2016 SEC Championships: Day 5 Finals Live Recap


It’s the final day of the 2016 SEC Championships and both team battles could come right down to the final event.

The Florida men lead by 30 over Auburn, but Auburn stacked 5 swimmers into A finals tonight, including second 200 back seed Joe Patching and second 100 free seed Peter Holoda.

But Florida has Caeleb Dressel sitting ahead of Holoda and going for a 3-for-3 sweep of individual events after an American record-setting 50 free and a NCAA-ranked 100 fly.

Alabama is also primed to make a run with 5 A finalists, including 200 breast top qualifier Anton McKee. Elsewhere, Tennessee’s Sean Lehane looks for his third-straight SEC 200 back title and Matias Koski aims for a repeat 1650 free championship.

For the women, Texas A&M leads by 19 over Tennessee with six-time defending champs Georgia 12 back of the Vols. Georgia is loaded up with some high seeds, though, including Hali Flickinger chasing her third individual title of the meet in the 200 back and Brittany MacLean after her own third title in the 1650 free.

Defending 100 free champ Natalie Hinds is the top threat to win that title for Florida, and Alabama’s Bridget Blood leads a crowded breaststroke field.

Keep refreshing this page for live event-by-event updates as results pour in from Greensboro.

Women’s 1650 Free – Final Heat

  1. Brittany MacLean, UGA – 15:36.52
  2. Jess Thielmann, FLOR – 16:06.21
  3. Maddy Tegner, TENN – 16:08.26

Georgia senior Brittany MacLean blew out a field that included defending SEC champ Jess Thielmann to win her third title of the week and put herself on the short list of names for SEC Swimmer of the Year.

MacLean went 15:36.52, which is the fastest she’s been since winning the NCAA title back in 2014 while setting the NCAA record. MacLean’s time would have moved her to #1 in the nation, but defending national champ Leah Smith just broke MacLean’s NCAA record at ACCs with a 15:25.

Thielmann was 16:06.21 for Florida, well off what she went in winning this race last year and about ten seconds off her mid-season best. Rounding out the top three was Tennessee’s Maddy Tegner, who went 16:08.26.

Florida junior Autumn Finke was 16:11.00 and Auburn junior Ashley Neidigh 16:13.03 in a field dominated by upperclassmen. The highest-placing freshman or sophomore was Auburn’s Zoe Thatcher, who went 16:15.24 out of the afternoon heats to take 6th overall.

MacLean’s win was huge for Georgia, vaulting the Bulldogs into the team points lead for the first time since day 1. They now lead Tennessee by just a single point, with Texas A&M sitting four points out of the lead.

Men’s 1650 Free – Final Heat

  1. Akaram Mahmoud, SC – 14:35.49
  2. Arthur Frayler, FLOR – 14:49.22
  3. Tom Peribonio, SC – 14:50.90

In a huge event for the upstart South Carolina Gamecocks, sophomore Akaram Mahmoud beat out a field that included two former SEC champions and the defending NCAA champ for the 1650 free title.

Mahmoud went 14:35.49, a new NCAA-leading time and a swim that would have placed third at last year’s national championships.

2014 SEC champ Arthur Frayler of Florida was second, going 14:49.22, and behind him was another South Carolina swimmer. Tom Peribonio was the top finisher out of the afternoon heats, going 14:50.90 and holding up for third place overall.

Last year’s SEC runner-up Mitch D’Arrigo was fourth for Florida, going 14:52.23 as the Gators put three swimmers into the top 8. Behind him, another afternoon heat swimmer took fifth in Garrett Powell of Georgia at 14:58.57.

Last year’s SEC and NCAA champ Matias Koski fell all the way to 12th in 15:09.54 – he was just the third-best finisher on his own team.

Florida scored 5 swimmers, 4 of them inside the top 10. That helped the Gators put a big hurt on Auburn in the team battle, rolling their lead up to 116 points after sitting 30 ahead last night.

Women’s 200 Back – Finals

  1. Lisa Bratton, A&M – 1:50.64
  2. Danielle Galyer, KY – 1:50.73
  3. Hali Flickinger, UGA – 1:50.95

Defending champ Danielle Galyer of Kentucky led at the 100-mark, but a tough field was right on her heels. Over the final 100, Texas A&M’s Lisa Bratton came through with a huge swim for her team, beating out Galyer by a tenth for the SEC title.

Bratton was 1:50.64 and Galyer 1:50.73, with both of them holding off the charging Georgia duo of Hali Flickinger (1:50.95) and Kylie Stewart (1:52.28).

That’s a major swing in the team points, where Georgia still leads, but only by 15 over A&M heading into two strong events for the Aggies.

Florida’s Ashlee Linn was 1:52.46 for fifth place, ahead of Auburn’s Caroline Baddock (1:53.78) and Missouri’s Nadine Laemmler (1:53.82).

Men’s 200 Back – Finals

  1. Joe Patching, AUB – 1:40.14
  2. Connor Oslin, BAMA – 1:40.42
  3. Christopher Reid, BAMA – 1:40.95

Auburn’s Joe Patching won his second SEC title of 2016 and nearly cracked 1:40 for the first time in the 200 backstroke.

Patching, the 200 IM champ earlier this week, went 1:40.14 to win the event and break the pool record. That’s .02 faster than he went at last year’s NCAA Championships for a new lifetime-best.

Alabama swept the second and third spots. Connor Oslin was 1:40.42 and Christopher Reid 1:40.95 for the Crimson Tide with both swimmers beating out defending SEC champ Sean Lehane (1:41.06) of Tennessee.

Missouri’s Carter Griffin, formerly the pool record-holder, went 1:41.44 for fifth place.

Despite Patching’s win, Florida actually expanded its lead out to 156 points over Auburn. Georgia is 80 back of the Tigers, with Alabama and Missouri dueleing for fourth place.

Women’s 100 Free – Finals

  1. Natalie Hinds, FLOR – 47.35
  2. Olivia Smoliga, UGA – 47.49
  3. Beryl Gastaldello, A&M – 47.89

Florida’s Natalie Hinds defended her 2015 SEC title in the 100 free and denied Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga a third event win.

Hinds used a big front-half split to roll to a 47.35 win, just a tenth off what she went last year at this meet and two tenths off what she went in taking bronze at NCAAs a few months later.

Smoliga, the 50 free and 100 back winner, was 47.49, coming up with the field’s best back-half split but running out of pool in trying to catch Hinds for the win. As the team battle continues to heat up, Texas A&M’s Beryl Gastaldello was third in 47.89, the last woman under 48.

But it was actually Tennessee that made the biggest leap points-wise, scoring four swimmers inside the top 8. FGCU transfer Kira Toussaint was the top finisher, going 48.10 for fourth, Faith Johnson was sixth (48.52), Harper Bruens seventh (48.54) and Maddie Banic eighth (48.77).

In the middle was Leah Troskot of LSU at 48.51.

Tennessee now leads with 1007.5 points, up 15 on Georgia (992.5) and 17 on A&M (990.5). Below, Florida maintains a narrow edge over Auburn, 670 to 658.

Men’s 100 Free – Finals

  1. Caeleb Dressel, FLOR – 41.07 (American record)
  2. Michael Chadwick, MIZZ – 41.96
  3. Peter Holoda, AUB – 42.42

Florida’s Caeleb Dressel continued to provide the fireworks individually, crushing a 41.07 in the 100 freestyle to break the American record.

This is the second American record for Dressel this week – he broke, then re-broke, the 50 free record on Wednesday.

Dressel’s time gets just .01 under the old national mark set by Nathan Adrian in 2009. Adrian would go on to win the Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter event in 2012.

The Florida Gator also broke Matt Targett’s SEC meet record of 41.55, but still has another mark to shoot for: Vlad Morozov’s NCAA and US Open record of 40.76.

Second went to hometown hero Michael Chadwick of Mizzou at 41.96, just off his lifetime-best of 41.89 from the mid-season rest meet for Missouri.

Auburn’s Peter Holoda wound up third at 42.42, a couple tenths off his prelims swim. And defending NCAA champ Kristian Gkolomeev finished just fourth in a tough conference, going 42.67.

Auburn mitigated the bulk of Dressel’s team points, though, by placing three into the top eight and scoring six total swimmers. They now trail the Gators by 103 with just two events remaining.

Women’s 200 Breast – Finals

  1. Bethany Galat, A&M – 2:07.83
  2. Sydney Pickrem, A&M – 2:07.96
  3. Annie Lazor, AUB – 2:08.31

With the team race still extremely tight, Texas A&M all but ended the drama with a 1-2 finish in the 200 breaststroke, courtesy of sophomore Bethany Galat and freshman Sydney Pickrem.

Galat went 2:07.83, leading wire-to-wire in a tough heat. Her front-half speed (out in 1:01.47) was too much for the field to match, and though she fell off in the final 50 a bit, no one had the endurance to make up any significant ground.

Pickrem swam almos the exact opposite race. The Canadian freshman was out in 1:02.41, sitting 7th out of 8 swimmers. But she had the fastest closing 50 by far at 32.4 second to nearly steal the win from Galat in 2:07.96.

Auburn’s Annie Lazor was another big back-half swimmer in the heat, surging to third in 2:08.31. 100 breast champ Katharine Ross used her speed to sit second at the halfway point and wound up fourth at 2:08.59, just touching out teammate Abby Duncan (2:08.65).

The 1-2 sweep pushed A&M out a a lead of 50 points over Georgia and 59 over Tennessee. With relays starting at 64 points for the winner, the meet isn’t necesarily over, but it would take a heroic effort from either the Bulldogs or Vols in the platform diving and 400 free relay events to turn the meet back around this late.

Men’s 200 Breast – Finals

  1. Michael Duderstadt, AUB – 1:53.50
  2. Fabian Schwingenschlogl, MIZZ – 1:53.87
  3. Nils Wich-Glasen, SC – 1:53.94

Auburn’s Michael Duderstadt completed a sweep of the SEC breaststroke races, winning the 200 breast in 1:53.50. Like Galat in the event before, Duderstadt used his front-end speed to set up the win, going out in 54.44 for a lead of three tenths over his closest challenger.

Missouri’s Fabian Schwingenschlogl was the top competitor to Duderstadt just as in the 100. The German, who transferred in from the suspended Western Kentucky program this offseason, went 1:53.87 for second.

Nils Wich-Glasen was 1:53.94 for South Carolina, just a tenth back of Schwingenschlogl after going out a half-second faster. In a tight field, Tennessee rookie Ethan Browne was 1:54.08 and Alabama’s Anton McKee went 1:54.30 for fifth after holding the top qualifying time out of prelims.

Duderstadt’s win pushed Auburn up to 1159 points, just 60 back of the 1219 Florida Gator score. That means that barring any DQs in the 400 free relay, Florida will win its fourth-consecutive men’s SEC title.

Women’s Platform Diving – Final

  1. Rachel Rubadue, TENN – 330.50
  2. Alais Kalonji, A&M – 289.50
  3. Allyson Nied, SC – 283.80

Freshmen swept the top three spots in the women’s platform diving, led by Tennessee’s Rachel Rubadue. She vastly outpaced the field by more than 40 points to win her first career SEC title.

Keeping pace in the team points, though, Texas A&M got a second-place finish from freshman Alais Kalonji, just beating out South CArolina rookie Allyson Nied.

Tennessee scored a pair of divers, while A&M and Georgia only scored one apiece. That leaves the Aggies with a 39 point lead over Tennessee heading into the final relay – barring any major DQs, that will hand Texas A&M its first-ever SEC swimming & diving title. Georgia is in third, 71 points back, which officially puts them out of range of a seventh-straight SEC title. They could still theoretically catch Tennessee for third, but would need a DQ or a win with Tennessee taking dead last.

Women’s 400 Free Relay – Timed Final

  1. Tennessee – 3:12.04
  2. Georgia – 3:12.74
  3. Florida – 3:14.49

After placing four swimmers in the top 8 of the individual 100 free, Tennessee came through again in the 400 free relay, with that same quartet combining for an SEC title in 3:12.04.

Senior Faith Johnson led the way with a 47.59 anchor leg, expanding what was already a solid lead at the 300-mark. Kira Toussaint was 48.26 on the leadoff leg, Maddie Banic 48.23 on her split and Harper Bruens also got under 48 with a 47.96 split to officially overtake Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida for the lead on the third leg.

It was actually A&M who led early on a 47.49 leadoff leg from Beryl Gastaldello, but the other three programs had better depth to eventually take back the lead. Georgia got a 47.63 leadoff split from Olivia Smoliga, plus a 47.89 anchor from Hali Flickinger to take second in 3:12.74. Florida, meanwhile, got a field-best 47.10 split from SEC 100 free champ Natalie Hinds to go 3:14.49 for third.

A&M finished fourth in 3:14.82 as all four of those relays earned automatic NCAA qualifying bids.

The Aggies avoided a DQ in the race, making their SEC Championship official. They topped Tennessee by 27 points and Georgia by 67, ending a six-year run on SEC titles from the Bulldogs.

Team Scores:

  1. Texas A&M – 1166.5
  2. Tennessee – 1139.6
  3. Georgia – 1099.5
  4. Auburn – 797
  5. Missouri – 764
  6. Florida – 754
  7. LSU – 624
  8. Kentucky – 619
  9. Arkansas – 491
  10. Alabama – 486
  11. South Carolina – 424.5
  12. Vanderbilt – 166

Men’s 400 Free Relay – Timed Final

  1. Auburn – 2:48.64
  2. Florida – 2:50.30
  3. Alabama – 2:51.31

Auburn won its 11th-straight men’s 400 free relay title at the SEC meet, blowing out the field by almost two seconds in the process.

Peter Holoda had the field’s best split at 41.28 on the anchor leg, and Kyle Darmody was 41.80 on his own split to power the Tigers. Arthur Mendes led off in 42.86 and Michael Duderstadt came off a SEC breaststroke title to go 42.70 on his split as the Tigers went 2:48.64.

Newly-crowned American record-holder Caeleb Dressel led off in 41.44 for Florida, and though they only had one other split under 43 seconds (Corey Main in 42.67), they still held on for second in 2:50.30. Alabama took third, getting a 42.06 from Kristian Gkolomeev on the anchor leg to go 2:51.31.

Georgia (2:51.37) and Mizzou (2:52.05) also got into the top 5, with Georgia getting a 42.84 leadoff from Matias Koski and Missouri a 42.14 leadoff out of Michael Chadwick.

Florida’s second-place finish notched them another team SEC title, this year beating Auburn by 52 to extend their win streak to four years.

Team Scores:

  1. Florida – 1275
  2. Auburn – 1223
  3. Georgia – 1010
  4. Alabama – 915
  5. Missouri – 902
  6. Tennessee – 745
  7. South Carolina – 574
  8. Texas A&M – 532
  9. Kentucky – 530
  10. LSU – 526

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5 years ago

I’m not sure if this is important, but Maxime Rooney was at the same meet I was at today. It was really cool, seeing a potential Olympian in the flesh. He went 45 in the 100 free and 1:53 in the 200 IM. He absolutely demolished the competition, and he has the 200 free tomorrow, not sure if he’s swimming anything else.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Bob, every news about swimming is important.
And go Rooney for the US olympic 4X200 free relay team qualification.

Back to that SEC meet, I’m obviously very curious to see Dressel in action in the 100 free final. 5th day of a long meet. I don’t know what to expect about time. Any time close to 41 low after all his races would be amazing in my opinion.
Also interested in Flickinger. No many people talk about her but she’s at a whole new level right now. Great fly. Great back. Great free. If she can add a decent breaststroke to that package, her 400 IM could be very interesting in the future.

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Thanks Bobo! I still can’t get over how cool it was seeing Maxime in person. HE’S SO TALL! IT’S CRAZY!

I also think that Caeleb can get the American Record. If he can go 19.3/21.6, he’ll be at 40.9. So maybe he gets the U.S Open Record too? 🙂

5 years ago

What happened to Koski? Mahmoud was so fast…and what about Ransford from Michigan? Maybe the battle for the NCAA title won’t be Ransford/Koski, but Ransford/Mahmoud?

5 years ago

116 pt lead for florida? dang.

Reply to  calswimfan
5 years ago

156 after 2 back. Lead will go down from here the next two events. But Florida should hold on.

5 years ago

So nice to see Brittany MacLean swimming well again – Such a gritty swimmer!

5 years ago


5 years ago

Dressel’s 41.07 is 3rd fastest all-time!! Between these swims and last summer’s results he’s in great shape for NCAAs and Olympic Trials.

5 years ago

AMERICAN RECORD BY .01!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT A BEAST!!!!!!!!!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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