2015 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships: Day 3 Finals Real-Time Recap

Night 3 of the 2015 SEC Championships Finals begin at 6pm Central, where several battles are slated to take place on both the men’s and women’s sides.  Keep refreshing this page for event-by-event updates as the Finals unfold tonight. You can also follow our live Twitter account, @SwimSwamLive, for quicker, brief updates on event results.

Kicking things off in Auburn, Alabama will be a highly contested men’s 400 IM, where we have the opportunity to watch defending SEC champion, Georgia’s Chase Kalisz, try to fend off up-and-comers, teammate Gunnar Bentz and Tennessee freshman Sam McHugh.  Floridah’s Dan Wallace is lurking in the field tonight as well, ready to make his move from the 7th seed.

Also on the men’s side will be Florida freshman Caeleb Dressel perhaps taking down Tom Shields’ NAG record of 44.91; a feat which would require him to shave half a second off of his 45.41 prelims time.  Then, in the last men’s swimming event, there does not seem to be a clear favorite, unless you count Mitch D’Arrigo (Florida) as a front runner due to his earning the fastest time in the morning, as well as possibly having a little extra incentive in trying to be crowned both the SEC 500 and 200 freestyle champion.  D’Arrigo also holds the 2nd-fastest time in the NCAA, when his short course Doha result is converted to yards – 1:33.10.  But, tonight’s A-Finalists Hugo Morris, Matias Koski and Pawel Werner are also ranked in the nation’s top 10.

The women’s 400 IM will see an array of swimming programs represented in the final, as five different schools will be swimming for the title.  Georgia has the highest concentration as top seed Hali Flickinger is accompanied by teammates Anni Zhu, Amber McDermott and Emily Cameron, while second seed Sarah Henry is the lone Aggie. Jessica Thielman (Florida), Amanda Carner (Tennessee) and Sharli Brady (Missouri) are also the sole swimmers from their programs in tonight’s 400 IM A-Final.

Kentucky women may try to go 1-2 in the 100 fly final, as both Christina Bechtel and Abby Myers made the top 8 for the Wildcats.  Aggie Beryl Gastaldello seems to be on a hot streak, though, and may try to disrupt the Kentucky All-Americans’ plans.  And, finally in the 200 freestyle event, the top six women all finished in times within seven tenths of one another, which leaves tonight’s final essentially wide open.  Georgia senior Jordan Mattern may want to make the most of her final SEC championships and just leave it all in the pool tonight, but she most definitely cannot ignore the powerhouse that is her teammate, junior Brittany MacLean, last year’s third-place finisher in this event.


2015 SEC Championships

  • Tuesday, February 17-Saturday, February 21
  • Auburn, Alabama – James E. Martin Aquatic Center
  • Prelims/Finals W-F 10AM/6PM, Tuesday 10AM/5:30PM (Central time)
  • Defending Champs: Georgia women (5x) Florida men (2x) (results)
  • Live results
  • Live video
  • Championship Central

Catching Up

MEN’S 400 IM – FINALS

Georgia junior and race favorite, Chase Kalisz, successfully defended his 400 IM title in three-peat fashion (2013, 2014, 2015), as he claimed tonight’s victory in a time of 3:38.39.  Although that’s Kalisz’s fastest time this season, his winning time from Finals last year was actually faster – 3:36.89, so he more than likely has plenty left in the tank come NCAA championship time.

Second place tonight went to Florida freshman Mark Szaranek in a time of 3:40.22, shaving over a second off of his prelims time and moving him up from 5th place.  Florida’s Carlos Omana remained in third, clocking a 3:40.35, a big improvement for the senior who finished 7th in this event at last year’s championships.  Tennessee’s Sam McHugh threw down a gutsy race, re-breaking his own school record he set this morning, slamming into the wall tonight in 3:40.64.  Not too shabby for the swimmer whose previous best this season was 3:44.63.

Veteran Dan Wallace laid a little low in this race, finishing in 5th place in a time of 3:41.14.  His previous best this season was logged at a 3:44.12, however, with internatinal experience and previous NCAA champsionships, some might have thought he would have stepped out a bit more in this race.  Freshman Gunnar Bentz hinted at what great things may come from the promising athlete, hitting almost the same mark as he clocked in prelims (3:42.72 tonight, 3:42.73 in prelims), as did his Georgia freshman teammate Jay Litherland.  Litherland was also just a fingernail off of his prelim time – 3:43.14 prelim to 3:43.12 for finals – but earned his team a significant 23 points nonetheless.   Florida Senior Matt Elliott earned 8th tonight in 3:45.01, as the only swimmer who added notable time to his morning performance.

WOMEN’S 400 IM – FINALS

Georgia earned another 2015 SEC title tonight with junior Hali Flickinger‘s win in the 400 IM.  She clocked a 4:03.42 to knock almost four seconds off of her prelims time and edge her squad ever that much closer to a possible consecutive women’s title.  Flickinger also earned tonight’s only NCAA automatic qualifying time with her performance and is the Bulldog’s first SEC champion in this event since Keegan Walkley’s title in 1999. 

Last year’s overall 4th-place NCAA finisher Sarah Henry from Texas A&M stayed positioned in second place from her prelims performance, finishing tonight in a time of 4:05.44 and earning her all-SEC honors.  Notably, Henry was 4:03.90 at the SEC championships last year, which earned her a 3rd place finish at that meet.

Senior Amber McDermott moved up a spot from 4th to 3rd with her swim tonight, touching the wall in 4:05.57 for the Bulldogs.  Her time tonight was a significant time drop from her 4:09.35 she clocked earlier today and adds 27 points to the Georgia booty. Emily Cameron finished just two tenths behind her Georgia teammate in a time of 4:07.27.

Tennessee’s top finish was Amanda Carner coming in fourth place with her time of 4:07.27, while Florida’s Jessica Thielmann moved down a couple of notches tonight, finishing in 6th place with her time of 4:07.90, still the 6th-fastest in Florida program history.  Annie Zhu from Georgia maintained essentially her same time from prelims, finishing just three tenths slower – 4:09.57 tonight to her prelims time of 4:09.24.   Lone Mizzou swimmer Sharli Brady claimed tonight’s 8th spot, improving on her prelims time with a new result of 4:10.02.

MEN’S 100 FLY – FINALS

The leader from this morning’s prelims, Florida freshman Caeleb Dressel, just smashed the field tonight, earning the men’s 100 fly SEC title by almost a second.  Dressel‘s time of 45.28 surpasses that of Joseph Schooling to move him to the #1 ranked time in the country right now.  It also moves Dressel as the 2nd fastest Gator of all time; quite an answer to just narrowly missing out on the 50 free title earlier in the meet.

Interestingly, Dressel is the only finalist tonight who actually dropped time from prelims to finals; all other competitors actually added time.  LSU senior Frank Greeff took the runner-up spot tonight in a time of 46.24 to claim 28 points for the Tiger team, but added about a tenth onto his morning performance.  Another senior took home the third place time of 46.26 in the form of Florida’s Christian Homer, also adding just about a tenth to his morning swim.

Alabama’s Brett Walsh jumped two places to come in fourth tonight in his time of 46.34, followed by Florida sophomore Jack Blyzinskyj in 46.53.  LSU’s Alex Linge claimed 24 points for his team with a 6th place finish of 46.60.  Arthur Mendes, the junior from Auburn, closed out his final with a time of 46.63 for 7th, but added the most time from prelims to finals  – almost seven tenths.  Jacob Thulin came in eighth for the Vols in a time of 46.97.

WOMEN’S 100 FLY – FINALS

Texas A&M freshman Beryl Gastaldello ignited the 100 fly field tonight, breaking records and taking names. Gastaldello earned the 100 fly SEC title in 50.87, surpassing the previous meet mark of 51.00 set by the legendary Christine Magnusson back in 2008.  Gastaldello also broke the Texas A&M school record and positioned herself with the #1 time in the nation.  In fact, her swim was so swift, it would have won last year’s NCAA title, beating Felicia Lee’s 50.89.  Yes, it was that big of a swim.

Kentucky’s Christina Bechtel delivered a brave effort, clocking an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 51.04 for runner-up tonight – a time which would have placed second overall at last year’s NCAAs.  Her time tonight passes up the 51.11 she logged earlier this season at the Ohio State invite, which had her ranked #2 in the nation prior to tonight’s swim.  Natalie Hinds from Florida rounded out the top three, dropping over half a second from her morning effort, touching the wall tonight in 51.70, a time which also would have placed in the top 8 at the 2014 NCAA Championship.

Georgia’s Laura Harrington also made it under the 52-mark tonight, coming in 4th with her time of 51.84 and freshman Kyle Stewart was just behind her teammate, touching the wall in 5th in 52.46.  Kentucky’s other finalist tonight, All-American Abby Myers finished 6th in a 52.65, while two LSU Tigers cleaned up the 7th and 8th spots. Amber Carter finished in 52.70, while Kara Kopcso, who earlier won the 8th place swim-off to get into the final, ended up 8th tonight in 52.93.

MEN’S 200 FREE – FINALS

Georgia claimed another major win tonight, with Matias Koski’s victory in the men’s 200 free, earning the SEC title for the Bulldogs for the first time since Mike Walsh’s victory in 1963.  Koski’s time of 1:33.23 just narrowly defeated Florida’s Mitch D’Arrigo, who earned second place in the race in 1:33.41 and the two signified the only swimmers to dip under the 1:34 mark.   For Koski’s swim, he certainly improved on his performance from last year’s SECs where he earned 5th (1:34.54), setting him up to possibly surpass his overall 4th place finish at NCAAs. D’Arrigo stayed in the same second place spot from last year’s SECs, but bettered his 2014 time (1:33.95) slightly.

D’Arrigo’s Gator teammate Pawel Werner clocked a 1:34.49 tonight to come in 3rd place, a one-spot improvement on his overall SEC result from last year’s meet.  Auburn’s Hugo Morris was third coming out of prelims and moved down one spot to fourth, essentially maintaining pace with is prelims swim – 1:34.53 this morning to 1:34.51 in finals.

Georgia senior Alec Cohen swam a 1:34.96 for fifth place, followed by the sole South Carolina swimmer in tonight’s final, Marwan El Kamash, whose time of 1:35.14 kept him in 6th.  Tennessee’s Sean Lehane added about a second to his earlier swim, claiming 7th tonight in a time of 1:35.76.  Corey Main also didn’t fare as well tonight, as he dropped a spot and finished 8th for the Gators, adding almost 2 seconds to touch the wall in a time of 1:37.33.

WOMEN’S 200 FREE – FINALS

Florida Gator Amelia Maughan earned a little redemption tonight, as she topped the women’s 200 free final to win the SEC title in 1:44.68.  This performance came after a slightly disappointing 50 freestyle earlier in the meet where the freshman did not make it back to even the C-Final.  However, in this race, Maughan proved she wanted it badly, improving from 4th spot in prelims to tonight’s title winner position by dropping over half a second.

Maughan’s stellar swim as the only one to dip under 1:45, leaving Georgia senior Jordan Mattern to settle for the runner-up position tonight.  Mattern’s 1:45.07 effort tonight is a placement improvement on her 4th-place finish from last year’s SECs, although her time is a bit slower than her swim there, which was 1:44.19.

Freshman Meredith Vay held her own as the only South Carolina competitor in the field tonight, jumping up three spots to claim 3rd.  Her 1:45.98 from this morning was a personal best, but she even improved up on that, if only by the slimmest of margins, with a new mark of 1:45.94.  Aggie Sarah Gibson came in 4th tonight with a time of 1:46.13, which bumps the swimmer down two notches from her stellar 2nd seeded 1:45.49 prelims swim.

Georgia Bulldog Brittany MacLean improved from her 7th position standing from prelims and finished in 5th with a slightly slower time of 1:46.30.  Aggie Lili Ibanez Lopez added about a half a second from her standout prelims swim, to claim 6th tonight in 1:46.41.  Auburn’s Jillian Vitarius and Alabama’s Emma Saunders rounded out the field tonight in 7th (1:46.71) and 8th (1:46.84) positions, respectively.

TEAM SCORES THROUGH DAY 3:

Women:

1. Georgia, University of 804
2.Texas A&M University 648
3. University of Florida 547
4. Louisiana State University 404
5. Tennessee, University of, Knox 389
6. Auburn University 332
7. Kentucky, University of 300
8. University of Missouri 292
9. South Carolina, University of, 255
10. Arkansas, University of, Fayet 245
11. University of Alabama 240
12. Vanderbilt University 90

Men:

1. University of Florida 707.5
2. Georgia, University of 634
3. Auburn University 540.5
4. Tennessee, University of, Knox 537.5
5. University of Alabama 424.5
6. University of Missouri 371
7. South Carolina, University of, 324
8. Louisiana State University 310
9. Texas A&M University 291
10. Kentucky, University of 220

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Ole 99

I believe Tom Shields owns the 100fly NAG record at 44.91, not Dressel.

NickH

Rough last 100 for Matt Elliott in the 4IM.

Swimmer

Caeleb Dressel with a 45.28 in the 100 fly. Won by a second. WOW!

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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