2016 MEN’S & WOMEN’S SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Tuesday, February 16 – Saturday, February 20
- Mizzou Aquatic Center, Columbia, MO (Central Time Zone)
- Prelims 10AM / Finals 6PM (Wed-Sat), Tuesday Times Finals 5:30PM (Central Time)
- Defending Men’s Champion: Florida (3x) (results)
- Defending Women’s Champion: Georgia Bulldogs, 6 Consecutive Titles (results)
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live results
- Live Video
- Men’s Fan Guide
- Women’s Fan Guide
After a wild first night of action in Columbia Missouri, the “meat” of the meet gets underway this morning. Three individual swimming events, the 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free, will be contested. There will also be preliminaries in the 1M diving.
University of Kentucky sits in a tie with perennial champion Georgia in the women’s meet, largely owing to their diving. They are not likely to stay in that position today. The Auburn men got off to a good start yesterday as they try to make their way back to the top of the conference standings. To stay on top, however, they’ll have to overcome a typically strong first day for the Florida Gators.
Women’s 500 Freestyle Preliminary
The 500 Freestyle is typically where Georgia stakes their claim on the meet. Last year they had the top two finishers and half the championship final. This year is no different. Georgia put four in the A-Final, led by Hali Flickinger who is the top seed at 4:35.56.
Defending champion Brittany MacLean is in third. Aside from the Bulldogs, Texas A&M had the best showing, putting one swimmer top eight and two in the consolation final. Sarah Gibson made a nice drop under 4:40 to qualify second for the Aggies. Florida got two and one as well, with Jess Thielman leading the way.
MacLean will be the favorite tonight, but it should be a good battle with fellow senior Flickinger.
Top Eight qualifiers for tonight’s final:
- Hali Flickinger, Georgia
- Sarah Gibson, Texas A&M
- Brittany MacLean, Georgia
- Jess Thielman, Florida
- Anna Mayfield, Arkansas
- Stephanie Peters, Georgia
Men’s 500 Freestyle Preliminary
South Carolina’s Akaram Mahmoud is a rising star in NCAA swimming. Today he made one of his biggest statements to date, rocketing to a top seed in with a 4:12.78. That time will surely qualify him for the NCAA Championship next month. If Mahmoud can win, he will become just the fourth Gamecock to ever win an individual event at the SEC Championship. The Gamecocks have never had a swimmer win this event, their best distance result is a 1995 victory by Jay Telford in the 1650
But Akram will not go unchallenged tonight. Second seed Mitch D’Arrigo is the top returner from last year’s meet, and his final time from last year’s meet was a couple seconds faster than Akram’s preliminary swim. Georgia sophomore Kevin Litherland also appears to have more in the tank for tonight’s final.
South Carolina managed two swimmers in the A-Final, an outstanding result for them. Auburn will have to balance out this event to later in the session to stay ahead of Florida, as the Gators put three swimmers in the top final, to go along with three in the consolation and one in the bonus. Auburn had just one championship and one bonus final swimmer.
Top Eight qualifiers for tonight:
- Akarak Mahmoud, South Carolina
- Mitch D’Arrigo, Florida
- Pawel Werner, Florida
- Tom Peribonio, South Carolina
- Garrett Powell, Georgia
- Hugo Morris, Auburn
- Kevin Litherland, Georgia
- Arthur Frayler, Florida
Women’s 200 IM
Texas A&M mustered a strong response to the Bulldogs opening volley. With freshmen Sydney Pickrem in front, the Aggies qualified the top three and four total for the championship final in this event. Youth is on A&M’s side as well, all four of their A finalists are sophomores or freshmen. Georgia managed two as well to go along with two in the consolation final.
The top three swimmers from last year’s championship graduated, leaving Annie Zhu as the highest finishing returner. The Bulldog senior flirted with missing the final, however, and qualified eighth. Amanda Carner of Tennessee was the highest riser in this event, dropping down from her 1:58.27 seed to 1:56.71 and qualifying fourth. She’s improved dramatically over last year, where she managed just 1:59 in the consolation final.
Top Eight qualifiers for tonight:
- Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M
- Lisa Bratton, Texas A&M
- Bethany Galat, Texas A&M
- Amanda Carner, Tennessee
- Katherine Ross, Missouri
- Meaghan Raab, Georgia
- Kristin Malone, Texas A&M
- Annie Zhu, Georgia
Men’s 200 IM
Gunnar Bentz qualified first for Georgia, by just .01 over Joseph Patching of Auburn. Patching swam almost identical to his 2015 performance that netted him third place in this event.
Auburn had a good showing overall, with three swimmers in the A-Final. Florida answered with two. Last year the Tigers had no swimmers in the top eight. Tynan Stewart of Georgia, the defending champion, slipped well back from seed into the B-Final.
The top eight for tonight’s final:
- Gunnar Bentz, Georgia
- Joe Patching, Auburn
- Mark Szaranek, Florida
- Jacob Molacek, Auburn
- Jan Switkowski, Florida
- Michael Duderstadt, Auburn
- Jay Litherland, Georgia
- Sam McHugh, Tennessee
Women’s 50 freestyle
Tennessee threw their hat into the ring with this morning’s preliminary result. Faith Johnson has been there all along, but tonight she will be joined by three teammates in the final. The most surprising is junior transfer Kira Toussaint, who came from Florida Gulf Coast and now finds herself in an SEC Final. Toussaint was known primarily for her backstroke but has improved nearly a half second in this event in the past year.
Based on their results this morning Tennessee is the clear favorite in the 200 freestyle relay tonight.
The top qualifier was a bit of redemption, as 2014 champion Olivia Smoliga nudged out Florida’s Natalie Hinds. Smoliga was in the B-Final last year.
Top eight qualifiers:
- Olivia Smoliga, Georgia
- Natalie Hinds, Florida
- Madeline Banic, Tennessee
- Faith Johnson, Tennesee
- Kira Toussaint, Tennessee
- Beryl Gastaldello, Texas A&M
- Harper Bruens, Tennessee
- Leah Troskot, LSU
Men’s 50 Freestyle
Caeleb Dressel broke the world with his preliminary swim. He set an NCAA record with a scorching 18.39, the only swim under 19 seconds this morning. For more on that swim, click here. For video of the race, click here.
Top returners Kyle Darmody of Auburn and Kristian Gkolomeev of Alabama will have to find a new gear to be anywhere close to Dressel in this race. Gkolomeev has the best chance off his 18.67 at last year’s SEC meet. Kyle Decoursey of Tennessee got under 20 for the first time in his career to sneak into the the top eight.
The top eight qualifiers:
- Caeleb Dressel, Florida
- Kristian Gkolomeev, Alabama
- Peter Holoda, Auburn
- Michael Chadwick, Missouri
- Kyle Darmody, Auburn
- Corey Main, Florida
- Brett Walsh, Alabama
- Kyle Decoursey, Tennessee