10 Kentucky swimmers invited to 2022 NCAA Championships

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Ten Kentucky swimmers have earned an invitation to the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, the committee announced Wednesday. The national competition will take place March 16-19 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

To earn an invite to the NCAA Championships, swimmers had to meet established time standards throughout the season. The Wildcat women who will participate in the big dance include Bailey Beanie, Caitlin Brooks, Gillian Davey, Megan Drum, Riley Gaines, Izzy Gati, Parker Herren, Lauren Poole, Anna Havens Rice and Sophie Sorenson.

There is certainly no shortage of experience on this championship team as nine of the 10 swimmers have competed on the national stage at least once in their college careers. Those competing in Atlanta include a fifth-year, four seniors, three juniors and two sophomores.

The 10 women invited are tied for the second most invitations to compete at the NCAA in program history. Those Wildcats combined for 28 entries, also the second-highest entry total in school history. Eight of the 10 swimmers won an invitation in three individual events, the maximum number of races a student-athlete can have.

Kentucky is also one of 12 schools to have at least 10 swimmers who receive an invite and has the third-most qualified athletes among Southeastern Conference foes.

Three of the British swimmers invited to this year’s NCAA Championships boast a start time that ranks among the top eight in the country, which would earn them first-team All-America status. These include Davey (6th, 200 breaststroke), Gaines (2nd, 200 butterfly; 5th, 200 freestyle) and Poole (6th, 400 IM), as well as the sixth-seeded 800 freestyle relay.

The women’s swimming and diving team collected 152 points to finish 11th a season ago, setting program records for the best team result as well as the most points scored in the national meet. Highlighted by silver in the 800 freestyle relay and bronze in Poole’s 400 IM, the Wildcats have had eight All-America and 15 All-America Honorable Mention selections in 2021.

Kentucky will look to add even more women to its Atlanta-bound travel roster after the Area C Diving Championships, which serve as the national qualifying competition for divers. The meet is scheduled for March 10-12 at the Donald B. Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Last year, Kyndal Knight punched his ticket in the 1 meter, 3 meters and the platform.

The Wildcats are coming off a successful SEC championship in which they were team runners-up with 1,043 points, their second-best finish and second-most points total in the conference meet. The women won 13 medals, including three golds from Gaines (200 freestyle, 200 butterfly) and Davey (200 breaststroke).

Additionally, Gaines broke the meet and SEC record in the 200m butterfly in a time of 1:51.51 just moments after being named the league’s Athlete-Scholar of the Year.

For the latest information on Kentucky’s swim and dive program, follow @UKSwimDive on Twitter and on Instagram, on Facebook and on the web at UKathletics.com.

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