2018 SEC Championships: Day 3 Finals Live Recap

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
  1. Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M, 3:59.30
  2. Bethany Galat, Texas A&M, 4:04.17
  3. Emma Barksdale, SCAR, 4:05.66

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
  1. Hugo Gonzalez, AUB, 3:35.76
  2. Mark Szaranek, FLOR, 3:37.50
  3. Brandonn Almeida, SCAR, 3:39.09

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.

Almeida’s teammate Tom Peribonio took 4th in 3:41.67, and Georgia’s Jay Litherland was 5th in 3:42.50. Carter Grimes broke Mizzou’s school record to win the B-final in 3:43.02.

Women’s 100 Fly Final

  • Championship Record: 50.49, Erika Brown (Tennessee), 2018
  1. Erika Brown, TENN, 49.85
  2. Haley Black, AUB, 50.68
  3. Alyssa Tetzloff, AUB, 51.32

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.

Auburn’s Haley Black had an impressive swim for 2nd in 50.68, and her teammate Alyssa Tetzloff pulled in for 3rd in 51.32. Annie Ochitwa (51.86) and Madeline Banic (52.03) took 4th and 5th.

Men’s 100 Fly Final

  1. Jan Switkowski, FLOR, 45.26
  2. Mauro Castillo Luna, TAM, 45.63
  3. Jose Martinez, TAM, 45.69

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
  1. Claire Rasmus, TAM, 1:43.62
  2. Meaghan Raab, UGA, 1:44.15
  3. Stanzi Moseley, TENN, 1:44.88

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
  1. Khader Baqlah, FLOR, 1:31.96
  2. Maxime Rooney, FLOR, 1:32.97
  3. Mikel Schreuders, UMIZ, 1:33.24

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.

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OldArmy
4 years ago

Am I the only one who finds it rather interesting that with all the drooling over Florida and Lord Caleb, their team lead is only 68 points ahead of the “can’t get no respect” Aggies. And the Aggies hit their strength events over the next two days. Sure, the odds are Florida will prevail. But this is not looking like the blowout the Caleb worshipers predicted. And who predicted the Aggie men would be riding 2nd at this point other than Aggie believers like me? Its rather revealing that on a day that Dressel didn’t even swim, half the comments on this page seem to be about him.

Pvdh
Reply to  OldArmy
4 years ago

No need to get angry. The majority of us are more interested in LCM prospects than the sec championship meet where the Florida guys aren’t tapered.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

Oh yes …..

Gogators
Reply to  OldArmy
4 years ago

Have some respect for your Lord Caeleb and spell his name correctly. And no the Aggies will not beat Florida, maybe not even Georgia and I can’t see them touching either school at NCs where it counts

E+Gamble
Reply to  OldArmy
4 years ago

The Aggies men coach is Caeleb Dressel’s old Bolles coach. Coach Jason is doing a wonderful job with the Texas A&M guys.

Swimcanada
Reply to  OldArmy
4 years ago

While the Aggys may have a few nice auxiliary swimmers Dressel is a beast nationally and internationally. He is the dominant male swimmer out of the SEC. Sorry but in the big picture of college swimming he is the headline right now. He deserves every comment he gets!

Swammer81
Reply to  OldArmy
4 years ago

excuse u it’s Lord Remel

Agon
Reply to  OldArmy
4 years ago

Oldarmy I’m with you. The Aggie men have seen some rough years by their standards, finishing outside the top 25 in the NCAA as little as 3 years ago.

What Jay and Jason have done to turn this program from a consistent 7th place finisher in the SEC team race to where they are now has been fantastic. Every swimmer and diver looks confident and has a new energy to them, and it is exciting to see the men accomplishing so much.

The final piece to see how strong the Aggie men are will be NCAA’s. This year they should be taking one of their biggest squads ever, I count 6 guys already in, 4 on the bubble, plus a… Read more »

Caleb
4 years ago

These 4×200 predictions are over the top… none of those Florida guys have even broken 1:32 much less everyone going 1:30s and 1:31s. I do think they’d have a realistic shot to break the record and maybe even break 6:05… and they’d have an outside shot to win, even without Dressel. But I don’t think they’ll sacrifice any other relay for it. WIthout Dressel on the medleys they could drop 5 or 6 spots and without him in the 4 x 50 they’d be lucky to make the A-final.

Aquajosh
Reply to  Caleb
4 years ago

Switkowski and Rooney are both 1:32.1 from flat starts, Baqlah (who wasn’t even on the relay last year) just went a 1:31.9, and Szaranek anchored last year in a 1:31.4. I am pretty sure from relay starts, all of those guys would be capable of 1:31s.

JustAnotherFan
Reply to  Aquajosh
4 years ago

Switkowski, Rooney and Szaranek have all split 131.3-131.5. If Baqlah leads off in what he did tonight, wouldn’t they win without Dressel? They could still break the record. But it may be the only opportunity Dressel ever has to swim a SCY 200 free in his best shape and who wouldn’t want to see what he can do. Who would they leave off the relay? I want to see Dressel on that relay more than anyone but it would almost be selfish to the team if he wasn’t on the 4 other relays where they really need him when they can win the 4×200 without him.

Caleb
Reply to  Aquajosh
4 years ago

exactly, they could all equal their best time, subtract a few tenths for starts, let Dressel go 1:30 flat…(let’s say — 1:31.9 – 1:32.2 – 1:31.4 – 1:30.0) and they still just barely break 6:05. To go much faster, they all have to swim best times in the same race, or Dressel has to go bananas… all possible, but even 6:05 is on the fast end. Much less 6:01. Still a great relay, however they stack it.

applesorangesandbananas
4 years ago

I hope Dressel leads off the 800 free relay at NCAAs. He should go anywhere from 1.27.5 to 1.29.0. If he breaks 40.0 in the 100 free, he may just go faster than 1.27.5, though that will be a huge stretch. Regardless, it’ll be fascinating to see.

A non-e mouse
Reply to  applesorangesandbananas
4 years ago

Dressel is an incredible swimmer but you are crazy if you think he is gonna go 1:27.5

applesorangesandbananas
Reply to  A non-e mouse
4 years ago

ok, maybe 1,29,0

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  applesorangesandbananas
4 years ago

What would his splits be to go 1:27.5?

Tammy Touchpad Error
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
4 years ago

20.23
22.45 (42.68)
22.61
22.21 (44.82)
1:27.50 NOT POSSIBLE (although I don’t think 42.6 opening is not out of the question. His 21.0 fly looked eeeaaasy, and we have to assume he’s still not yet fully tapered).

Realistically(?):
20.39
22.55 (42.94)
22.66
22.90 (45.56)
1:28.50 SEEMS DOABLE (this is more on par with how he swam his 100 LCM. Not a perfect spread.. 2 seconds would be ideal).

Sir Swimsalot
Reply to  applesorangesandbananas
4 years ago

Hold your horses…1:27.5 is averaging a 21.875 per 50. I can see him break 1:30 but that will probably take some time to reach.

Aquajosh
4 years ago

1:31.96 for Baqlah! I almost think you have to put Caeleb on the 800 relay at NCs so they can have a shot at destroying the NCAA record and putting it out of reach.

Pvdh
Reply to  Aquajosh
4 years ago

Florida’s potential 800 relay could be huge. At their absolute best I think they could put up something like
1:28.7 Dressel
1:30.9 Baqlah
1:31.2 Szaranek
1:31.0 Rooney
For a 6:01.8. More realistically like a 6:03.5 to annihilate NC States record.

Ben
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

I’m skeptical about the 1:28 but it’s starting to seem like doubting Dressel would be a bad idea

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Ben
4 years ago

very bad idea indeed lol

Aquajosh
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

I would probably replace Rooney with Switkowski depending on who has the hot hand on the day, but Jan has always been clutch. I would just like to see them put it out of reach.

Tammy Touchpad Error
Reply to  Aquajosh
4 years ago

You could take out Dressel and they still might break the record, and save the rest of the relays (2 free or 2 medley without CD?!?)

Joe
Reply to  Tammy Touchpad Error
4 years ago

I think they should take Dressel out of the 2 free – probably their worst relay

IM FAN
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

I’m feeling more
Dressel 1:29.34
Switkowski 1:32.38
Szaranek 1:32.53
Baqlah 1:31.57
6:05.82, with realistic splits

samuel huntington
4 years ago

3:35 400 IM as a freshman is insane

Captain Ahab
4 years ago

Hugo Gonzalez is a great athlete. A lot of times there are guys that swim the 200 yard IM but do not swim the 400 yard IM unless they have an incredible backstroke.

IM FAN
Reply to  Captain Ahab
4 years ago

A 1:39 200 back is pretty damn good.

morgan
Reply to  Captain Ahab
4 years ago

hugo is two times world junior champions in 200 backstroke. frst time 16 years ol, second 18 yearn last yera. Of course, he also won the 400 im.

E+Gamble
4 years ago

Jan Switkowski gets the win without Dressel. That’s what I’m talking bout.

Buona
Reply to  E+Gamble
4 years ago

45.26 is a good time. His time is 2nd best behind Schooling.

E+Gamble
Reply to  Buona
4 years ago

What also stood out to me was that Jan took zero breaths on that last lap….just like Dressel.

Double Arm Freestyle
4 years ago

OH. MY. GOD. ERIKA BROWN

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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