Nashville, Tenn. — The Western Kentucky University men’s and women’s swimming and diving team wrapped up day one of the Sun Belt Conference Championships on Thursday at the Tracy Caulkin Pool at Nashville Centennial Sportsplex.
The Lady Toppers are currently in second at 227 points and just nine points away from first place Florida Atlantic. The Hilltoppers sit third at 147.50 points behind Denver and Missouri State who are tied at first after tallying 205 points.
“Obviously, on the women’s side we are very pleased with where we stand,” head coach Bruce Marchionda said. “We have to make a move tomorrow and have a huge session.”
WKU shattered the Sun Belt Conference and school record in the women’s 400 Medley Relay in a time of 3:44.74. The former school record was 3:49.24 and the SBC record was 3:46.29. Jessica Aspinall, Brittany Doss, Claire Donahue, and Claire Alexandre swam the relay.
Charlotte Martin finished third in the three-meter dive, scoring 236.75 points. Emily Waits came in fourth in 234.35 points and Erica Wilson was sixth with 220.45 points.
Three women placed in the top-eight in the 500 Free led by Alexandre (4:55.64) in third, Krista Mantay was fourth (4:56.67) and Raichelle King came in seventh (4:58.39).
Donahue and Kathryn Sutton finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 200 Individual Medley. Donahue swam the event in 2:07.07 and Sutton was clocked at 2:08.49. Mallory Neltner grabbed sixth in the 50 Free in 24.03.
Two Hilltoppers broke the school record in the 200 IM during the prelims as Brian Lewis swam the event in 1:50.03 — he would later go on to finish fourth in the finals (1:50.50). Greg Gerum also broke the record in 1:50.08; however, he would be disqualified in the finals. Paul Graves was the record holder since 2005 with a time of 1:51.44.
The WKU 200 Free Relay team broke the school record held since 1999. Kyle Johnson, Lukasz Herbst, Lewis, and Francis Gilmore swam the relay in 1:21.00 and finished third. Also the 400 Medley Relay team consisting of Gilmore, Cameron Brown, Kyle Peterson, and Herbst came in third as well.
Sean Penhale took fifth in the 500 Free with a time of 4:30.88 and Kevin Cargill followed behind in eighth (4:36.53).
Peyton Thomas grabbed sixth in the one-meter dive after tallying 263.15 points.
“We have our work cut out for us on the men’s side,” Marchionda said. “The disqualification hurt us, but we will regroup and be ready tomorrow.”
Prelims for Saturday start at 10:30 a.m. (CST) with the finals beginning at 6 p.m.