Six members of the Arkansas Razorback swimming and diving team are set to take the trip to Atlanta for the NCAA Championships that begin Thursday.
Sophomore diver Nicole Gillis earned a spot at the NCAA Championships with her performance at the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships last Wednesday in College Station, Texas. Gillis is the first Arkansas diver to make it to the NCAA Championships since Madison Palmer made it in 2008, according to Razorback Athletics. Gillis is eligible to compete in both the one-meter and the three-meter springboard events.
"I am proud for Nicole to finally see results from her dedication and hard work," Arkansas diving coach JeffDiNicola said in a press release. "Her teammates definitely helped her in this journey. We're expecting to score points and be competitive at NCAAs. Our zone is hard. Our conference is hard. And this week gives us the experience needed to step up and compete under pressure."
Gillis’ score of 310 in the one-meter springboard event at the Southeastern Conference Championships was the best in the event of the season for the Hogs. The sophomore was almost joined in Atlanta by senior Shelby Bartlett, who holds the best score in the three-meter springboard event and platform this season for the Hogs, but she just missed the cut at the Zone D Diving Championships last season. Bartlett never made the national meet in her career.
Senior swimmer Anna Mayfield will be making her third straight NCAA Championships appearance as an individual and her fourth overall. Mayfield has gone to the national meet every year since her freshman year, and as an individual since her sophomore season, when she broke the program record for the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:54.50 at the SEC Championships.
Mayfield has three program records under her belt including the 500-yard freestyle, 100 and 200-yard backstroke, according to Razorback Athletics. She will participate in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke at this year’s championships.
Mayfield is joined by fellow swimmer and senior Maddie Monroe. It is Monroe’s third consecutive appearance at the national meet. She will participate in the 50, 100 and 200-yard freestyle events. Monroe achieved her personal bests in all three of those events earlier this season at the Georgia Tech Invitational in November. Her personal bests in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events are also the best in program history.
Nina Drolc, Chelsea Tatlow and Natalie Burnett all join Mayfield and Monroe to fill out the 800-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relays.
Drolc, a senior hailing from Velenje, Slovenia, has earned lifetime bests of 1:48.53 in the 200-yard freestyle and 49.56 in the 100-yard freestyle this season. Both times came at the Georgia Tech Fall Invitational.
Mayfield, Monroe, Tatlow and Drolc made up the 800-yard relay team that notched 46 points for the Hogs at the SEC Championships as they finished in seventh place.
As a team, the Hogs scored 491 points at the SEC Championships late last month en route to a ninth place finish. While their point total failed to net them a top-five finish, it was the third highest total at the conference meet in program history.
Their ninth place finish was the first time the Hogs did not come out on top of the competition since a month earlier when they lost by 47 points to Auburn on Jan. 15.
The six Hogs making the trek to Atlanta will try to best their 47th place finish from last season in the NCAA Championships. The finals sessions will be streamed on ESPN3 on Friday and Saturday, while the morning sessions will be streamed on NCAA’s website Friday and Saturday.