Freriks jumps 19 spots to place top 20 at NCAAs

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Mar 16, 2018 at 9:27 PM

COLUMBUS — Geena Freriks bounced back individually on Friday.

Though it again just narrowly missed the top 16 and honorable mention All-America honors, the lifelong Norwalk resident and University of Kentucky junior jumped 19 spots from her seed ranking in Friday morning’s 200-yard freestyle at the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships.

Freriks entered the 200 free at the McCorkle Pavilion on the campus of Ohio State University with a 1:45:38 seed time — which was 38th overall in a stacked field.

But swimming in one of the final heats of the prelims, Freriks bested that time by nearly a full second. Her 1:44.83 was good for 19th, and was just .17 seconds away from the final spot in the consolation final — and just .05 from an alternate spot.

It was her best time of the entire season in the 200, with four split times of 24.84 seconds, 26.57, 26.72 and 26.66.

The big jump in the 200 came one day after Freriks missed the 500 free top 16 by just .21 seconds on Thursday. She had been seeded eighth in that event, but fell to 18th in a race that saw six swimmers outside of the top 16 seeds — including three in the mid-20s, jump into the two finals races.

Freriks won the 500 free at the SEC championships on Feb. 15 at Texas A&M University in College Station, Tex.

Also on Friday, Freriks swam the anchor on the 200 medley relay that turned in a time of 1:38.78. That placed the team 25th in the field.

On Wednesday, Freriks helped the 800 free relay to an 11th place finish for All-America honorable mention. Kentucky entered the event with the 12th-best time (7:00.21) and improved by three full seconds. Freriks swam the final 200 yards of the relay with a 1:44.21 split.

After swimming the 500 free on Thursday, the 10-time All-Ohioan at Norwalk and Sandusky also helped the 400 medley relay to All-America honorable mention as well.

Seeded 12th entering the event, Freriks teamed with Bridgette Alexander, Bailey Bonnett, and Asia Seidt to record a record time of 3:30.81. That was good for ninth, the top time in the consolation final, but just .21 seconds from the eighth and final spot in the championship race.

Freriks’ split in the prelim was 48.16 seconds swimming the freestyle.

In the consolation final, the quartet came back to swim a 3:31.44, which earned them fifth in the race and 13th overall. Freriks’ split in the free was 48.49 seconds.

One of three swimmers in UK history with multiple SEC titles, Freriks’ season will conclude today with the 100 free preliminaries.

Slated to begin shortly after 10 a.m. Freriks owns the No. 42 seed out of 73 swimmers scheduled to participate in the event. However, just .86 seconds separates her from the top 16 in the field based off seeded times.

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