2020 SEC Champs: Florida Women Cement 5 Scoring Swims in Early Mile Heats


The early heats of the men’s and women’s 1650 free took place this afternoon at the 2020 SEC Championships. The top 8 seeded swimmers will compete at the beginning of tonight’s finals, but we do have an idea of which teams will get a good amount of points based on the timed finals of the afternoon heats.


  • SEC Meet Record: Brittany MacLean (Georgia), 2016, 15:36.52
  • NCAA Record: Katie Ledecky (Stanford), 2017, 15:03.31
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 15:52.41
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 16:14.21
  • 2019 Champion: Leah Braswell (Florida), 15:53.54


  1. Peyton Palsha (Arkansas)- 16:01.99
  2. Averee Preble (Auburn)- 16:06.54
  3. Beth McNeese (Kentucky)- 16:13.71
  4. Maddie Homovich (Georgia)- 16:19.20
  5. Tylor Mathieu (Florida)- 16:19.30
  6. Georgia Darwent (Florida)- 16:22.17
  7. Lexi Ljunggren (Arkansas)- 16:24.01
  8. Savanna Faulconer (Florida)- 16:24.67

The top 3 this afternoon were all under the time seeded 8th. Arkansas’ Peyton Palsha dropped a few seconds to lead the way in 16:01.99. That’s faster than all but 2 seed times for the final. Auburn freshman Averee Preble dropped over 10 seconds in 16:06.54. Kentucky freshman Beth McNeese was 3rd in the early heats in a lifetime best 16:13.71.

Florida has 3 women in the championship final and they already have 3 women who will place in the 9-16 range at the lowest: freshman Tylor Mathieu (16:19.30), Georgia Darwent (16:22.17), and Savanna Faulconer (16:24.67). Freshmen Kathleen Golding (9th- 16:247.34) and Allie Piccirillo (13th- 16:34.11) are also guaranteed to score. That likely means 8 scoring swims here for the Gators.


  • SEC Meet Record: Robert Finke (Florida), 2019, 14:23.01
  • NCAA Record: Clark Smith (Texas), 2017, 14:22.41
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 14:37.31
  • 2019 NCAA Invited: 14:54.05
  • 2019 Champion: Robert Finke (Florida), 14:23.01


  1. Aryan Makhija (Auburn)- 14:53.57
  2. Nico Hernandez-Tome (Alabama)- 14:56.39
  3. Ethan Sanders (Tennessee)- 14:57.70
  4. Aaron Apel (Georgia)- 15:01.31
  5. Hank Siefert (Kentucky)- 15:04.97
  6. Jakob Clark (Kentucky)- 15:06.13
  7. Ryan Ratliff (Alabama)- 15:07.34
  8. Grant Norgan (Georgia)- 15:10.13

Auburn’s Aryan Makhija dropped 10 seconds to lead the early heats in 14:53.57. That time is faster than all bu 2 of the top 8 seeds. Alabama’s Nico Hernandez-Tome smashed his best by over 15 seconds in 14:56.39. Tennessee also had a swimmer under 15:00 as Ethan Sanders put up a 14:57.70.

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1 year ago

Just an outsiders opinion. The Women’s team race, looks like it will tighten up tonight. Might be a closer team score than everyone thought. Poppell (Jacksonville Episcopal Grad Swimming under Larry and then Jack a Georgia) and Nesty (Bolles Grad Swimming under Gregg, and then Randy at Florida), really have done a good job. Women’s program significantly better than 2 years ago, and mens program doing great without those that left. All teams in SEC definitely have highlights too. I’m certain everyone will comment on the highlights they have enjoyed. What a great meet in general.

Reply to  CoachD
1 year ago

Poppell get Coach of the Meet if the Lady Gators pull off this HUGE UPSET!!!! Anthony also – GREAT JOB!!!!

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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