2017 SEC Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The first session of the 2017 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships kicks off tonight in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center. Swimmers are set to compete in the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay, while divers will compete in the men’s 1-meter and women’s 3-meter.

The Florida Gator men will be looking to extend their streak with a 5th-straight SEC Championship title, with star sprinter Caeleb Dressel returning after smashing American Records last season. We’ll also get a first look at freshman standout Maxime Rooney in his first conference championship meet.

On the women’s side, the Texas A&M Aggies are seeking back-to-back titles after dethroning the Georgia Bulldogs last season. The Aggies will field returning SEC champions Bethany Galat, Lisa Bratton, and Sarah Gibson, to name a few. Georgia will be tough to beath, though, as the Bulldogs look for redemption after having their conference title streak snapped last season. Leading the charge will be NCAA sprint champion Olivia Smoliga and All-American Chantal Van Landeghem.


  1. Liam Stone, Tennessee, 468.30
  2. Juan Hernandez, LSU, 467.05
  3. Tyler Henschel, Texas A&M, 420.65

In an extremely close contest down to the final dive, Tennessee’s Liam Stone was able to edge out LSU’s Juan Hernandez to win the first event of the SEC Championships. LSU got a huge boost from diving, as they had 3 finalists tonight. Texas A&M, who had Tyler Henschel make the medal stand with a bronze, also had 3 in tonight’s final to get off to a great start.


  1. Georgia- 1:35.28
  2. Texas A&M- 1:35.33
  3. Tennessee- 1:35.45

Texas A&M and Georgia wasted no time setting up the team battle with their performance in the 200 medley relay. The Aggies had the lead at the 150 after a 26.59 breast split from Jorie Caneta and a 23.02 fly split from Sarah Gibson, but Chantal Van Landeghem roared back for Georgia with a 21.18 anchor split to just out-touch the Aggies at the finish. Tennessee was a close 3rd, with Madeline Banic churning out a 22.74 on the fly split.

The Kentucky women were just one place shy of the podium, finishing in 1:36.76. Breaststroker Madison Winstead had a stellar performance, clocking a 26.88 on the breaststroke leg.

There were as many as 4 DQs in the 2 heats of 200 medley relays, the biggest of which was LSU, as the Tigers would’ve placed 5th. Arkansas, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt were also disqualified. Live results initially indicated that Missouri had also been disqualified, but they have since been corrected to reflect the Tigers’ 5th place finish.


  1. Florida- 1:23.44
  2. Alabama- 1:23.52
  3. Texas A&M- 1:23.91

The Florida Gators were in 7th place before Caeleb Dressel dove into the water as their freestyle anchor. Swimming fans watched as Dressel tore through the water, making his way to the finish in an incredible 17.90 50 freestyle split. At the touch, he had successfully brought the Gators back, as they won the race in 1:23.44 over Alabama (1:23.52). Bama freshman Zane Waddell threw down a fast split of his own, clocking an 18.59 free split to help the Crimson Tide earn silver.

The Texas A&M men also fielded an 18-mid anchor, as senior Cory Bolleter clocked an 18.62 to win a tight race for bronze ahead of Tennessee (1:24.08) and Missouri (1:24.11).


  1. Julia Vincent, South Carolina, 400.50
  2. Lizzie Cui, LSU, 391.40
  3. Madison Hudkins, Texas A&M, 365.05

South Carolina senior Julia Vincent started out her final SEC meet on a high note, winning the women’s 3-meter diving title. Texas A&M will get a boost in the team points after Madison Hudkins took bronze behind LSU’s Lizzie Cui. Auburn was the only team to have 2 in the final, with Maddie Cox and Alison Maillard picking up 7th and 8th place points respectively.


  1. Texas A&M- 6:57.90
  2. Kentucky- 6:59.33
  3. Georgia- 7:00.44

The Texas A&M women snapped UGA’s winning streak in the 800 free relay, winning with a 6:57.90. Sarah Gibson led off in a quick 1:43.64, while Claire Rasmus brought it home in 1:43.31. The Kentucky Wildcats impressed with a 2nd place finish in 6:59.33. Freshman Asia Seidt led the charge, clocking a 1:43.89 on the 2nd leg. Georgia wound up 3rd in 7:00.44 after getting  1:44.37 leadoff split from Meaghan Raab.


  1. Florida, 6:12.18
  2. Auburn, 6:16.78
  3. Georgia, 6:17.17

Florida closed the session with a new SEC meet record in the 800 free relay. Freshman Maxime Rooney had the fastest split of the field, turning in a 1:31.54 on the 2nd leg. Auburn came from behind to take 2nd place ahead of Georgia, with sophomore Zach Apple clocking a 1:33.74 on the 3rd leg. Georgia wound up in 3rd after a 1:33.83 leadoff from Jay Litherland.


  1. Texas A&M University              188   2. Florida, University of          165.5
  3. Louisiana State University        154   4. Tennessee, University of, Knox  144.5
  5. Auburn University                 128   6. South Carolina, University of,    120
  7. Alabama, University of            119   8. Kentucky, University of           111
  9. Georgia, University of            104  10. Missouri, University of            70


 1. Texas A&M University              158   2. Georgia, University of            155
  3. Missouri, University of           146   4. Auburn University                 141
  5. Kentucky, University of           139   6. Tennessee, University of, Knox    132
  7. Florida, University of            116   8. South Carolina, University of,     90
  9. Alabama, University of             87  10. Louisiana State University         74
 11. Arkansas, University of, Fayet     58

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4 years ago

So many DQs, I guess this is the place to DQ so that they don’t DQ at the NCAAs or at international competitions if they make the national teams.

Winged Scapula
Reply to  AvidSwimFan
4 years ago

I think it’s because people are using the step-over-the-wedge relay starts now so for some people both feet are off the block for a split second and the reaction times look like they’re negative.

Mizzou men’s medley had pretty conservative starts but the reaction times make it look like they all left blatantly early

4 years ago

17.90 split from dressel

4 years ago

DRESSEL 17.90!!! he was flying!

4 years ago

17.9 for Dressel

4 years ago

DRESS THEM UP 17.90!!!!!!!!!

4 years ago

17.90 For Dressel and 21.18 for Van Landeghem. Talk about runnin’ em down.

Also Dressel may be under investigation for being part fish.

4 years ago

Dressel is on FIRE! On the other hand, Kalisz split on the breastroke leg is subpar for an athlete of his caliber IMO.

Reply to  AvidSwimFan
4 years ago

Yeah 24.12 in his second best stroke what a joke!

Reply to  Uberfan
4 years ago

I would argue that breaststroke is his best stroke, actually. It’s not his best distance though!

Reply to  AvidSwimFan
4 years ago

OH NO!! His 400im is gonna take a huge hit

Reply to  Speedz
4 years ago

Somehow he always brings his A game for his individual races.

4 years ago

17.90 with a .21 reaction time……

Reply to  DRUKSTOP
4 years ago

I know! Mind blowing

Reply to  AvidSwimFan
4 years ago

Its really not that impressive. If we assume that his flat start reaction time is .60 that would add four tenths to his time. That would put his flat start 50 at 18.30 which wouldn’t even be a best time for him. Its more so that he is finally learning how to do a relay start. He should have been 17.7 last year in my opinion.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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