2021 Men’s SEC Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2021 SEC MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The first of what will be an exciting four days of racing at the 2021 SEC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships is upon us, with a pair of timed final relays on the docket Tuesday to get things going.

The University of Florida enters the meet as the eight-time defending champions, but the Gators will certainly have their hands full this week with the likes of the upstart Georgia Bulldogs and the Shaine Casas-led Texas A&M Aggies.

Georgia comes in as the top seed in both the 200 medley and 800 free relays tonight, having established a new program record earlier this year in the former (1:23.60), while being the only school to crack 6:20 this season in the latter (6:16.42).

The Aggies are the defending champions in the 200 medley, but have graduated three quarters of that squad, while the Gators won the 800 free relay last year in a SEC Meet Record of 6:09.91. Leading off that relay last year was Kieran Smithwho unleashed the fourth-fastest 200 free in history in 1:30.11. He’ll be key this week, both in their title hopes in this relay and the overall crown.

Other storylines to keep an eye on will be the status of Florida’s distance ace Bobby Finkewho was spotted in a walking boot this week, and the South Carolina team who will be racing shorthanded.

200 MEDLEY RELAY TIMED FINAL

  • SEC Meet Record: 1:22.19, Alabama, 2019
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:24.30
  • 2020 Champion: Texas A&M, 1:23.49 (Casas, Walker, Koster, Thibert)
  1. Florida, 1:23.17
  2. Texas A&M / Alabama, 1:23.28

The Florida men picked up the win in the 200 medley relay to open the meet from Heat 2 of 3, clocking 1:23.17 to take over the top time in the NCAA this season.

Freshman Adam Chaney led them off in 20.72, and then was followed by Dillon Hillis (23.26), Eric Friese (20.54) and Will Davis (18.65). Chaney’s 50 back time is almost a full second under his previous best from the Auburn Fall Invite earlier this season (21.71).

Last season, the Gators were third, with Friese and Davis swimming almost identical splits to today. Their last win came in 2018.

Coming into the meet, Texas held the nation’s top time at 1:23.58, while Florida sat back in 12th with a 1:25.31 from November.

In the final heat, Alabama and Texas A&M tied for second overall in 1:23.28, with Georgia a close fourth in 1:23.62. The time for the Aggies is a new school record, eclipsing their 1:23.49 set in winning this race last season.

Shaine Casas edged out Chaney for the top backstroke split in 20.61, while Alabama freshman Matt King blasted a 18.61 anchor to erase their small deficit to the Aggies down the stretch.

The time for Casas is a new PB, going two-tenths under his 20.82 from the Art Adamson Invite in November.

Georgia entered the meet ranked #2 in the NCAA with their 1:23.60 school record from November, going just .02 slower here. Still, lead-off Javier Acevedo (21.09) and anchor Dillon Downing (18.59) were faster than they were early in the season. Downing and flier Camden Murphy (19.97) gave them the field’s fastest splits on both back-half legs.

Highlighting Tennessee’s fifth-place effort was junior Michael Houlie, who torched a 22.77 breaststroke split for the Volunteers. According to USA Swimming’s Data Hub, that ties the 10th-fastest split of all-time. Houlie split 23.32 last season. Mizzou’s Ben Patton also had a noteworthy breast leg in 23.19.

LSU topped the opening heat in a time of 1:25.61,ultimately placing eighth overall with sophomore Brooks Curry anchoring them home in 18.83.

800 FREE RELAY TIMED FINAL

  • SEC Meet Record: 6:09.91, Florida, 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 6:17.18
  • 2020 Champion: Florida, 6:09.91 (Smith, Quinn, Baqlah, Beach)
  1. Texas A&M, 6:11.63
  2. Florida, 6:12.24
  3. Georgia, 6:14.00

Kieran Smith got Florida off to an incredible start in the 800 free relay, unleashing the second-fastest swim of all-time on the lead-off leg in 1:29.48. That blows by Smith’s previous best of 1:30.11 — set leading off this relay last season — which was also the SEC conference and meet record in the 200 free.

Smith becomes the fourth man sub-1:30, joining Dean Farris (1:29.15), Townley Haas (1:29.50) and Blake Pieroni (1:29.63) — who all broke the AR when they cracked the barrier.

However, it was Texas A&M who prevailed with the victory in the end, ending Florida’s eight-year winning streak in the event. The Aggies’ final three swimmers slowly but surely ate into the Gator lead before Clayton Bobo overtook Miguel Cancel to win it in 6:11.63.

The Aggies had Shaine Casas lead off, chopping a full second off his lifetime best in 1:31.28, followed by the versatile Mark Theall (1:32.52), Kaloyan Bratanov (1:33.30) and Bobo (1:34.53). The team slides under their program record of 6:11.87 set last year.

Following Smith’s 1:29.48, sophomore Trey Freeman had a solid 1:32.41 for Florida, and then they opted for Clark Beach (1:34.46) and Cancel (1:35.89). Notably, they didn’t use Bobby Finke, who was spotted in a walking boot this week.

Georgia picks up third in 6:14.00, led by freshman Jake Magahey‘s 1:32.55 anchor, while Mizzou (6:17.02) and Auburn (6:18.67) round out the top five.

LSU notably opted not to use Brooks Curry, placing a distant 10th in 6:29.05.

TEAM SCORES

Reminder: The entire diving portion of the meet was contested last week.

  1. Kentucky, 338
  2. Tennessee, 287
  3. Missouri, 232
  4. Texas A&M, 221
  5. Florida, 207
  6. Auburn, 202
  7. LSU, 176
  8. Alabama, 156
  9. Georgia, 152
  10. South Carolina, 90

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Waader
1 year ago

Oh yeah. Pretty much confirms Sec is the most exciting conference meet.
Both Smith’s and Casas’ 800 fr relay splits were exactly what I was hoping for. This gon’ be a good week.

Admin
Reply to  Waader
1 year ago

I dunno, the Mountain West meet was bonkers.

Whoa
1 year ago

Florida wins the medley from heat 2…. so the video is from heat 3????

Clownley Honks
1 year ago

Casas is now in the top 25 all time in six events, the most of anyone I believe.

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Clownley Honks
1 year ago

I can’t think of anyone better than Dressel who has 5. If Dressel would have swum a few other events at SECs or NCAAs, he’d certainly have a few more.

Dressel

50 Free-1
100 Free-1
100 Fly-1
100 Breast-2
200 IM-1

SwimFani
1 year ago

The boy VOLS started kinda slow BUT glad Houdini Houlie pulled out a 22.77 beast-breastroke leg!!! Thought the beaver-tailed hatted guys would take his passion and momentum and perform like champs on the 800 FRR…7th? Wha hoppening???

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  SwimFani
1 year ago

Told ya earlier: A&M “cut” those tails off but will give them back after the last event Friday but them “tail less, beaver hatted” boys better go out & buy more of them caps because I don’t think they can glue those tails A&M cut off tonight back onto them caps & have them look decent 😄😄

SwimFani
Reply to  Texas A&M Swim Fan
1 year ago

Good point – will buy gorilla glue

sec fan
1 year ago

seems UGA could be in a much better spot if they had better divers! 3rd & 4th on the relays and still almost in last… uh oh!

2swim2kick
Reply to  sec fan
1 year ago

Well they only brought 1 diver so it looks like they’re putting their points almost entirely in swimming

observation
Reply to  sec fan
1 year ago

Yeah… why doesn’t UGA recruit good divers??

swimfan210_
1 year ago

UF looks awesome, has a bunch of guys swimming really fast in both relays. Chaney going off, mainly a freestyler but just a tenth slower than Casas in the 50 back. Really solid splits from everyone else, great relay.
Smith and Finke (if he swims) look like they will break their ARs. Dazzling 1:29 from Kieran. 1:32.4 split from Freeman is a good sign too, his flat start best is a 1:33.06 from 2018 and he looks to beat that. In the 800 TAMU just had more depth. Casas went 1:31, wow he can literally swim anything.

PUMPKIN
1 year ago

Why didn’t florida anchor with bobby finke? They would have won handily.

Zanna
Reply to  PUMPKIN
1 year ago

previous article said that he was in a walking boot. So we assume is he somewhat injured.

Swimmer
1 year ago

Florida men on Demon Time😈

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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