Siow leads Razorbacks in season opener
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Arkansas senior Yi-Ting Siow recorded the nation’s fastest times this season in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200y individual medley to win both events and lead the Razorbacks to season-opening victories over the University of Kentucky and the University of the Cumberlands on Saturday at Kentucky’s Lancaster Aquatic Center.
Eight event wins carried the Hogs to a 166-132 victory over Kentucky and a 254-40 rout of the Cumberlands.
“This was a fantastic way to start our season, with wins against SEC rival Kentucky and the University of the Cumberlands,” Arkansas coach Jeff Poppell said. “We knew we were going to have a hard-fought battle with Kentucky as they were coming off a convincing win over South Carolina last weekend.
“The meet for us really represented two different halves. The second half of the meet for us was much better than the first half. We started out a little stale, but as the meet went on, we got better and better.”
Siow touched in at 1 minute, 1.73 seconds to finish first in the 100y breaststroke, 2.85 seconds ahead of second-place teammate Leah Pierce. Siow turned in a time of 2:00.06 in the 200y IM, running away from the rest of the field by 5.83 seconds.
“Siow’s wins in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM represented the fastest times in the country posted thus far this season,” Poppell said. “That is huge.”
Returning All-Americans Jamie Marks and Pierce each earned a first-place finish. Marks paced the 200y butterfly in 2:02.06, and Pierce won the 200y breaststroke in 2:17.28.
Arkansas took the top four positions in the 1,000y freestyle. Sophomore Allison Templin finished first in 10:15.26, followed by teammates Shara Suthphen, Marks and Ashley Largo.
Sophomore Katie Whitbeck edged sophomore teammate Lisa Lunkenheimer to win the 100y butterfly in 56.21 seconds. Both held off Kentucky’s Megan Pulskamp, an NCAA All-American in the event last year, in what Poppell called a “huge upset and a real momentum swing for our team."
Poppell said freshman Haley Smith provided a turning point in the meet with her victory in the 200y backstroke. Smith finished with a time of 2:02.29.
Sophomore Jillienne Schilling added a win in the 500y freestyle in 4:58.77.
“This team right now represents the most balanced team that I have had since I have been here,” Poppell said. “They are way ahead of where they were at this time last season.”
Sophomore Liana Bugslag finished second in both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events.
“The divers did a very, very good job today and are also ahead of where they were at this point last year,” Poppell said. “We are excited about the opportunity for them to build on their performances this weekend.”
The Razorbacks will return to action Oct. 24 when they host Florida and Kansas at Arkansas Natatorium at 2 p.m.