2020 SEC Championships: Day 5 Prelims Live Recap


The stage is set for the final prelims session of the 2020 SEC Championships in Auburn, Alabama. Swimmers will compete in the 200 back, 100 free, and 200 breast this morning. The early heats of the mile will swim this afternoon, while the top 8 seeds compete at the beginning of finals.

Florida’s Kieran Smith and Alabama’s Zane Waddell will swim the 100 free. One of those men could come up 3-for-3 in their individual races at this meet. Defending champion Ben Walker of Texas A&M will headline the 200 breast. Teammate Shaine Casas is chasing Lochte’s Meet Record in the 200 back.

Tennessee’s Erika Brown is seeking her 3rd-straight title in the 100 free and will chase her own SEC Record. All 3 medalists from the 100 back will return for the 200 back. Alabama’s Rhyan White looks to break another SEC Record. Kentucky’s Asia Seidt is the defending champion. Florida’s Sherridon Dressel, the 100 back silver medalist, will also be in the mix. Georgia freshman Zoie Hartman will be chasing a breaststroke sweep.


  • SEC Meet Record: Gemma Spofforth (Florida), 2009, 1:48.34
  • NCAA Record: Beata Nelson (Wisconsin), 2019, 1:47.24
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:50.50
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 1:54.01
  • 2019 Champion: Asia Seidt (Kentucky), 1:49.31

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Rhyan White (Alabama)- 1:48.06
  2. Asia Seidt (Kentucky)- 1:50.27
  3. Ali Galyer (Kentucky)- 1:50.43
  4. Sophie Sorenson (Kentucky)- 1:52.38
  5. Sherridon Dressel (Florida)- 1:52.57
  6. Caitlin Brooks (Kentucky)- 1:52.81
  7. Sonnele Oeztuerk (Auburn)- 1:53.22
  8. Meghan Small (Tennessee)- 1:53.25

Alabama’s Rhyan White took down the SEC Record this morning as she became the 7th fastest performer in history. White smashed her best by 2 seconds, leading the way in 1:48.06. That took down the former record set by Florida’s Gemma Spofforth in this pool at the 2009 SEC Championships.White now owns the SEC Record in both backstrokes.

Kentucky will get big points here with 4 women in the final, led by defending champion Asia Seidt (1:50.27), the 10th fastest woman in history. Ali Galyer, the 2019 silver medalist, was 3rd in 1:50.43, within a few tenths of her best. Teammates Sophie Sorenson, who swam a lifetime best 1:52.38, and Caitlin Brooks, a freshman, will join them in the championship heat.

Florida’s Sherridon Dressel broke 1:53 for the first time. Dressel, the 100 fly bronze medalist and 100 back silver medalist at this meet, qualified 5th in 1:52.57. Auburn’s Sonnele Oeztuerk (1:53.22) returns to the championship final. Tennessee’s Meghan Small, the 200 IM champion, was 8th in 1:53.25. Just missing the final was Missouri’s Sarah Thompson in 1:53.34.


  • SEC Meet Record: Ryan Lochte (Florida), 2005, 1:38.29
  • NCAA Record: Ryan Murphy (Cal), 2016, 1:35.73
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:39.16
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 1:41.31
  • 2019 Champion: Joey Reilman (Tennessee), 1:38.97

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Clark Beach (Florida)- 1:40.12
  2. Nick Alexander (Missouri)- 1:40.58
  3. *TIE 3RD* Shaine Casas (Texas A&M)- 1:40.68
  4. *TIE 3RD* Matthew Garcia (Tennessee)- 1:40.68
  5. Matt Menke (Alabama)- 1:41.56
  6. Ian Grum (Georgia)- 1:41.65
  7. Harry Homans (Georgia)- 1:41.99
  8. Daniel Hein (Missouri)- 1:42.24

Florida’s Clark Beach, the 2019 bronze medalist, led the way through prelims in 1:40.12. Beach’s time was within a second of his lifetime best and within 2 tenths of his time from last season’s SEC meet. Missouri’s Nick Alexander, the 200 IM runner-up, was 2nd in 1:40.58, his fastest time since 2018 in the event. Teammate Daniel Hein, the 100 back bronze medalist, qualified 8th in 1:42.24. He was just ahead of another Tiger, Jack Dahlgren, who took 9th in 1:42.49.

Texas A&M’s Shaine Casas, the 2019 silver medalist here and last night’s 100 back runner-up, is tied for 3rd seed with Tennessee’s Matthew Garcia (1:40.68). Garcia was just 8 hundredths shy of his best. Casas is the 8th fastest man in history in this event. His best time (1:38.18) from midseason would break Florida Olympic Champion Ryan Lochte’s Meet Record if he can match it tonight. Lochte still holds the SEC Record in 1:36.81.

Alabama freshman Matt Menke dropped nearly 4 seconds as he qualified 5th in 1:41.56. Georgia had a pair of freshmen make the final. Ian Grum and Harry Homans, the 200 fly bronze medalist, broke 1:42 for the first time in 1:41.65 and 1:41.99 respectively.


  • SEC Meet Record: Erika Brown (Tennessee), 2019, 46.41
  • NCAA Record: Simone Manuel (Stanford), 2017, 45.56
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 47.18
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 48.56
  • 2019 Champion: Erika Brown (Tennessee), 46.41

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Erika Brown (Tennessee)- 46.56
  2. Anna Hopkin (Arkansas)- 47.06
  3. Julie Meynen (Auburn)- 47.43
  4. Claire Fisch (Auburn)- 47.58
  5. Veronica Burchill (Georgia)- 47.68
  6. Kalia Antoniou (Alabama)- 48.48
  7. Tjasa Pintar (Tennessee)- 48.49
  8. Abbey Webb (Auburn)- 48.52

Tennessee’s Erika Brown was a tenth off her own SEC Record as she led prelims in 46.56. Brown has already been faster than her SEC Meet Record this season when she set the SEC Record at 46.15 at midseason. Arkansas’ Anna Hopkin, the 2019 runner-up, was within half a second of her best in 47.06.

Auburn has performed very well in the sprints here. Their showing in the 100 free prelims bodes well for a potential sprint relay sweep. Julie Meynen, the 50 free bronze medalist, clipped her lifetime best with a 47.43 to qualify 3rd. Teammate Claire Fisch was just a tenth away from her best in 47.58 for 4th. Freshman Abbey Webb made her first championship final, dropping nearly a second in 48.52 for 8th. Robyn Clevenger qualified 10th for the Tigers in a lifetime best 48.74.

Georgia’s Veronica Burchill, the 2019 bronze medalist and 200 free champion here, was 5th this morning in 47.68. Alabama’s Kalia Antoniou (48.48) and Tennessee’s Tjasa Pintar (48.49) dropped a couple of tenths as they were 6th and 7th, respectively.


  • SEC Meet Record: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2016, 41.07
  • NCAA Record: Caeleb Dressel (Florida), 2018, 39.90
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 41.71
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 42.53
  • 2019 Champion: Robert Howard (Alabama), 41.57

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Brooks Curry (LSU)- 42.02
  2. Zane Waddell (Alabama)- 42.05
  3. Lewis Burras (South Carolina)- 42.33
  4. Kieran Smith (Florida)- 42.52
  5. Adam Koster (Texas A&M)- 42.55
  6. Khader Baqlah (Florida)- 42.74
  7. Alec Connolly (Tennessee)- 42.96
  8. Mark Theall (Texas A&M)- 43.03

LSU freshman Brooks Curry smashed his best by over a second to lead prelims in 42.02. That put him 3 hundredths ahead of Alabama’s Zane Waddell (42.05), who set a best in this event for the first time since 2017. South Carolina’s Lewis Burras also dropped over a second to qualify 3rd in 42.33.

Florida’s Kieran Smith, the 500 free and 400 IM champion, dropped a second in 42.52. They’ll have 2 in the championship heat as teammate Khader Baqlah (42.74), the 200 free champion, returns to the final. Texas A&M will also have 2 with Adam Koster (42.55) and Mark Theall (43.03). Tennessee’s Alec Connolly was 7th in 42.96.

Kentucky’s Peter Wetzlar touched in 42.96, but was ultimately disqualified for a false start. Teammate John Mitchell was just a tenth shy of the best as he missed the final by a hundredth in 43.04. There’s a swimoff set for the 16th spot between Texas A&M’s Kaloyan Bratanov and Florida freshman Eric Friese, as they both finished in 43.38.


  • SEC Meet Record: Syndey Pickrem (Texas A&M), 2018, 2:04.62
  • NCAA Record: Lilly King (Indiana), 2018, 2:02.60
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 2:06.84
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 2:09.77
  • 2019 Champion: Anna Belousova (Texas A&M), 2:04.80

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Zoie Hartman (Georgia)- 2:07.88
  2. Gillian Davey (Kentucky)- 2:07.90
  3. Danielle DellaTorre (Georgia)- 2:08.11
  4. Bailey Bonnett (Kentucky)- 2:08.34
  5. Vanessa Pearl (Florida)- 2:08.60
  6. Albury Higgs (South Carolina)- 2:08.85
  7. Alexis Yager (Tennessee)- 2:08.90
  8. Niamh Robinson (LSU)- 2:08.92

Texas A&M’s defending champion Anna Belousova declared a false start in prelims. Belousova, the 2019 champion in both breaststrokes, was the 100 breast bronze medalist last night.

Georgia’s Zoie Hartman, the 100 breast champion, was within a couple of tenths of her best as she took the top seed in 2:07.88. Kentucky’s Gillian Davey was just 2 hundredths back, breaking 2:08 for the first time in 2:07.90. Hartman will be joined by teammate Danielle DellaTorre, the silver medalist in the 100 breast. Davey is joined by fellow Wildcat Bailey Bonnett, the 2019 bronze medalist in this event.

Florida’s Vanessa Pearl, the 400 IM silver medalist, returns to the final this season. She was within half a second of her best from 2018 this morning in 2:08.60. Also returning to the final is South Carolina’s Albury Higgs (2:08.85).

LSU freshman Niamh Robinson has now qualified for both breaststroke finals. She was just hundredths shy of her best this morning in 2:08.92, qualifying 8th behind Tennessee’s Alexis Yager (2:08.90).


  • SEC Meet Record: Nic Fink (Georgia, 2015, 1:51.58
  • NCAA Record: Will Licon (Texas), 2017, 1:47.91
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:52.61
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 1:54.04
  • 2019 Champion: Ben Walker (Texas A&M), 1:52.55

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Ben Walker (Texas A&M)- 1:53.22
  2. Derek Maas (Alabama)- 1:53.53
  3. Jack Dalmolin (Georgia)- 1:53.69
  4. Liam Bell (Alabama)- 1:53.83
  5. Andres Puente (Texas A&M)- 1:53.89
  6. Marco Guarente (Florida)- 1:54.05
  7. Grant Sanders (Florida)- 1:54.63
  8. Will Goodwin (Missouri)- 1:55.59

Defending champion Ben Walker of Texas A&M came through the heats with a 1:53.22 to lead the field. Freshman teammate Andres Puente (1:52.89) will join him in tonight’s final.

The Bama freshman breaststroke duo of Derek Maas and Liam Bell has been performing very well at this meet. Bell was a close 2nd in last night’s 100 breast final. He had a huge swim this morning, dropping over 3 seconds in 1:53.83. Maas dropped almost 3 seconds, just a few tenths behind Walker to take 2nd in 1:53.53.

Florida will have 2 in the final as the 400 IM silver medalist and 2019 bronze medalist in this event, Grant Sanders was 7th in 1:54.63. Teammate Marco Guarente, the 2019 bronze medalist in the 100 breast, returns to the final with a 1:54.05 for 6th.

Georgia’s Jack Dalmolin broke 1:54 for the first tine as he qualified 3rd in 1:53.69. Missouri got one in as well with Will Goodwin coming within tenths of a best in 1:55.59.

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4 years ago

Florida has 5 girls who will score in the mile with two more swimming finals, plus two girls in the platform final, and the 9th and 15th place finisher. We have ourselves a MEET folks!

4 years ago

You’re not covering the afternoon session of the 1650?

4 years ago

UGA’s best chance of winning a relay might be the 4×200 medley relay (if it existed) 🤔

4 years ago

Derek Maas is having a phenomenal meet, definitely someone to keep an eye on in the next couple years

Reply to  macncheesy
4 years ago

Anyone in Michigan can tell you this kid is the real deal. Glad to see him continuing to improve at Alabama

The Importer AND Exporter
4 years ago

Lots of Alabama in the top 8s…are they swimming well because of Coley or to spite Coley? Discuss.

Reply to  The Importer AND Exporter
4 years ago

Um what? They would be swimming bad if they didn’t want to be a part of the team coley is building. Coley and this new bama staff is really building a strong team here

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  The Importer AND Exporter
4 years ago

To spite Jonty.

4 years ago

It looks like many of the UT swimmers gained time this morning. Social media posts show they are continuing dryland training each morning at their hotel. Curious if this is normal and if that and meet fatigue may be taking its toll?

Reply to  Silentfan1
4 years ago

It’s an interesting question you’re asking. “not resting for conference” is one thing. Lifting weights every day of a long 5-day meet on top of warmups and cooldowns and racing and recovery…that in and of itself could just add up to fatigue by the end of the meet.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

A few lightweight power cleans aren’t going to fatigue muscles, any more than (and probably less than) say Dressel doing his insanely high jumps behind the blocks before 14 races, guys who do clap pushups or say the guys who do some in-water reps on a power cord for post-activation potentiation. It’s not like they’re breaking muscle. They’re keeping motor unit recruitment high with no CNS fatigue or muscle damage.

4 years ago

Brooks Curry!

4 years ago

Wow! women’s 100 free is fast. Took 49.3 to make top 24.

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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