2017 Men’s SEC Championships Fan Guide: Florida Looks for 5 Straight

2017 MEN’S SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS

The eyes of swimming will be on Knoxville, Tennessee tonight as the SEC will be the first major NCAA Division I men’s conference to hold its championship meet – with both the men and women kicking off on Tuesday. The action takes place at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center from Tuesday, February 14th through Saturday, February 18th.

The Florida Gators will be looking to extend their streak with a 5th-straight SEC Championship title, with Caeleb Dressel returning after an outstanding performance last season. They’ve also got newcomer Maxime Rooney, who could be an immediate title threat in the 200 free as a freshman.

Among the teams looking to upend the Gators this season are the Georgia Bulldogs and Auburn Tigers. Georgia brings a star-studded lineup that includes Olympians Chase Kalisz, Gunnar Bentz, and Jay Litherland. Auburn, on the other hand, brings defending SEC champions Joe Patching, Hugo Morris, and Michael Duderstadt as they look to avenge last season’s 50-point loss to Florida.

SCHEDULE

The SEC is the only major conference to use the 5-day meet format, which spreads events out and should prevent too many swimmers from running into tough doubles. The event lineup is listed below:

Tuesday:

  • Women’s 1-meter diving
  • 200 Medley Relay
  • Men’s 3-meter diving
  • 800 Free Relay

Wednesday:

  • 500 Free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 Free
  • Men’s 1-meter diving
  • 200 Free Relay

Thursday:

  • 400 IM
  • 100 Fly
  • Women’s 3-meter diving
  • 200 Free

Friday:

  • 200 Fly
  • 100 Back
  • 100 Breast
  • Men’s Platform diving
  • 400 Medley Relay

Saturday:

  • 1650 Free
  • 200 Back
  • 100 Free
  • 200 Breast
  • Women’s Platform diving
  • 400 Free Relay

STARS

Alabama Luke Kaliszak (junior backstroker), Connor Oslin (senior backstroker), Christopher Reid (junior backstroker), Laurent Bams (sophomore freestyler), Zane Waddell (freshman sprinter) – One of Alabama’s biggest strengths is their backstroke group, which includes All-Americans Oslin, Kaliszak, and Reid who could all potentially challenge for a backstroke title individually.

Auburn  Joe Patching (senior back/IMer), Michael Duderstadt (senior breaststroker), Hugo Morris (junior free/butterflier), Peter Holoda (junior freestyler), Kyle Darmody (senior back/freestyler) – Duderstadt, Patching, and Morris all return as defending SEC champions for the Tigers. Holoda and Darmody should have a big impact as relay swimmers and in the individual sprints.

Florida  Caeleb Dressel (junior free/butterflier), Mark Szaranek (junior IMer), Jan Switkowski (junior free/IMer), Maxime Rooney (freshman freestyler), Mitch D’Arrigo (senior freestyler) – Needless to say, the Gators will get a big boost in the sprints from Dressel. They also have the potential to score big in the middle distance freestyles with Rooney, D’Arrigo, and Switkowski.

Georgia – Chase Kalisz (senior fly/breast/IMer), Gunnar Bentz (junior free/fly/IMer), Jay Litherland (junior free/IMer), Pace Clark (senior butterflier), Javier Acevedo (freshman free/backstroker) – The Georgia IM group will be a big weapon for the Bulldogs, with Kalisz, Litherland, and Bentz potentially locking down the 400 IM podium.

Kentucky – Kyle Higgins (senior butterflier), Brandon Flynn (senior IMer), Drew Aviotti (senior freestyler), Sebastian Masterton (sophomore diver) – Higgins finished just outside of the top 8 last year, but could make a push for the championship final in the 200 fly this time around.

LSU – Logan Rysemus (fly/backstroker), Brandon Goldman (senior back/IMer), Smith (sophomore backstroker) – Rysemus should be a big scorer for LSU, as he currently ranks in the nation’s top 8 in the 100 back and 100 fly.

Missouri – Michael Chadwick (senior freestyler/breaststroker), Fabian Schwingenshlogl (senior breaststroker), Andrew Sansoucie (senior fly/freestyler), Mikel Schreuders (sophomore freestyler) – Seniors Chadwick, Sansoucie, and Schwingenschlogl should have a big impact for the Tigers, as each are highly likely to end up on the medal stand.

South Carolina – Akram Mahmoud (senior freestyler), Nils Wich-Glasen (junior breast/freestyler), Tom Peribonio (senior free/IMer), Jordan Gotro (senior diver) – South Carolina’s distance freestyle group is one of their biggest assets. Mahmoud and Peribonio return after landing on the 1650 free podium last season.

Tennessee – Sam McHugh (junior fly/back/IMer), Kyle Decoursey (sophomore freestyler), Liam Stone (junior diver), David Heron (junior freestyler), Peter Stevens (junior breaststroker) – All-American McHugh has been winning triples left and right for the Vols this season, and could potentially contribute with 3 A-final appearances at the conference meet.

Texas A&M – Cory Bolleter (senior freestyler), Brock Bonetti ( junior backstroker), Mauro Castillo Luna ( junior breaststroker), Sam Thornton (sophomore diver) – Texas A&M’s Bolleter has been hitting his stride this season, and could put the Aggies on the map in the 50 free final. The Aggies also have returning finalists Bonetti, Castillo Luna, and Thornton.

SHOWDOWNS

100 Fly – Defending SEC champion Caeleb Dressel is currently tied as the fastest man in the nation with Missouri’s Andrew Sansoucie, as both men clocked in at 44.86 at their respective midseason invites. They’re the only men in the SEC to have broken 45 seconds so far, but LSU’s Logan Rysemus has dipped into the 45-range and will head to the meet ranked 3rd with his 45.98.

100/200 Back – The men’s backstrokes should bring some good battles, as the top 3 men in the 100 back all come in at the 45-range. Leading the pack is Alabama’s Luke Kaliszak, who is currently ranked 2nd in the nation with his 45.29. The Crimson Tide will also field defending SEC champion Connor Oslin and All-American Christopher Reid. Florida’s Jack Blyzinskyj, Georgia’s Taylor Dale, and LSU’s Logan Rysemus will also be up to the challenge. The field in the 200 back is also deep, with Auburn’s defending SEC champ Joe Patching and Missouri’s returning A-finalist Carter Griffin there to compete for the title.

100 Breast – Missouri’s defending NCAA champion Fabian Schwingenschlogl will look for redemption in the 100 breast after taking a narrow loss last season to Auburn’s Michael Duderstadt, who will return to defend his title. Schwingenschlogl is looking particularly dangerous for the title after setting a new personal best 51.07 in the event at the 2016 Mizzou Invite. Tennessee’s Peter Stevens is another one to keep an eye on here. He was disqualified in prelims last season, but could easily set himself up as a title contender this year.

400 Free Relay – The 400 free relay could be a close one between a handful of teams this year. Florida and Alabama put up almost identical times at midseason, and are both ranked in the top 3 in the nation. The Gators will get a huge boost from American Record holder Caeleb Dressel, but Bama has 3 of the top 10 100 freestylers this year in Laurent Bams, Zane Waddell, and Robert Howard. Not far behind those 2 teams is Missouri with sprint standout Michael Chadwick. Auburn has historically been a title contender in this relay, and will rely on Peter Holoda and Zach Apple to keep them in the hunt.

SELECTIONS

Despite a tough field of competitors, the Gators are in a good position to earn their 5th straight title. Georgia and Auburn will be tough to beat. The Missouri Tigers are also looking very sharp this season, fielding the best men’s lineup they’ve had since joining the SEC since 2012. While several teams bring a lot of star power to the table, Florida still looks like they have the depth to get the job done.

Georgia is a much better team, with the return of Kalisz and the addition of Acevedo, than they were last year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they made the big move past Auburn for 2nd. The Tigers, however, had a pretty big margin last year that we expect will be enough to hold off the ‘Dawgs.

  1. Florida
  2. Auburn
  3. Georgia
  4. Missouri
  5. Alabama
  6. Tennessee
  7. Texas A&M
  8. South Carolina
  9. LSU
  10. Kentucky

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E Gamble

Is the team that you support going for their 5th SEC title in a row? No

Nswim

Hi, when will the women’s fan guide be released?

Dawgpaddle

Exciting times will produce exciting times. If Dressel does not race the 50 and Chadwick does not shave for SECs the door is open for Decoursey to nip a home win! Also would be fun to see what Dressel could go racing the Georgia Dawgs in the 2IM! Best wishes to ALL of the swimmers, divers and staffs at this amazing event!

Swimfish87

I had the privilege of watching Kyle go from a starter to a state champ in for years! It would be amazing to see him win an SEC title

E Gamble

Dressel has raced and won the 50 free for 2 years in a row. Don’t count on that happening.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She is now coaching for Loggerhead Aquatics in her hometown …

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