2019 SEC Championships: Day 5 Finals Live Recap


Tonight sets the stage for the final session of the 2019 SEC Championships in Athens, Georgia, where swimmers will compete in the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, and 400 free relay. The Texas A&M women and Florida men head into the session with the lead as they swim to defend their titles, but we’ve seen a close team battle form on the men’s side with Florida and Missouri.


  1. GOLD: Leah Braswell, Florida, 15:53.54
  2. SILVER: Taylor Ault, Florida, 16:00.52
  3. BRONZE: Kensey McMahon, Alabama, 16:00.59

The women’s 1650 was dominated by underclassmen as the top 5 consisted of 3 freshmen and 2 sophomores. Florida’s distance duo of freshman Leah Braswell (15:53.54) and sophomore Taylor Ault (16:00.52) led with a 1-2 punch. Braswell made a 6-second drop to secure the win and come within .04 of the NCAA ‘A’ cut, while Ault took 3 seconds off her best from the 2018 SEC meet.

Alabama freshman Kensey McMahon was just a second shy of her midseason time to take bronze in 16:00.59. She was narrowly outpaced by Ault through the final 200, but managed to snag bronze as she moved ahead of Auburn freshman Emily Hetzer (16:01.02) towards the end of the race. Tennessee sophomore Amanda Nunan followed closely in 16:02.34 for 5th place.

MEN’S 1650 FREE:

  1. GOLD: Robert Finke, Florida, 14:23.01
  2. SILVER: Trey Freeman, Florida, 14:48.69
  3. BRONZE: Rafael Davila, South Carolina, 14:51.98

The podium stacked up with young talent again as the Florida freshmen pulled off a 1-2 finish. 400 IM champion Robert Finke picked up another title, dominating the race and dropping over 10 seconds with his 14:23.01. Finke’s time demolished the former SEC Meet Record of 14:35.47 from 2006. It also gives him an NCAA ‘A’ cut and makes him the 5th fastest man in history in this event.

Teammate Trey Freeman also dropped over 10 seconds for silver in 14:48.69. South Carolina sophomore Rafael Davila took the bronze in 14:51.98, touching just ahead of Georgia’s Kevin Miller (14:52.85) and Walker Higgins (14:54.05).


  1. GOLD: Asia Seidt, Kentucky, 1:49.31
  2. SILVER: Ali Galyer, Kentucky, 1:50.39
  3. BRONZE: Erin Falconer, Auburn, 1:51.57

Kentucky came up with a 1-2 of their own as Asia Seidt touched within hundredths of her lifetime best to win it. Seidt was the only woman sub-1:50 as she touched in 1:49.31, with teammate Ali Galyer following in 1:50.39. Both women were under the NCAA ‘A’ cut. The Wildcats also got a 6th place finish out of freshman Sophie Sorenson (1:52.92).

Auburn’s Erin Falconer, the 200 free champion, took the final podium spot in 1:51.57. Teammate Sonnele Oeztuerk held off Tennessee freshman Sinclair Larson, 1:52.37 to 1:52.44, for 4th place.


  1. GOLD: Joey Reilman, Tennessee, 1:38.97
  2. SILVER: Shaine Casas, Texas A&M, 1:39.84
  3. BRONZE: Clark Beach, Florida, 1:39.95

Tennessee’s Joey Reilman took the lead early on and held off the field through the back half as he broke 1:39 for the first time. Reilman is now within half a second of the all-time top 10 performers list in this event, as Aaron Piersol occupies that spot in 1:38.45. His winning time tonight was under the NCAA ‘A’ standard.

Texas A&M freshman Shaine Casas (1:39.84) swam under 1:40 for the first time, as did Florida’s Clark Beach (1:39.95). Beach had the edge up front, but Casas closed on him to win the tight race for silver. Georgia’s Javier Acevedo, the 2018 runner-up in this race, was 4th in 1:40.18.


  1. GOLD: Erika Brown, Tennessee, 46.41
  2. SILVER: Anna Hopkin, Arkansas, 47.10
  3. BRONZE: Veronica Burchill, Georgia, 47.30

Tennessee’s Erika Brown is now 5th on the all-time top performers list, sweeping the SEC sprint titles as she broke her own SEC Meet Record from prelims. Arkansas’ Anna Hopkin was just hundredths shy of her lifetime best from midseason to take silver in 47.10. Georgia’s Veronica Burchill clipped her best for bronze in 47.37.

Auburn had a string of A finalists finish 4th-6th with Claire Fisch (47.62), Julie Meynen (47.80), and 100 back champion Aly Tetzloff (48.04).


  1. GOLD: Robert Howard, Alabama, 41.57
  2. SILVER: Kyle Decoursey, Tennessee, 41.71
  3. BRONZE: Maxime Rooney, Florida, 41.74

Bama’s Robert Howard secured the sprint sweep with a lifetime best 41.57, flipping in 19.90 to take the lead up front. Florida’s Maxime Rooney and Tennessee’s Kyle Decoursey had nearly identical splits, but Decoursey got his hand to the wall a touch quicker for silver, 41.71 to 41.74.

Missouri’s Mikel Schreuders was also sub-42, clocking in at 41.96 for 4th place.


  1. GOLD: Anna Belousova, Texas A&M, 2:04.80
  2. SILVER: Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M, 2:04.89
  3. BRONZE: Bailey Bonnett, Kentucky, 2:07.19

Texas A&M’s Anna Belousova and Sydney Pickrem battled back and forth en route to a close 1-2 finish between the pair. At first, it was Belousova out with the lead, turning 3 tenths ahead at the halfway mark. Pickrem then outsplit Belousova by a full second on the 3rd 50 to take over. Belousova returned fire, though, outsplitting Pickrem by almost a full second on the final 50 to take the win, 2:04.80 to 2:04.89. Belousova is now the 9th fastest performer ever in the event.

South Carolina’s Emma Barksdale, the 400 IM champion, had touched 3rd in 2:06.51, but was ultimately disqualified for a non-simultaneous touch. That bumped Kentucky’s Bailey Bonnett (2:07.19) onto the podium for bronze.


  1. GOLD: Benjamin Walker, Texas A&M, 1:52.55
  2. SILVER: James Guest, Georgia, 1:53.11
  3. BRONZE: Grant Sanders, Florida, 1:53.36

After breaking 1:54 for the first time in prelims, Texas A&M’s Benjamin Walker clipped another 2 tenths off his time to bring home gold. After turning in a field-leading 53.85, Walker held his lead over Georgia’s James Guest (1:53.11) to win in 1:52.85. Guest was just a hundredth shy of his lifetime best from last season’s NCAAs.

Florida’s Grant Sanders was in 7th at the 100, but made his move with the 2nd fastest 3rd 50 of the field. He nearly closed in on Guest, touching in 1:53.36 for bronze. Tennessee’s Matthew Dunphy was just a couple of tenths back in 1:53.58.


  1. GOLD: Zhipeng Zeng, Tennessee, 452.25
  2. SILVER: Chase Lane, Kentucky, 424.65
  3. BRONZE: Juan Celaya Hernandez, LSU, 409.35

Tennessee’s Zhipeng Zeng took this one, helping the Volunteers move up to 3rd in the team standings and come out ahead of Texas A&M and Georgia. Teammate William Hallam also contributed to that outcome with a 6th place finish. Before diving, the Volunteers were trailing A&M and UGA in 5th by over 50 points. Heading into the 400 free relay, the Tennessee men are now 4 points ahead of the Aggies and nearly 50 points ahead of Georgia.


  1. GOLD: Auburn, 3:10.45
  2. SILVER: Missouri, 3:14.48
  3. BRONZE: Arkansas, 3:14.65

After having 3 A finalists in the 100 free, Auburn really ran away with this one as they won by 4 seconds. Claire Fisch led off for the tigers in 47.48, beating her time from the individual final. She handed off to Julie Meynen, who put up a 47.54 on the 2nd leg. Aly Tetzloff and Erin Falconer sealed the deal, but splits for their 2 legs on live results are currently inaccurate.

The Tigers finished in 3:10.45, taking down the SEC Meet Record by almost a second. The UGA squad that formerly held that record included Olympic champions Allison Schmitt and Shannon Vreeland, as well as World Champion Megan Romano.

The fastest split of the field came from Arkansas’ Anna Hopkin, who put up a 46.56 on the 2nd leg.


  1. GOLD: Alabama, 2:48.52
  2. SILVER: Florida, 2:48.82
  3. BRONZE: Tennessee, 2:50.12

Florida got off to the lead with Maxime Rooney‘s 42.06, but Alabama started closing in behind Zane Waddell‘s 41.93 on the 2nd leg. The Gators then pulled further ahead again with Bayley Main‘s 41.97 on the 3rd split, leading the way into the anchor leg. They were ahead by over a second, but Bama’s Robert Howard chased them down in a 40.70 to give the Tide the win, 3:48.52 to 3:48.82.

Kyle Decoursey had the 2nd fastest split of the field as he anchored for Tennessee in 41.32.


  1. Texas A&M University             1107   2. University of Florida          1023.5
  3. Kentucky, University of         927.5   4. Tennessee, University of, Knox  919.5
  5. The University of Georgia       883.5   6. Auburn University                 883
  7. Missouri                          640   8. University of Arkansas            517
  9. South Carolina, University of,    515  10. Louisiana State University      489.5
 11. University of Alabama           429.5  12. Vanderbilt University             153


  1. University of Florida            1233   2. Missouri                         1137
  3. Tennessee, University of, Knox    917   4. Texas A&M University              907
  5. The University of Georgia       862.5   6. University of Alabama           789.5
  7. Kentucky, University of           672   8. Auburn University               661.5
  9. South Carolina, University of,    565  10. Louisiana State University      486.5

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5 years ago

Disappointing that Vanderbilt can not put together a better team. Not to mention they don’t have a men’s team…. pathetic.

5 years ago

Great swim for Benjamin Walker, he sure looks a lot like John F Kennedy!

Chunky Ragú
5 years ago

Howard’s actions after sodomizing the final leg of that race are permitted. There is precedent: Chunky Ragú in the 2006 Junior Nationals West final of the 100 breaststroke. After he was the first Peruvian under the 2 minute mark, he did the same celebration. Howard quoted saying he got inspiration from this legendary race.

5 years ago

Robert Howard is currently in an A&W restaurant eating cheeseburgers do you think he cares?

Captain Ahab
5 years ago

I did not like the way Robert Howard put the #1 finger up before finishing the race in the men’s 400 yard freestyle relay. You have to finish the race first and always win with class dignity because there is a lot of honor and respect in the sport of swimming. His unprofessional behavior was unacceptable. He could’ve created a dangerous situation with other young males who emotions maybe running high during a championship swimming meet.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

I know i could be considered biased (username and all), but if some “emotional young males” had caused a “dangerous situation” due to Howard celebrating, wouldn’t the blame for that fall squarely on them? He didn’t seem to be attempting to provoke anyone. He probably put the #1 up a little early, but it’s likely his emotions were “running high,” as you said. If you seem to think other competitors can be excused for starting a brawl (as I think you were trying to imply), surely he can be excused for celebrating a tenth of a second early. (Anyway, it would’ve looked pretty dumb if he’d done that and hadn’t won; he backed his cockiness up.)

Reply to  RollTide
5 years ago

Here’s the video, if anyone wants to see it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLGqsNiE-aM&feature=em-uploademail

Cal Bears
Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

Oh lighten up we need a bad boy of swimming.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

Much Ado About Nothing

Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

Calm down

Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

Aight Moby Dick. They weren’t even in the contention to win the meet. They’re just some college boys having some fun let the boy live.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

It’s incredible that you think there is something wrong with having faith in your teammate. At that level you can tell who is gonna get to the wall first pretty early. These are elite athletes, they know what’s gonna happen. Plus absolutely nothing was riding on that relay except pride.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. It wasn’t the pointing number one that got me personally, but the pointing to himself that really irked me. How can someone finishing on a winning relay dare to point to himself? I know many coaches who strictly prohibit their swimmers from behaving in such a way.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

This is just whining. Stop.

5 years ago

Way to go Lady Aggies! What a great team effort to win as underdogs!

5 years ago

It’s been great getting to watch 1/3 of the races tonight on the live stream, just what we all wanted

Captain Ahab
5 years ago

The 1500 meter freestyle at the 2020 Olympic Trials will be interesting between Grothe, Finke, and Wilmovsky.

The michael phelps caterpillar
Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

Don’t forget Katie Ledecky!!!

Reply to  Captain Ahab
5 years ago

Grothe is a real longshot IMO… let’s see what Mike Brinegar does next month, too.

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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