Friday Finals

Two Commodores advance, four records fall on next-to-last day of SEC Championships

AUBURN, Ala. — For the second night in a row, Vanderbilt swimming had a pair of individuals move on to finals after Kailia Utley and Faith Knelson accomplished the feat at the SEC Championships Friday at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center.

Utley posted a record-breaking time to qualify in the 200 fly and Knelson advanced in the 100 breast—where she would lower her own standard in finals—on the fourth day of the competition. Sophia Kosturos set a new mark in the 100 back in the morning, and the three combined with Ellie Taliaferro to break their own record in the 400 medley relay in the last race of the night.

“We’re satisfied, but we’re hungry for more,” head coach Jeremy Organ said. “We had some great performances, but I think we still left some room for improvement in a lot of the races. But, it’s been a great week for everybody.”

“Today was okay,” said Utley. “I went out a little faster than I have been and wasn’t able to come back as fast as I wanted to. It was an okay day, but I definitely think I can do a little bit better.”

“Overall, it was a fun time and I enjoyed myself this evening,” Knelson said. “I think I put a little too much pressure on myself this morning and didn’t make the final that I had hoped for. To come back tonight and win the C Final and go under a minute in the relay this evening was a big achievement and something that I’ve wanted to do for a really long time, I’m going to take my small wins where I can get them. The energy of the team pushed me tonight, I have to credit them for that.”

The final day of the championships begins with preliminary heats in the 200 back, 100 free and 200 breast at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The 1,650 free is set to get underway at 2:30 p.m., with the last finals session of the event starting at 5:30 p.m.

Meet Highlights
-In the first event of the morning, Utley finished 12th to advance to the Consolation Final of the 200 fly.
-Knelson closed prelims for the day by placing 17th in the 100 breast to move on to the C Final.
-Sophia Kosturos just missed a top-30 result in prelims of the 100 back, leading nine Commodores competing in the event.
-Utley scored 11 points for the Dores after placing eighth her final with a time that was just over a quarter of a second off her morning mark.
-Knelson followed by touching the wall first in the C Final of the 100 breast in the last individual event of the evening session.

-It was the third time this season that the group of Kosturos, Knelson, Utley and Taliaferro recorded a new school standard in the 400 medley relay after they posted a time of 3:37.31.
-This marked the second day in a row that Utley set a school record while achieving an NCAA B Cut time after touching the wall in 1:57.07 in the 200 fly prelims.
-In the 100 breast final, Knelson touched the wall in 1:00.74 to surpass her previous record set at last year’s SEC Championships by five hundredths of a second while earning her team-leading sixth victory of the season.
-Kosturos, competing in her final individual event of the championships, broke the school record in the 100 back with a 54.06 mark.
-Megan Ciezczak moved into seventh on Vandy’s all-time performer list with a time of 55.13 in the 100 back.
-Hannah Weissman met the CSCAA National Invitational Championship B Standard after finishing with a 55.48 mark in the same event.
-The duo of Emily Carpenter and Maddie Smith had career-best times of 55.73 and 57.00, respectively, in the 100 back as well.
-Taylor Carey recorded the fastest time of her career in the 100 breast after touching the wall in 1:04.30.
-Three other Commodores—Meredith DiPasquale (2:02.88), Kate Heintz (2:03.41) and Madeline Porter (2:03.76)—posted career-low marks in the 200 fly.
-Both DiPasquale and Porter’s times in the race also met the NIC B Standard.