2018 SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, February 14 – Sunday, February 18
- Rec Center Natatorium, College Station, TX (Central Time Zone)
- Prelims 10AM / Finals 6PM
- Defending Champion: Florida (5x) (results)
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live results
- Live Video (finals)
After Caeleb Dressel‘s absolutely insane performance last night in the 200 IM, day 3 finals from the SEC Championships should be another exciting one. Despite no Dressel in action (he scratched the 200 free and 100 fly, indicating he’ll likely swim the 100 breast tomorrow), this morning’s prelim results indicate every event is up for grabs tonight.
Sydney Pickrem of Texas A&M has to be considered the biggest favorite on the night in the 400 IM, as she leads the field by over two seconds and broke the championship record last night in the 200. Hugo Gonzalez, a freshman from Auburn, actually went the exact time it took to win NCAAs last year in the 200 IM last night, despite being over 2.5 seconds behind Dressel. He’s the favorite to take the 400 IM title, but will have to deal with a dangerous field that includes Brazilian Brandonn Almeida, 200 IM NCAA champ Mark Szaranek, and American Olympians Jay Litherland and Gunnar Bentz.
Alyssa Tetzloff and Liam McCloskey of Auburn lead their respective 100 fly fields, but both events are relatively tight and the winner could come from any lane. Claire Rasmus holds the top seed in the women’s 200 free, while Khader Baqlah‘s sizzling 1:32.96 this morning has him in lane 4 of the men’s race, with Zach Apple (1:33.21) and Gator teammate Maxime Rooney (1:33.67) in position to pounce.
Women’s 400 IM Final
- Championship Record: 3:58.35, Elizabeth Beisel (Florida), 2012
Sydney Pickrem finished off the IM sweep with a dominant win in the 400 IM, holding the lead at the halfway mark and only extending it from there, touching in a time of 3:59.30. That time knocks .06 off her school record set at last year’s NCAAs where she was the runner-up to Stanford’s Ella Eastin. The swim puts Pickrem 1st in the country this season, passing Katie Ledecky and her 3:59.69 from the Art Adamson Invite.
Pickrem’s teammate Bethany Galat claimed 2nd in 4:04.17, trailing Pickrem by just a second and a half heading into the free before she lost a bit more ground. South Carolina’s Emma Barksdale was solid for 3rd in 4:05.66, and Tennessee’s Meghan Small (4:07.17) held off Missouri’s Sharli Brady (4:07.47) for 4th. Kentucky’s Kathryn Painter posted a strong 4:06.82 from the B-final.
Men’s 400 IM Final
Championship Record: 3:36.21, Chase Kalisz (Georgia), 2017
Auburn freshman Hugo Gonzalez continues to be red hot, scorching the men’s 400 IM final in a time of 3:35.76. That swim breaks Chase Kalisz‘s meet record of 3:36.21 set last year, breaks Auburn’s school record, and puts him #2 all-time behind only Kalisz.
Mark Szaranek of Florida took the runner-up spot in 3:37.50, and a second freshman, Brandonn Almeida of South Carolina, touched 3rd in 3:39.09. All three of the top men are under the NCAA ‘A’ cut, and are currently the top-3 in the NCAA.
Women’s 100 Fly Final
Championship Record: 50.49, Erika Brown (Tennessee), 2018
For the third consecutive night Tennessee’s Erika Brown has turned some heads, this time shattering the championship meet record in the 100 fly once again in a time of 49.85. After breaking the mark this morning in 50.49, she now joins the sub-50 club and has two individual titles to her name this week. She sits #2 all-time in the event now, only behind Kelsi Worrell.
Men’s 100 Fly Final
- Championship Record: 44.21, Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2017
With fellow Gator Caeleb Dressel absent in this race, Jan Switkowski picked up the slack with the victory in a time of 45.26. He sat 4th at the 50, but the former World Championship bronze medalist in the 200 fly had an incredible 11.58 final 25 to touch first.
Texas A&M’s Mauro Castillo Luna, known more for his breaststroke abilities, pulled in for 2nd in 45.63, with teammate Jose Martinez right behind for 3rd (45.69). Auburn took the next two spots with Santiago Grassi (45.73) and Liam McCloskey (45.75), and they added a third top-8 finish with Luis Martinez (46.28) in 7th. Luke Kaliszak of Alabama was a quick 45.94 from the B-final.
Women’s 200 Free Final
- Championship Record: 1:41.83, Shannon Vreeland (Georgia), 2014
Texas A&M junior Claire Rasmus emerged from a tight field to win the women’s 200 free in 1:43.62, throwing down the fastest last 50 split of anyone by a mile in 26.07.
Early leader Meaghan Raab of Georgia couldn’t quite hold her off, but did hang on to 2nd in 1:44.15, with Tennessee’s Stanzi Moseley 3rd in 1:44.88. Katie Portz (1:45.08) gave the Aggies two swimmers inside the top-4, and Alabama’s Leonie Kullmann dropped nearly a second from the morning to top the B-final in 1:45.09.
Men’s 200 Free Final
- Championship Record: 1:31.73, Conor Dwyer (Florida), 2011
Gator sophomores Khader Baqlah and Maxime Rooney threw down impressive swims in the men’s 200 free final, earning a 1-2 finish for Florida. Baqlah blew by Tennessee’s Joey Reilman on the third 50 and never looked back, clocking 1:31.96 to narrowly miss Conor Dwyer‘s 2011 meet record of 1:31.73. Rooney touched in 1:32.97 for 2nd, as both men were out in 21 and held 23s throughout the race. Baqlah passes Blake Pieroni for top spot in the country in this event.
With such impressive performances from Baqlah and Rooney, and with the untapped potential of Caeleb Dressel in this event, the Gators have a legitimate shot at a national title in the 800 free relay should they use Dressel.
Mikel Schreuders of Missouri was the only other man to hold 23s on the back half, running down Auburn’s Zach Apple for 3rd in 1:33.24. Apple was 4th in 1:33.31, and Reilman, the early leader, faded to 5th in 1:34.18.