2020 SEC Championships: Day 3 Finals Live Recap


The 2020 SEC Championships continue with day 3 finals. Swimmers are set to compete for medals in the 400 IM, 100 fly, and 200 free. We’ll also see finals of the women’s 3-meter diving at the end of the session.

The defending champion Florida men are in position to charge to the lead. Bobby Finke is defending his title in the 400 IM, but teammate Kieran Smith leads after prelims and has been on fire at this meet. Georgia’s Camden Murphy, the 2019 bronze medalist, headlines the 100 fly. Texas A&M’s Mark Theall is chasing his first individual title in the 200 free.

The Tennessee women have a chance to sweep tonight’s events. Erika Brown leads the way in the 100 fly and will chase her 3rd-straight title in the 100 fly. She’s also going after her own SEC Record after breaking Natalie Coughlin’s Pool Record this morning. Teammate Tess Cieplucha is the top seed in the 400 IM, and will battle 2019 runner-up Vanessa Pearl of Florida. The 200 free could be anybody’s race, but Tennessee’s Meghan Small is a big title threat after her best time leading off the 800 free relay.


  • SEC Meet Record: Elizabeth Beisel (Florida), 2012, 3:58.35
  • NCAA Record: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 2018, 3:54.60
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:03.62
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 4:10.00
  • 2019 Champion: Emma Barksdale (South Carolina) – 4:01.52


  1. GOLD: Tess Cieplucha (Tennessee)- 4:01.88
  2. SILVER: Vanessa Pearl (Florida)- 4:04.61
  3. BRONZE: Bailey Bonnett (Kentucky)- 4:05.62

Tennessee’s Tess Cieplucha won her first SEC title, Taking over a second off her best to win it in 4:01.88. Florida’s Vanessa Pearl had started to close the gap on the breast leg, but Cieplucha’s freestyle speed was unmatched. Pearl repeated as the silver medalist in 4:04.61.

Kentucky’s Bailey Bonnett was 7th after the back leg, but swam a 32.76 on the first 50 of the breast leg to put herself back in the medal race. She touched in 4:05.62 for bronze, dropping over half a second from her former best set in prelims.

Texas A&M’s Jing Quah was in 2nd after the back leg, but wound up one spot shy of the podium in 4:06.18. Between her prelims swim and tonight’s finals, Quah has now dropped 9 seconds from her former best time. Bama’s Alexis Preski was the only other swimmer to break 4:10 in the championship heat as she was 5th in 4:07.95.

Kentucky freshman Gillian Davey broke 4:10 for the first time in the B heat with a lifetime best 4:08.55. She was in 6th through the back leg. Like Bonnett, she pulled herself back into the race on the breast leg. Davey wound up 2nd in that heat as Florida’s Savanna Faulconer won in 4:08.16. That’s Faulconer’s 3rd fastest swim ever in the event.

MEN’S 400 IM

  • SEC Meet Record: Hugo Gonzalez (Auburn), 2018, 3:35.76
  • NCAA Record: Chase Kalisz (Georgia), 2017, 3:33.42
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 3:39.16
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 3:43.42
  • 2019 Champion: Bobby Finke (Florida) – 3:40.94


Florida’s Grant Sanders took it out with the lead on the fly, with teammate Kieran Smith following. Smith picked up the lead after the first 50 of the back leg. Sanders outsplit him on the breast leg to pull within 3 tenths of Smith. Through the free leg, Smith distanced himself from Sanders, winning his 2nd SEC title of the meet in 3:37.31. That’s his best by 3 seconds.

The Florida Gators swept the podium again this year as Sanders was 2nd in 3:40.20. Sanders swam his best by 1.5 seconds. Bobby Finke, the 2019 champion, earned another podium finish with a 3:41.56 for 3rd. Finke ran down Alabama’s Nicholas Perera on the free leg as Perera finished 4th in a lifetime best 3:42.61. Miguel Cancel dropped another seconds from his best, rounding out the top 5 for the Gators in 3:44.32.

After dropping almost 3 seconds with his prelims swim, Georgia’s Ian Grum dropped another 2 seconds tonight to win the B heat. Grum kicked it into gear on the final 100 to distance himself from the field, winning in 3:43.93.


  • SEC Meet Record: Erika Brown (Tennessee), 2018/2019, 49.85
  • NCAA Record: Louise Hansson (USC)/Maggie MacNeil (Michigan), 2019, 49.26
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.92
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 52.34
  • 2019 Champion: Erika Brown (Tennessee) – 49.85


Tennessee’s Erika Brown is now the fastest American in history. Brown took down Kelsi Dahlia’s former American Record, which stood at a 49.43 from 2016. She went a lifetime best by half a second to win it in 49.38. That’s her 3rd-straight title in the event and a new SEC Meet Record. She’s now the 3rd fastest performer in history behind only NCAA Record holders Louise Hansson and Maggie MacNeil, who will race with Brown at NCAAs.

Alabama’s Rhyan White clipped her best from this morning to take silver in 50.90. Teammate Flora Molnar was 2nd at the halfway turn, but fell to 6th overall. She hit the wall just off her lifetime best in 51.94. Florida’s Sherridon Dressel dropped a few tenths from her prelims best to take that final podium spot. Dressel touched in 51.20 and has now dropped over a second today.

Kentucky’s Izzy Gati and Tennessee’s Trude Rothrock were tied in 4th. Gati broke 52 for the first time, slightly outsplitting Rothrock on the back half as they hit the wall simultaneously with a pair of 51.60s.


  • SEC Meet Record: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2017, 44.21
  • NCAA Record: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2018, 42.80
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 45.05
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 45.90
  • 2019 Champion: Maxime Rooney (Florida) – 45.06


It came down to the touch in the men’s 100 fly as Missouri’s Danny Kovac reached in to win it by 3 hundredths. Kovac outsplit Auburn’s Santiago Grassi to win it in 45.29 to Grassi’s 45.32. That was a best for Kovac by half a second, while Grassi shaved a few hundredths off his best. Georgia’s Camden Murphy repeated as the bronze medalist in 45.47.

Florida’s Will Davis dropped a couple of tenths as he was just off the podium in 45.75. He came from behind to out-touch Bama’s Tyler Sesvold (45.76) by a hundredth. The Gators’ Eric Friese, a freshman, broke 46 for the first time as he touched 8th in 45.99.


  • SEC Meet Record: Shannon Vreeland (Georgia), 2014, 1:41.83
  • NCAA Record: Missy Franklin (Cal), 2015, 1:39.10
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:42.98
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 1:45.12
  • 2019 Champion: Erin Falconer (Auburn) – 1:43.04


After breaking 1:44 for the first time in prelims, Georgia’s Veronica Burchill blew away her best time again in a close battle with Arkansas’ Anna Hopkin for the title. Burchill was out quick in 48.98, a second ahead of Hopkin, while Hopkin had the fastest back half of the field. Holding off Hopkin by just 3 hundredths, Burchill won her first individual SEC title in 1:42.33. Hopkin dropped 2 seconds from her lifetime best for the silver in 1:42.35.

Georgia had 2 on the podium, as 500 free champion Courtney Harnish repeated as the bronze medalist in a lifetime best 1:43.26. Tennessee’s Meghan Small was just a few tenths shy of her lifetime best as she took 4th in 1:43.55. Kentucky’s Ali Galyer was also tenths shy of a best to take 5th in 1:44.55.

The 5th fastest time of the night, however, came from Alabama’s Morgan Scott, who dropped a second to win the B final in 1:44.32. Auburn’s Claire Fisch took a few tenths from her lifetime best, which she’d set on Tuesday’s relay leadoff, to take 2nd in the B heat in 1:44.55. Also in that heat, Kentucky’s Riley Gaines (1:44.76) and Auburn freshman Abbey Webb (1:44.96) broke 1:45 for the first time.


  • SEC Meet Record: Kieran Smith (Florida), 2020, 1:30.11
  • NCAA Record: Dean Farris (Harvard), 2019, 1:29.15
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:32.05
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 1:34.21
  • 2019 Champion: Mikel Schreuders (Missouri) – 1:31.27


Florida’s Khader Baqlah was just a tenth shy of his best with his fastest performance since 2018 as he returned to the top of the podium. Baqlah, who won the event in 2018 and took bronze last season, put up a 1:32.05 as he surged ahead on the back half. LSU freshman Brooks Curry dropped another second for the silver in 1:32.43. He just edged out Texas A&M’s Mark Theall, who put up a lifetime best 1:32.45 for his 2nd medal in as many days.

Auburn’s Christian Sztolcman dropped half a second in 1:33.16 for 4th. Florida’s Gerry Quinn, who swam on the Gators’ record-breaking 800 free relay with Baqlah, was 5th in 1:34.15. Georgia’s Grant Norgan clipped his best in 1:34.22 for 6th. Tennessee’s Josh Walsh also put up a lifetime best as he finished 7th in 1:34.35.

Texas A&M’s Kaloyan Bratanov dropped over a second throughout the day. Bratanov broke 1:35 for the first time this morning. Tonight, he won the B final in 1:34.16.


  • SEC Meet Record: Laura Ryan (Georgia), 2014, 413.75
  • 2019 Champion: Brooke Schultz (Arkansas) – 410.40


  • GOLD: Kyndal Knight, Kentucky, 353.75
  • SILVER: Elizabeth Perez, Florida, 346.50
  • BRONZE: Alison Maillard, Auburn, 336.15

Kentucky’s Kyndal Knight won a tight battle for gold, helping the Wildcats stay just ahead of Texas A&M. The Aggies had 2 in the final, as Charlye Campbell placed 5th and Alyssa Clairmont was 8th. Tennessee still leads the women’s team race, but Florida closed the gap. Elizabeth Perez took the silver, while Ashley McCool just missed the podium in 4th. Auburn’s Alison Maillard, the 1-meter champion, took the bronze.


  1. Tennessee, University of, Knox  632.5   2. University of Florida           585.5
  3. Kentucky, University of         491.5   4. Texas A&M University              491
  5. Auburn University                 478   6. Georgia, University of            456
  7. University of Alabama           351.5   8. University of Arkansas            254
  9. Missouri                          252  10. Louisiana State University        236
 11. South Carolina, University of,    228  12. Vanderbilt University              90


  1. University of Florida           694.5   2. Texas A&M University            538.5
  3. Georgia, University of          493.5   4. University of Alabama           438.5
  5. Tennessee, University of, Knox    422   6. Kentucky, University of           416
  7. Missouri                          415   8. Auburn University                 385
  9. South Carolina, University of,    265  10. Louisiana State University        258

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Captain Ahab
4 years ago

Camden Murphy underwater dolphin kicks are incredible.

Bobo Gigi
4 years ago

Impressive times for Kieran Smith. And he’s just a sophomore! I just wonder what’s the use of tapering or even resting much for a conference meet? If he swims slower at NCAAs his coaches will look a little bit idiot. Too early to tell. I doubt it but maybe he will still improve in the next few weeks.
By the way I hope he focuses on freestyle (200/400) for trials. Clearly his best events.

4 years ago

I think my favorite races tonight were the 200 frees because there was no clear favorite going in. Meghan Small even dropped out of the 400 IM (which she could have won) to have a shot at it. Veronica Burchill got tired of losing and said, “Nope. This is my senior year too, and I want this, so you’re going to have to come after me.” That was a gutsy race. Her first time under 1:44 was this morning, and she swims out of her mind to go 1:42 low at night and give Georgia their first win of the meet. Outstanding.

Then you have Khader Baqlah, who has been okay but not great this meet, winner in 2018, bronze… Read more »

Right Dude Here
4 years ago

I really thought this was A&M’s year. Florida just showed up.

4 years ago

What’s crazy is Tennessee is still training through this. There’s instagram videos of the team lifting in the morning before the meet

ok boomer
Reply to  Nswim
4 years ago

it’s true. seen them lifting at the hotel.

Reply to  Nswim
4 years ago

Don’t you know? Everybody lifts, does over 10 grand in the water, and runs 20 miles in the snow (yes even in Florida) the day before championship meets.

Reply to  Nswim
4 years ago

No, it is in their Auburn hotel hallway!

Reply to  Nswim
4 years ago

No, they actually have the weights at the team hotel. Maybe they are just trying to psych out the 5 or 6 other teams staying at the same hotel though….

From The Past
Reply to  Nswim
4 years ago

There’s no way they’re lifting. This is their 12th taper meet

Reply to  Nswim
4 years ago

Some folks IG stories say they’re untapered. I half believe it if they are focused on the British Olympic trials that come 3 weeks after NCAAs and they were 2nd in the 100 free@2019 NCAA’s.

Samuli Hirsi
Reply to  Josh
4 years ago

yeah, olympic year changes stuff, some swimmer already something else than this lowly sec…. huh, how could anyone, blasphemy sir!

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Nswim
4 years ago

Lots of people lift up into the competition. They just taper it like they do the swimming. And why wouldn’t they if it’s a component of their athleticism training. Do you stop doing starts a week out? Lezak was the classic example. It’s not like they’re breaking muscle if they’re lifting light in a hotel room.

Reply to  Nswim
4 years ago


Texas A&M Swim Fan
4 years ago

Better keep an 👀 on the A&M women!! Nobody gave them a shot at the podium but things are looking better under Steve Bultman & company’s watch👍👍

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Texas A&M Swim Fan
4 years ago

Those are NOT gig’em emoticons. Just stop.

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
4 years ago

I think I’ll continue to use them any which way I feel like & it appears that you have no authority to make me stop so I’m “gigging you” forever there t-sip fan👍👍👍👍👍

4 years ago

Anna Hopkin’s best LCM 200 before going to Arkansas was a 2.08. I wouldn’t be shocked if she could go close to ten seconds faster than that now.

Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Extra endurance Bodes well for her 100meter and 100 yard potential

Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

She paced the race pretty well. She made her move on the 7th lap and closed the gap on the leader Burchill. It came down to the touch.

Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Reportedly also untapered for this meet

Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

I bet she’s heavily debating whether or not to swim it at British Olympic Trials. Would probably make top 4 for the 4×200 but then GB might still not take a team.

Don’t they realize their policy’s are stopping the best from even partaking (which is probably why they can’t find people fast enough). Brutal cycle.

Morgan Priestley
4 years ago

Kalisz going 3:33.4 in the 400 IM three years ago just doesn’t seem possible.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Morgan Priestley
4 years ago

Especially how bad he sucks now.

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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