight school records at the SEC Championship under the direction of new head coach Sean Schimmel.
"It's really good to finish where we are with the five teams that are ahead of us," head coach Sean Schimmel said. "I feel content with where we finished as a team overall. It was a tough battle all the way through and everyone counted toward getting us to that spot."
The Razorbacks entered Saturday trailing the LSU Tigers by 26 points, however Arkansas had eight swimmers entered in the 1,650 freestyle - more than any other SEC school - and scored seven, giving Arkansas a whopping 83 points to pass LSU in the standings.In the race the Razorbacks were led with several outstanding swims as Nicole Menzel clocked a personal-best 16:09.56 for the 11th-fastest time in the nation. Sophomore Lauren Jordan picked up 10th-place, scoring 17 points with a time of 16:13.56. Her opening split on the first 1,000 yards (9:43.97) ranks second all-time in school history. Rounding out the top-three Razorback finishes was senior Chelsea Franklin, a two-time All-American in the 1,650 free. Franklin closes out her final SEC meet with a time of 16:33.13 for 14th-place overall to score for the Razorbacks.
In an epic showdown in the 100 free finals White and Drolc took to the pool. The duo clocked the first and second-fastest times in school history in the morning prelims to get the competitive juices flowing. The two were neck-and-neck throughout the race. White led by just .39 with 25 to go, as Drolc clocked the fastest closing 25 of the two (12.71), but it wasn't enough to out-touch White who finished with a new school record time of 49.04, as Drolc clocked the second-fastest time in school history. After today the two own four of the five fastest times in school history in the 100 free.
Freshman Anna Mayfield strung together a tremendous 200 backstroke to give Arkansas 16 points. The freshman put together a consistent and strong swim to finish in second-place, improving upon her prelim time by .05, clocking a 1:55.51 Mayfield was just .33 away from her school-record time of 1:55.18.
In the 200 breast finals it was Daniels and Julia Banach representing the Razorbacks. Daniels clocked a personal-best 2:10.53, Banach picked up a time of 2:13.59 to score for Arkansas. Due to timing issues, splits were not recorded for the race. The duo would score 27 points for Arkansas, extending the Razorbacks' lead over the LSU Tigers to 88 points and the Missouri Tigers to 109 points.
Arkansas finished the championship with eight school records, as Arkansas re-broke six records and added two more, putting the total count of records broken in Schimmel's season at 10.
Arkansas leaves college station with two NCAA automatic qualifiers as sophomore Nikki Daniels clocked a 59.26 in the 100 breaststroke to send herself to the NCAA Championships. Arkansas also received its first relay 'A' cut in school history as the 200 medley relay team of Susanna White, Shana Lim, Daniels and Nina Drolc recorded a 1:37.79, finishing strong in stacked SEC field.
17th - Susanna White- 49.04 % & !
18th - Nina Drolc - 49.28 % &
11th - Anna Mayfield - 1:55.51 &
11th - Nikki Daniels - 2:10.53 %
14th - Julia Banach - 2:13.59 %
8th- Nicole Menzel - 16:09.56 * & %
10th- Lauren Jordan - 16:13.86
6th- Chelsea Franklin - 16:34.16
16th- Julia Kucherich- 16:47.03
18th- Allison Boyle - 16:49.71
19th- Rachel Stoehr - 16:52.15 &
20h- Sigrun Sverrisdottir - 16:54.10
27th- Rachel Kessler- 17:20.79 &
400 free relay
27th- Drolc, Mayfield, Monroe, White - 3:18.47 % * !
* Indicates top-8 finish
& Indicates personal best
% Indicates NCAA 'B' Cut time
^ Indicates NCAA 'A' Cut time
! Indicates school record