The 2nd day of the 2014 SEC Championships will see the beginning of the individual event racing, which is typically a big day for the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs, That should be true even more so this year, with the way that Melanie Margalis has been performing, and with the continued very deep freestyle groups.
Refresh this page often, as we’ll update it as we go.
- Dates: Tuesday, February 18th – Saturday, February 22nd (Co-Ed); prelims 10AM/Finals 6PM
- Location: Gabrielsen Natatorium, University of Georgia (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Georgia (4x – women), Florida (men) (results)
- Live Results
- Live Video
- Championship Central
Women’s 500 Free – Prelims
This women’s 500 free preliminary round was as impressive as it looked like it might be on paper. The top four seeds included a Canadian Olympian and Canadian Record holder Brittany MacLean as the top seed (4:37.51), with a quartet of U.S. National Team members Sarah Henry (4:37.71), Shannon Vreeland (4:38.20), Cammile Adams (4:38.55), and Amber McDermott (4:39.03) right behind her.
As one might expect, this will be a Bulldog-heavy final tonight; they put four swimmers into the top eight, including the 6th seed freshman Rachel Zilinskas (4:40.51). Zilinskas hadn’t had as good of a season up to this point as her teammates, but that was a college career best for her by five seconds, so things are coming together at the right time.
Florida’s Jess Thielmann (4:40.58) and Danielle Valley (4:40.68) top off the A-Final, meaning that the three top contenders for this meet title will occupy every lane in the A final.
The race looked pretty fair in prelims, which should leave a wide-open event in finals; nobody obviously backed way off at the end as compared to the field as a whole, so don’t count any of the top 8 out for the title in finals.
Brief explanation: Up is swimmers in the A final; mid is swimmers in the B final; and down is swimmers in the C final. These are the three scoring finals at the SEC Championships.
Florida – 2 up, 3 mid, 2 down
Georgia – 4 up, 1 mid
Texas A&M 2 up, 1 down
Men’s 500 Free – Prelims
Last year, it was then-freshman Matias Koski from Georgia who won the men’s 500 free SEC Championship. This year, another freshman has put himself in line to win this truly middle-distance race, as Florida frosh Mitch D’Arrigo has taken the top seed in 4:14.33. Remember that D’Arrigo was the swimmer who almost found himself as a Virginia Cavalier, before deciding to transfer just prior to the start of the academic year.
D’Arrigo descended his middle three 100’s of this race before backing off coming home, splitting 49-52-51-50-51 by 100. This is a good sign, as historically he’s descended the 2nd-5th 100 yards This is about the pacing we usually see from him, with the difference that he usually finishes his final 100 yards faster than his 4th 100 yards. What this all means at the end of the day is that D’Arrigo could be looking at around a 4:12 in finals.
Trying to chase that mark with him will be his teammate Dan Wallace, the 2nd seed in 4:16.25, and the defending champ Koski in 4:16.70. Andrew Gemmell is 4th in 4:17.18, which is a much better swim than we usually see from him at SEC’s (it’s rare to see him in the mix in this race at the conference meet – he didn’t make the A Final last year or as a freshman). With no major event to think about in open water this season, though, Gemmell’s pool swimming has looked as good as ever.
Another Gator, Arthur Frayler, was 5th in 4:17.45, followed by Will Freeman (4:18.34), South Carolina’s Marwan el Kamash (4:18.60), and Auburn’s Zane Grothe (4:18.68). El Kamash was the big mover in the event, dropping 11 seconds from his seed time – he used his mid-season rest at Egyptian Nationals.
Florida – 3 up, 2 mid, 2 down
Auburn – 1 up, 1 mid
Georgia – 3 up, 2 mid
Women’s 200 IM – Prelims
None of the top couple seeds in this women’s 200 IM prelim went a season-best time, and the top 8 will ultimately look very similar to the one from last year, with only a single swimmer unique from an A-final last year that didn’t graduate anybody.
The top seed went to Georgia’s Melanie Margalis in 1:55.32. She was the top seed coming in, and swimming out of the last prelim did just enough to hold that position for finals. Olympic medalist in the longer 400 IM Elizabeth Beisel will be right next to her in finals, though, with a 1:55.46. Margalis has the edge in the short axis strokes (fly and breast) and Beisel in the long axis strokes (back and free), as one would expect, so look for a back-and-forth affair in finals.
Texas A&M senior Erica Dittmer is the 3rd seed in 1:56.74, marking a senior 1-2-3.
Behind them was five sophomores: Annie Zhu (1:57.64), Ashlee Linn (1:57.97), Ashley McGregor (1:58.28), Hali Flickinger (1:58.36), and Lindsey McKnight (1:58.64). The top three teams, Georgia, A&M, and Florida, are again separating themselves; just like in the 500 free, they account for all 8 finalists.
The only swimmer in that A-final different from last year’s group is Flickinger, who took a spot from A&M senior Caroline McElhany. McElhany wound up as the 9th seed in 1:58.65.
Florida – 3 up, 1 mid
Georgia – 3 up, 1 mid, 2 down
Texas A&M – 2 up, 3 mid, 1 down
Men’s 200 IM – Prelims
In a race marred by a DQ in finals last year from Cieslak, the Florida Gators are back for some vengeance in 2014. Sebastien Rousseau (1:42.58) and Marcin Cieslak (1:43.38) took the top two seeds, with the defending conference champion Chase Kalisz (1:43.74) sitting 3rd. It would be foolish to believe that any of those three swimmers are topped out, and they were the three favorites coming in and they’re the three favorites headed into finals.
Close behind them is another Florida swimmer, Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez, in 1:43.86, followed by Georgia’s Ty Stewart (1:44.10), Tennessee’s Tristan Slater (1:45.18), Texas A&M’s Simon Frank (1:45.39), and versatile breaststroker Nic Fink (1:45.42). Florida’s Dan Wallace opted not to swim this race this season, as he previously took the 2nd seed in the 500 free just before it. He’s shifted more from an “IM’er who does middle-distance free” to a “middle distance freestyler/400 IM’er” this season with great success.
Florida – 3 up, 1 down
Auburn – 4 mid, 1 down
Georgia – 3 up, 1 mid
Women’s 50 Free – Prelims
Most things broke right for the Georgia women on Wednesday morning, but the first big “fall” of the meet happened in this women’s 50 free, where defending SEC co-champion Chantal van Landeghem slid to the B-Final as the 9th seed after the morning heats. What’s crazy is that a 22.29, which would have been 10th in prelims at NCAA’s last year, was only 9th in prelims at this year’s SEC Championship meet.
That’s of no big worry for the Bulldogs, as despite the break-neck speed of the heats, they still got two in the final with 3rd-seed Olivia Smoliga in 22.02, and tied-for-5th seed Maddie Locus in 22.19. Locus tied with A&M’s Dittmer, who’s pulling the 200 IM/50 free double, for that 5th seed.
Top honors went to Florida’s Natalie Hinds in 21.92, and Tennessee’s Faith Johnson, who was co-champion last year with van Landeghem, is 2nd in 21.97.
Smoliga is the 3rd seed, A&M’s Lili Ibanez is the 4th seed, the tie between Dittmer and Locus ins 5th, then another Gator Elleze Zalewski is 7th, and Auburn’s Alyx Purcell is 8th.
Note that Tennessee’s Molly Hannis swam a 27.35 50 breaststroke for last place in the event. Coming off of a flat-start, that’s an impressive time.
Florida – 2 up
Georgia – 2 up, 2 mid, 1 down
Texas A&M – 2 up, 1 mid, 1 down
Men’s 50 Free – Prelims
The dream match-up in the men’s 50 free will sit center stage in tonight’s final, with Florida senior Brad deBorde (19.05) and Auburn senior Marcelo Chierighini (19.10) seeded to sit in lanes 4 and 5, respectively. Chierighini is the defending champion, but things have come together for deBorde as evidenced by his spectacular split in the medley relay on Tuesday night.
Auburn will be happy with the outcome, as it brings them back to their roots of sprinting. In addition to Chierighini, they’ll have freshman Kyle Darmody (19.34), senior James Disney-May (19.35), and senior TJ Leon (19.49) in the A-Final.
They’ll be joined by two swimmers from their state, in Alabama’s BJ Hornikel (19.53) and Kristian Gkolomeev (19.59) as the 6th-and-8th seeds, respectively, and Tennessee freshman Luke Percy is in between in 7th with a 19.54.
That A-final is made up of 5 seniors, with three freshman chasing them.
Auburn almost got one more into the A-final, as freshman Alex Press tied for the 9th seed in 19.65. Georgia’s top finisher in the morning was Michael Trice, who matched Press, and Kentucky senior-transfer Erick Bruck is 7th in 19.67.
Florida used sophomore Pawel Werner in this event, and he didn’t final, placing 28th in 20.15.
(Note that Tennessee’s two last-place finishers both swam breaststroke on the men’s side as well).
Florida – 1 up
Auburn – 4 up, 2 mid
Georgia – 2 mid