INDIANAPOLIS — Not one, but two NCAA relay championships for the Tennessee women’s swimming team on Thursday night.
Tennessee won the 200-yard freestyle and the 400 medley relay at the IU Natatorium. The titles were the fifth and sixth in school history, but the first two won in relay events.
“I’m not sure that it’s sunk in,” Tennessee swimming coach Matt Kredich said of the relay wins. “Man, every person executed what they needed to do and what we planned on doing, and the result was a win.”
Senior Caroline Simmons, freshman Faith Johnson, junior Lindsay Gendron and senior Kelsey Floyd on the final leg of the 200 free finished in a time of 1 minute, 27.14 seconds, only a hundredth of a second off of the school record set last month in winning the SEC championship.
Junior Lauren Solernou, sophomore Molly Hannis, Floyd and Gendron swam 3:28.51 to win the 400 medley, just two tenths of a second off from breaking the American record. It easily shattered Tennessee’s previous school record of 3:29.92.
Tennessee is in second place entering the second day of the three day event with 150.5 points with SEC champion Georgia in first with 163.
Johnson, who won the 50 free at the SEC championships, lost the lead in the last 10 yards and finished third in 21.89. Simmons tied for fourth at 22.01.
Gendron finished eighth in the 500 free in 4:41.69. Gendron had a career best 4:38.47 in the preliminary round.
Jodie McGroarty finished third in the 1-meter finals with a school record 335.75 points in the six-dive event. Her previous best was 311.05. Tori Lamp, the 2012 and 2013 SEC Diver of the Year, tallied 312.1 to finish in sixth.
“To put two divers in the finals this evening was extremely exciting,” UT diving coach Dave Parrington said. “For the two of them to step up and finish third and sixth in what was an extremely competitive final just said a lot to all the training we’ve done all year and the competitive spirit.”
Tennessee qualified swimmers and divers in the finals of five of six events for the day. Only Arizona, Georgia and Florida also achieved that feat.
“I think there were some teams that came out flat today,” Kredich said. “There are a lot of champions in this building right now and champions know how to get ready and come back. What we’re going to do is continue to focus on what we’re doing.”