Despite breaking three records in the annual Battle of the Bluegrass in Louisville on Saturday, the No. 14 Kentucky women’s swimming and diving team dropped a 174-126 decision against the No. 11 Cardinals, while the British men’s team suffered a 208.5-88.5 loss against their No. 9 in-state foe.
Riley Gaines set the first pole record of the day in the 200 free, which was good for first place. Her time of 1:43.93 broke the previous mark of 1:44.58 set by Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey in 2017. The Southeastern Conference female swimmer of the week also finished second in the 100 free (48.62 ) and third in the 50 free (22.49). ).
Kentucky was dominant in the backstroke by breaking the Ralph Wright Natatorium records previously held by two Cardinals in both the 100 and 200 backs. Caitlin Brooks set a time of 52.18 on the shorter of the two distances to eclipse Kelsi Worrell’s 2015 mark of 52.53, while Sophie Sorenson set Alina Kendzior’s 200-back standard of 1:53.61 in 2016 broke through.
Bailey Bonnett helped the Wildcats win again in the 100 chest as the only swimmer in the field to break the minute barrier with a time of 59.89, which is four-tenths off her best time in life. She also finished third in both the 200 chest (2:10.03) and the 200 IM (1:59.43), with Gillian Davey taking second (2:08.60) and fourth (1:59.49) respectively in those events.
Kaylee Williams led Kentucky in the distance events, finishing second with a time of 16:23.68 in the free 1650, slightly short of her best time of 16:23.01 set in the 2021 SEC Championships. Beth McNeese was third in both the 500 free (4:45.90) and the mile (16:26.70).
Izzy Gati also had two top-three finishes, finishing second in the 500 free (4:45.61) and third in the 200 flying (1:55.65). Kyndal Knight led the 1-meter board with a final score of 290.48, ahead of UofL’s Else Prassterink (244.50). Abby Devereaux plunged to third in the 3-meter after a score of 264.75.
Danny Zhang swept both boards and led the Kentucky divers on the men’s side, leading the field by nearly 40 points to win the 1-meter with a final score of 363.38. He and Rodrigo Romero finished first and third in the 3-meter, with 387.30 and 353.40 respectively.
Mason Wilby also had a good performance, winning the 200 back in a 1:43.20 career to move up to No. 2 all-time in school history. His time of 1:42.32 was fast enough for second in the 200 fly and was just short of his 1:42.26 schedule set at last year’s NCAA Championships.
Wilby then finished second in the 200 IM in 1:45.85 – just 0.04 behind Louisville’s Daniel Sos – while Kyle Barker was third in 1:47.59. Henry Miller finished third in the 200 chest (1:59.70).
The Wildcats are back in action on Friday, January 28 to host Cincinnati at the Lancaster Aquatic Center for a start time of 4pm ET. Prior to the start of the gathering, Kentucky will honor its graduating seniors as part of the Seniors Day ceremony.