UALR Swimming Celebrates Senior Day Friday at 7 p.m.

Courtesy UALR Athletics Department

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Four years of hard work and dedication for a trio of seniors will be celebrated Friday (Jan. 19) when UALR swimming and diving takes on Rhodes and Hendrix at 7 p.m. at the Donaghey Center Natatorium. 

The meet will be the final home competition for seniors Amber Kelly, Rebecca McEachern and Amy Tran. 

“This group of seniors is very special to me because they were my first recruiting class as a head coach,” head coach Amy Burgess explained. “Committing to a small team with a young coach, these ladies took a chance and have assisted in developing and creating traditions in our program.”

A freestyle and butterfly specialist, Kelly has helped rewrite the UALR record book in her four years with the program. Kelly currently holds individual school records in the 100 free (51.92), 200 free (1:53.29), 100 butterfly (55.57) and 200 butterfly (2:05.32). 

“Amber came to us from Juneau, Alaska, and immediately raised the bar for our program. Believing in the program and what could be accomplished, Kelly has greatly contributed in the pool and on the recruiting front. Amber set standards for others to achieve,” Burgess said.

Besides all her individual successes, Kelly was also a member for each of the five record-setting relay teams. She helped UALR set the standard in the 200, 400 and 800 free relays as well as swimming the butterfly leg of the 400 medley relay team all in the 2011-2012 season. She also swam the butterfly for the record-setting 200 medley relay team in 2010-2011. 

Finally, Kelly teamed up with freshman Megan Scott to earn UALR its first sweep of the weekly Sun Belt Conference Swimmer and Diver of the Week awards Oct. 31, 2012. 

McEachern is the quintessential definition of a student-athlete. Swimming freestyle and butterfly, she was a major part of helping the Trojans capture the Henderson State Invitational Nov. 9-10, 2012. McEachern was a member of three championship relay teams and also scored 24 points individually. She won 10 points when she finished fifth in the 50 butterfly with a time of 28.44.

“Rebecca is a native Arkansan from Star City. Coming from a small town, Rebecca did not come with a strong swimming background,” Burgess explained. “She received her undergraduate degree in three years in accounting and is now working on her master’s, all while maintaining a 4.0. 

“Rebecca is the student-athlete you wish you had a team full of. She never backs down from a challenge and we will see great things from her in the future,” Burgess added. 

The third swimmer to make up the senior class is Tran, who participates mainly in the back and free events. 

She turned in a career meet at the UALR Christmas Invitational Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2012, recording season bests in four different individual events: the 100 butterfly (1:01.08), the 100 backstroke (1:01.40), 50 free (25.57) and 100 free (56.57).

Her freshman season, she was a member of the title-winning 200 yard medley relay team against Hendrix and Rhodes. The time of 1:51.49 was more than eight seconds faster than their nearest competitors. 

“Amy came to us from Medina, Tenn., with a drive to work but weak technical aspects to her stroke,” Burgess said. “Every year she has worked harder and this season we are seeing her hard work come to fruition as all the pieces are falling together for her. She has already established numerous lifetime bests this season. A great work ethic, Amy has helped lead this team into a stronger more cohesive program. I am sure she will continue her determination for years to come.”

Added Burgess, “Each senior has played a vital role in every aspect of our program and will truly be missed but never forgot!” 

Following the annual meet against Hendrix and Rhodes, Kelly, McEachern and Tran and the rest of the UALR swimming and diving team travel to Nashville, Tenn. to take on Vanderbilt. The Trojans will finish the year Feb. 27-March 2 at the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Swimming and Diving Championships.

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