The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Swimming: Vanderbilt falls to Arkansas 151-103

Despite some strong individual performances, the Commodores were unable to beat a hot Arkansas team in Fayetteville.
Vanderbilt+competed+against+Arkansas+on+Jan.+20%2C+2024.+%28Vanderbilt+Athletics%29
Vanderbilt Athletics
Vanderbilt competed against Arkansas on Jan. 20, 2024. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

On Saturday, Vanderbilt fell to Arkansas 151-103 at Arkansas Natatorium. Despite losing, the Commodores impressed with multiple top finishes, particularly from Mercedes Traba and Faith Knelson

“It was great racing competition today; we just couldn’t quite get some of those close races to go our way,” head coach Jeremy Organ said. 

While the Commodores were unable to win any races outright on Saturday, Vanderbilt had several runner-up finishes. 

Traba was a star, placing second in the 1000 freestyle to get things started for the Commodores. She clocked in at 10 minutes, 22.12 seconds — only 0.07 seconds off her best time of the season. Later that morning, she placed second in the 500 freestyle, losing the race by only 0.25 seconds. Nevertheless, both races capped off an excellent day for the junior. In the other freestyle races, Sophia Kosturos and Abby Francis both won silver in the 50 free and 100 free, respectively. 

Vanderbilt hoped that these first few individual races would set the tone for the rest of the meet. Unfortunately, the Commodores struggled to win gold in other individual races.

Grace Ciaramitaro and Kailia Utley finished second in the 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly, respectively. Ciaramitaro was less than a second behind the winner of the 200 backstroke, finishing with a time of 2:04.35. 

Knelson also had a solid day in the water, earning runner-up finishes in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. While she wasn’t able to win any races, Knelson continues to show why she is a staple of this Vanderbilt team. 

To finish the individual races, Ellie Taliaferro posted a second-place finish in the 200 IM.

While many of the Vanderbilt swimmers had strong results individually, it was an inability to win these races that held back its point total.

However, in the 400 medley relay, a team of Kosturos, Knelson, Utley and Taliaferro were able to swim the second-fastest mark in school history with a time of 3:39.38. 

While the Commodores posted several runner-up finishes, they couldn’t quite overcome an impressive Arkansas team. In the end, it was just too many second place results that caused Vanderbilt to lose to an SEC foe. 

“There are only two dual meets left in the regular season so now we have to get back to work on Monday and have a great week of practice to be ready to go on Saturday,” Organ said. 

Vanderbilt will continue its season against North Texas in Little Rock, Ark. on Jan. 27.

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About the Contributor
Henry Oelhafen
Henry Oelhafen, Deputy Sports Editor
Henry Oelhafen (‘26) is a student in Peabody College majoring in human and organizational development and minoring in business. Henry grew up as a Vanderbilt sports fan and loves to talk about both professional and amateur golf. In addition to writing, he loves to play golf with friends, hike and try new restaurants. He can be reached at [email protected].
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