INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Univ. of Ark.) - The 18th-ranked University of Arkansas swimming and diving team is set to begin competition on Thursday, March 21st at the 2013 NCAA Championship hosted by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Ind. The Razorbacks bring with them the largest contingent in school history with seven student-athletes participating.
"I think we are all really excited about having seven swimmers going to NCAA's," head coach Sean Schimmel said. "We are looking to go in there and score and produce All-Americans, but to get that we have to control what we can control."
The record-breaking class includes Shana Lim, Nikki Daniels, Susanna White, Nina Drolc, Nicole Menzel, Lauren Jordan and Anna Mayfield.
The Razorbacks will participate in a record-10 different events with a record-13 chances to score. Individually, Arkansas will be represented in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200, 500 and 1,650 freestyle. In addition to the five individual events, Arkansas will compete in all five relay races for the first time in school history. Arkansas earned 'B' cuts in all five relays this season and earned an 'A' cut in the 200 medley relay to open the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championships with a time of 1:37.79. The school-record relay time of 1:37.79 gives Arkansas the 12th-fastest time nationally going into the Championship.
"I always get excited about relays and the opportunity to impact the NCAA meet with our relays," Schimmel said. "I've had that happen in the past and it was one of the things I wanted to do when I came here to Arkansas. The women got on board quick and they have done a nice job all year with their training. We are looking to be the best we have ever been up until this point."
Arkansas' participation in the relays is the first since the relay team of Peggy Stoner, Leslie Johns, Zsuzsa Csobanki and Tara Reynolds competed 2003.
On the individual side of things sophomore Nikki Daniels earned an individual spot at NCAA's after recording an 'A' cut in the 100 breast with a time of 59.26, breaking her own school record and placing in the top-eight at SEC's. Her top-time sends her into the Championship with the ninth-fastest time in the country.
Daniels will also compete in the 200 breaststroke after clocking a time of 2:10.53 at the SEC Championship, ranking 26th nationally.
"Nikki has done a great job all year in the 100 and 200 breast and getting the 'A' cut and breaking her own team record multiple times. She has set herself up really nice."
Milers Menzel and Jordan also swam their way into the Championship with times of 16:09.56 and 16:13.86 respectively, which rank 17th and 27th nationally. Menzel also represented the Razorbacks at the NCAA Championship last season.
"They are in a good spot and they really earned that," Schimmel said. "It takes a lot of work to get them in that position with a lot of long sets and a lot of swimming and they did a nice job and it showed up at SEC's and they will be ready to go in there when we get to Indianapolis and capitalize on that. Arkansas has had strength in the mile for years and years and it's a tradition here. We are looking to go back and keep that tradition going with those two milers."
Mayfield will also travel to the NCAA Championship to participate in the relays after helping the 800 freestyle relay in particular to the second-fastest time in school history at the SEC Championship (7:10.83).
Coach Schimmel also spoke about how he feels the team traveling to Indianapolis makes one another better.
"I also think all seven of the women make each other better, whether it's in our training and in our meets," Schimmel said. "We rise to the occasion and it's because of each other that I think we perform so well."
Arkansas will compete in the 200 freestyle relay, 500 freestyle and the 400 medley relay on the first of the three-day Championship meet and will have four chances to score on day one.