Day 3 of the 2014 SEC Championships are underway in Athens, Georgia, and after a blistering first two days of the fastest conference meet in the country, things really begin to get interesting on Thursday with no relays, but a lot of individual swims.
The 3rd out of 5 days will include the 400 IM, the 100 fly, and the 200 free. On the women’s day, that should mean another huge day for Georgia (who’s thus far undefeated in events). On the men’s side, Florida has been outstanding, but Auburn still holds a huge lead; Florida has a chance to really cut into that on Thursday, though there’s probably not enough events for them to actually overtake the Tigers in the scoring.
To see an update of scoring through two days, see our day 2 recap.
- 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 (FINALS ONLY)
- Championship Central
Women’s 400 IM – prelims
It’s hard to draw a ton of conclusions about favorites coming out of prelims of a 400 IM, as all of the title contenders, almost by definition, have to conserve energy in prelims.
Still, the favorite at SEC’s, Florida senior Elizabeth Beisel, has taken the top seed in the women’s 400 IM with a 4:05.64 and will hold a middle lane tonight. The only leg where she was really pushing was her breaststroke; the rest of her IM looked pretty casual for her. She’s already been 4:00.5 this season.
Texas A&M’s Sarah Henry took the 2nd seed in 4:07.21, and Georgia made another statement with the next four seeds: Hali Flickinger (4:07.95), Melanie Margalis (4:08.17), Amber McDermott (4:10.91), and Nicole Vernon (4:111.41). Flickinger had a big freestyle leg to close the race, but she had a lot to make up on Margalis after the breaststroke (and probably will have a bigger deficit there tonight).
Florida’s Jess Thielmann was 7th in 4:13.03, and Tennessee’s incoming transfer Lauren Driscoll rounded out the A-final by dropping almost 9 seconds for a 4:13.37.
Texas A&M’s Cammile Adams, who would’ve certainly been a top three contender, at least, in this race was DQ’ed after putting up a 4:05.8 of her own. That’s a huge blow to the Aggies, as Henry was their only other entry.
Georgia – 4 up
Florida – 2 up, 1 mid, 5 down
Texas A&M – 1 up
Men’s 400 IM – prelims
The defending NCAA Champion Chase Kalisz took the top seed in the men’s 400 IM prelims with an extremely fast prelims time of 3:41.85. In many cases, that would put him comfortably ahead of the field, but in this one, he’s got Florida junior Dan Wallace close behind in 3:42.45.
Given that Kalisz was a best time in the 200 IM on Wednesday, and with how well Wallace swam to run away with the 500 free on Wednesday, it’s going to take sub-3:40 to win this race, that’s for sure.
Meanwhile, in terms of the team battle, though they can’t formally score points in prelims, Florida made a big dent on Auburn with depth in the 400 IM that they really needed. They’ve got three swimmers in the top 8, to Auburn’s none. Aside from Wallace, Matthew Elliott is the 3rd seed in 3:44.17, Carlos Omana is the 4th seed in 3:44.30, and Connor Signorin is the 7th seed in 3:44.88.
Texas A&M’s Simon Frank made his 2nd A-final of the meet so far with a 3:44.33 for 5th overall – an 11 second drop from his previous season best. Georgia’s Jared Markham was 6th in 3:44.87, and Tennessee’s Tristan Slater was 8th in 3:45.56.
Auburn – 1 mid
Florida – 4 up, 1 mid, 1 down
Georgia – 2 up, 2 mid
Women’s 100 Fly – prelims
Kentucky’s Christina Bechtel had a huge swim in the 100 fly mid-season, and so far at SEC’s she’s backed it up with a 51.70 for the top seed headed into finals.
Depending on where she’s at with her rest right now, she could be an NCAA title contender this year in what appears to be a wide-open field.
Florida’s Ellese Zalewski was 2nd in 51.90, followed by Missouri’s Dani Barbiea. Those three are the three fastest 100 butterfliers in the country coming into this meet, which should line up for a big final (even though we can assume pretty safely that all three have their eyes set beyond this meet).
Coming in behind them, trying to tip the turnip truck, is A&M’s Caroline McElhany (52.54) and Georgia’s Lauren Harrington (52.65). Florida’s Natalie Hinds (52.66), Alabama’s Kristel Vourna (52.90), and Texas A&M’s Paige Miller (53.1) round out the A-final.
This race will have a lot of very important swims from the programs outside the “big players;” as compared to what we’ve seen for most of this meet, there’s only 9 out of 24 finalists from Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M, leaving a lot of room for swimmers from the rest of the conference (like Bechtel, whose Kentucky team is in 10th) to shine.
Georgia – 1 up, 2 down
Florida – 2 up
Texas A&M – 2 up, 1 mid, 1 down
Men’s 100 Fly – prelims
The Florida and Auburn men about held-serve in the day’s second event, with placings in the A-finals having the potential for big point swings here.
Florida’s Marcin Cieslak took the top seed in 45.59, followed by Georgia’s Doug Reynolds in 45.86, as part of a senior-heavy final.
One of the exception to that senior rule was Auburn’s Arthur Mendes in 46.33 for the 3rd seed. Auburn has been waiting for him to explode since he arrived on campus mid-season last year with big long course credentials, and that swim is a new lifetime best for him.
The 4th seed went to Florida’s Brad deBorde, already winner of the 50 free; followed by Tennessee’s Sam Rairden (46.54), Auburn’s Marcelo Chierighini (46.56), LSu’s Frank Greeff (46.80), and Auburn freshman Cam Jones (46.83).
Texas A&M’s Henrik Lindau, who was 4th at last year’s meet, slipped to the B-final as the 9th seed in 46.99. Also in that B-final will be Missouri’s Logan Mosley (47.15), who had the fastest fly split on the 200 medley relay.
Auburn – 3 up, 1 mid, 1 down
Florida – 2up, 1 mid, 1 down
Georgia – 1 up, 3 down
Women’s 200 Free – prelims
Georgia’s two World Championship gold medalists in the 800 free relay, Shannon Vreeland (1:44.17) and Jordan Mattern (1:44.87) took two of the top three seeds in the women’s 200 free.
But sandwiched in between them is Tennessee’s Lindsay Gendron, who unlike her first swim in this meet in the 500 was taking no chances of missing out on the A final wutg a 1:44.37.
She will be swimming in a sea of red tonight; in addition to the two swimmers to her right, Vreeland and Mattern, she will have Brittany MacLean, the 4th seed (1:44.96), to her left on the blocks. MacLean already won the 500 earlier in the meet.
That accounts for the top half of the A-final; the bottom-half will feature a good battle in terms of the second-place team position, as Texas A&M’s Lili Ibanez is the 5th seed in 1:45.05, Florida’s Sinead Russell is the 6th seed in 1:45.88, and A&M’s Kelli Benjamin is the 7th seed in 1:46.39.
Georgia – 3 up, 1 mid, 1 down
Florida – 1 up, 1 mid
Texas A&M – 2 up, 2 mid, 1 down
Men’s 200 Free – prelims
The men’s 200 free was another big “win” in prelims. Though you can’t score points in prelims, you can certainly miss opportunities to score them, and Florida didn’t miss many on Thursday.
Freshman Mitch D’Arrigo took the top seed in 1:33.70, followed by sophomore Corey Main. D’Arrigo was also the top seed in the 500 free earlier in the meet, and seems to have no fear of going after his prelims swims.
Alabama’s BJ Hornikel was 3rd in 1:34.32, and Florida’s Sebastien Rousseau was a 1:34.43, meaning that Florida will head into the evening session seeded with three of the top four swimmers in this event.
Tennessee sophomore Sean Lehane is the 5th seed in 1:34.90; based on the 1:33.7 he split on the 800 free relay on Wednesday, expect him to be a little better in finals.
Florida’s 4th A-finalist (matching the number they had in the 400 IM) was Pawel Werner in 6th with a 1:35.04. That’s his best swim of the three days of this meet so far.
Georgia’s Matias Koski sits 7th in 1:35.13 (shy of his season-best), and Auburn’s lone A-qualifier is Zane Grothe in 1:35.43.
Auburn – 1 up, 2 mid, 1 down
Florida – 4 up, 1 down
Georgia – 1 up, 1 mid, 1 down