2021 Men’s SEC Championships: Day 3 Finals Live Recap

2021 SEC MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The penultimate night of finals from the Men’s SEC Championships in Columbia features five individual events plus the 400 medley relay, with several exciting races coupled with some intense team battles making for an intriguing session.

Kieran Smith and Jake Magahey are the two biggest favorites coming into tonight in their respective events after an epic battle last night in the 500 free, with Smith expected to repeat in the 400 IM. Magahey has a big race on his hands in the 200 free with Mark Theall and Brooks Curry, but after splitting his morning swim 46.1/47.3, the freshman appears to have more in the tank for tonight. Magahey has a shot at the UGA school record of 1:31.54 set by Matias Koski in 2016.

The other three individual are more wide open.

In the 100 fly, a historic three men went sub-45 this morning, and all have a shot at the title. Camden Murphy set a new Georgia school record in 44.77, Shaine Casas reset the Texas A&M program record in 44.92, and Luca Urlando put himself just .06 off of the 17-18 NAG in 44.97. There’s also last year’s champion Danny Kovac, who qualified fourth in 45.16.

Florida’s Dillon Hillis and Tennessee’s Michael Houlie are expected to duke it out in the 100 breast after respective showings of 51.27 and 51.38 in the prelims, while TAMU senior Tanner Olson ended up missing the ‘A’ final in 52.83 after going 51.39 earlier in the season.

The 100 back projects to be another three-man race with Georgia’s Javier Acevedo, Florida’s Adam Chaney and Alabama’s Matthew Menke separated by .13 in the heats. Acevedo was the 2018 champion, while Chaney is coming off his first individual conference title last night in the 50 free.

Given how close it was between the top four teams in the 200, no one stands out as a clear favorite in the 400 medley relay, though Florida and Georgia would have to be the frontrunners (the Gators will be swimming out of Heat 2, alongside only Auburn and Alabama).

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 2)

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

  1. Florida, 571
  2. Kentucky, 454
  3. Georgia, 424.5
  4. Tennessee, 392
  5. Texas A&M, 382
  6. Missouri, 379
  7. Auburn, 320
  8. Alabama, 308
  9. LSU, 249.5
  10. South Carolina, 155

400 IM Finals

  • SEC Meet Record: 3:35.76, Hugo Gonzalez (AUB), 2018
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 3:39.16
  • 2020 Winner: Kieran Smith (FLOR), 3:37.31
  1. Kieran Smith (Florida), 3:37.47
  2. Bobby Finke (Florida), 3:39.15
  3. Ian Grum (Georgia), 3:40.51

It was a three-man race at the halfway mark, but like he did in the prelims, Kieran Smith dropped the hammer on breaststroke as he pulled away from Florida teammate Bobby Finke and Georgia’s Ian Grum en route to the 400 IM victory in 3:37.47.

Smith wins the title for the second consecutive year, posting a time just .16 shy of his PB set in last year’s final. Comparing his splits from those two swims, he was about a second slower on the front-half tonight but made it up on breast, splitting 1:01.44 compared to a 1:02.37 in 2020.

The Gator junior also moves into second in the NCAA for the season, trailing only Texas’ Carson Foster (3:35.27).

Finke turned dead even with Grum at the 250 wall, but made his move on the second 50 of breast as he came in for second in 3:39.15, marking his first time sub-3:40. Previously, Finke’s PB stood at 3:40.94 from the 2019 SECs.

Grum, a sophomore who won the ‘B’ final as a freshman, also established a best time in taking third, clocking 3:40.51 to take more than two seconds off his 3:42.73 from the heats.

Sophomore Kevin Vargas ensured there were three Florida swimmers in the top four, splitting 1:01.86 on breast on the way to edging out Mizzou’s Jack Dubois (3:43.98) for fourth in 3:43.45, exactly a tenth slower than his best time. Dubois’ swim was a PB by over 1.5 seconds, previously going 3:45.54 just under a year ago.

Three swimmers in the consolation heats swam times that would’ve made the ‘A’ final had they been done in the morning.

First, Kentucky junior Kyle Barker unloaded a big best from the ‘C’ final in 3:46.52, and then his freshman teammate Zane Rosely (3:44.84) edged out Florida sophomore Tyler Watson (3:45.29) in the ‘B’ final.

Coming into the day, Rosely had never broken 3:50, while Watson chops almost a second from his previous PB of 3:46.20.

100 Fly Finals

  1. Camden Murphy (Georgia), 44.81
  2. Danny Kovac (Missouri), 44.84
  3. Shaine Casas (Texas A&M), 44.91

It was a fast and furious start to the 100 fly final with five men turning under 21 seconds, led by defending champ Danny Kovac and Texas A&M’s Shaine Casas in 20.62 and 20.65, respectively.

Georgia senior Camden Murphy made his charge on the third 25, turning virtually even with Casas before holding off Kovac down the final few meters for the victory in 44.81.

Murphy, who wins his first SEC title in this event, narrowly misses his UGA program record of 44.77 set in the prelims. Kovac claimed second in 44.84 to mark his first time under 45, also earning him a new Mizzou school record, breaking the 44.86 set by Andrew Sansoucie in 2016.

Casas ended up third in 44.91, taking .01 off his TAMU program record from the heats.

Bulldog freshman Luca Urlando, who set a new best of 44.97 in the prelims, had the fastest final 25 in the field but ran out of room and ended up fourth in 45.15.

Murphy, Kovac and Casas occupy the top three spots in the NCAA this season (with all of the other Power Five conferences still to race), and Urlando sits in a tie for fourth.

Overall, this is the fastest 100 fly field in history at a non-NCAA Championship meet, with six total swims under 45 seconds. The previous highest was three from Texas at the 2015 Big 12s.

200 Free Finals

  • SEC Meet Record: 1:29.48, Kieran Smith (FLOR), 2021
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:32.05
  • 2020 Winner: Khader Baqlah (FLOR), 1:32.05
  1. Jake Magahey (Georgia), 1:32.22
  2. Mark Theall (Texas A&M), 1:32.48
  3. Brooks Curry (LSU), 1:32.64

Similar to what we saw in the 500 free, Jake Magahey was lethal on the back-half in the 200 free final, turning fourth at the 100 before mowing down the leaders with splits of 23.47/23.55 to win his first SEC title in 1:32.22.

That marks the Georgia freshman’s first time under 1:33, having set a best time of 1:33.32 in December of 2019 at Winter Junior Nats – East. It’s also faster than his anchor split on Tuesday’s 800 free relay (1:32.55).

Texas A&M senior Mark Theall and LSU sophomore Brooks Curry flip-flopped their finishing positions from last season, taking second and third in 1:32.48 and 1:32.64, respectively. Both swimmers set their best times in last year’s final, with Theall going 1:32.45 and Curry setting the LSU record at 1:32.43.

Amidst the madness it was actually Florida’s Trey Freeman who led at the 100 and 150-yard checkpoints, flipping just over a tenth clear of Magahey and Theall with two lengths to go before falling to fourth in 1:32.88.

Still, that’s Freeman’s first time under 1:33, and his first best time in three years. He set his previous PB of 1:33.06 in February of 2018.

Junior Mason Wilby dropped a new Kentucky school record in winning the ‘B’ final, throwing down a 1:33.87 (including a quick 47.43 middle 100) to lower his previous mark of 1:34.04 set on Tuesday’s relay lead-off. Prior to that, the record belonged to Tyler Reed at 1:34.56 from way back in 2008.

100 Breast Finals

  • SEC Meet Record: 50.03, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR), 2018
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 51.67
  • 2020 Winner: Itay Goldfaden (GAME), 51.35
  1. Dillon Hillis (Florida), 51.22
  2. Michael Houlie (Tennessee), 51.41
  3. Ben Patton (Missouri), 51.80

Dillon Hillis roared down the final 25 of the 100 breaststroke to overtake Michael Houlie and win the conference title in a time of 51.22, edging under his best set in the prelims (51.27).

This was a redemption swim of sorts for Hillis, who placed third last year as a sophomore, but had gone a time in the morning (51.28) that would’ve won at night. It’s also only Florida’s second win in the event since 1993, with Caeleb Dressel being the other to do so in 2018.

Hillis, Houlie and Mizzou’s Ben Patton were essentially even at the 50, but Houlie made a big move on the third 25, only to be run down by Hillis coming home. A Tennessee junior, Houlie set a new school record in the heats in 51.38, and narrowly misses that here to take second in 51.41. He placed eighth last season.

Patton, who didn’t even race this event last season as a freshman, ties his PB from November dead on for third in 51.80. Missouri has never won this event at SECs, and Patton will have a great chance to do so over the next two seasons.

LSU freshman Mitchell Mason slammed down a new program record in the morning in 52.61, and further lowered it tonight in 52.32, earning him fourth place. Another first-year, Missouri’s Freddie Rindshoej, claimed fifth in 52.48, taking .04 off his best set in the heats.

TEAM SCORES (THRU 100 BREAST)

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

  1. Florida, 835.5
  2. Georgia, 707.5
  3. Tennessee, 589.5
  4. Texas A&M, 558
  5. Missouri, 539
  6. Kentucky, 537
  7. Alabama, 411
  8. Auburn, 410
  9. LSU, 320.5
  10. South Carolina, 175

100 Back Finals

  • SEC Meet Record: 44.24, Zane Waddell (BAMA), 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 44.95
  • 2020 Winner: Zane Waddell (BAMA), 44.24
  1. Javier Acevedo (Georgia), 44.96
  2. Adam Chaney (Florida), 45.29
  3. Matthew Menke (Alabama), 45.46

Georgia’s Javier Acevedo used a huge 22.98 back-50 to mow down early leaders Adam Chaney and Matthew Menke and win the SEC 100 back crown in 44.96.

A redshirt senior, this is Acevedo’s second win in this event, having done so back in 2018 as a sophomore. It also stands as his third swim sub-45, having done so twice at the 2018 NCAAs (44.74, 44.90).

Chaney sets yet another best time in 45.29 for second, putting him third all-time in the 17-18 age group. The Gator freshman’s time of 45.44 in the prelims had lowered his previous best of 47.10 from 2019.

Menke, an Alabama sophomore who finished sixth as a freshman, knocks .01 off his PB for third in 45.46.

Coming off a third-place showing in the 400 IM, Georgia’s Ian Grum concludes the day with 53 individual points after taking fourth here in 46.12.

TEAM SCORES (THRU 100 BACK)

The Bulldogs scored big in the 100 back, putting up 121.5 points to reduce Florida’s lead down to 68.5 heading into the 400 medley relay.

  1. Florida, 897.5
  2. Georgia, 829
  3. Tennessee, 607
  4. Texas A&M, 581
  5. Missouri, 545
  6. Kentucky, 537
  7. Alabama, 494
  8. Auburn, 456
  9. LSU, 323.5
  10. South Carolina, 175

400 Medley Relay Timed Finals

  • SEC Meet Record: 3:02.17, Alabama, 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 3:05.95
  • 2020 Winner: Alabama, 3:02.17 (Waddell, Bell, Sesvold, Berneburg)
  1. Florida, 3:02.66
  2. Missouri, 3:04.59
  3. Alabama, 3:04.72

The Florida men pulled off the 400 medley relay win out of the Heat 2, clocking 3:02.66 for a new school record.

Fresh off taking second in the 100 back final, freshman Adam Chaney led the Gators off in 44.99 for his third best time of the day, moving up into second all-time in the 17-18 age group behind Ryan Murphy (44.63).

He was followed by 100 breast winner Dillon Hillis (51.35), sophomore Eric Friese (45.04) and junior Kieran Smith (41.28) for a decisive victory by almost two seconds. The team’s time lowers the previous Florida record of 3:03.16 set in 2018, and also moves to #1 in the nation this season.

Mizzou won the last heat in 3:04.59 to take second, inching past Alabama’s 3:04.72 from Florida’s heat.

The Tigers had a strong breast leg from Ben Patton (51.16), and the field’s top fly leg from individual winner Danny Kovac (44.84).

Alabama was third in 3:04.72, with Matthew Menke re-lowering his 100 back best down to 45.18, and Georgia was a disappointing fourth, with only Camden Murphy‘s 44.96 fly split particularly notable.

Shaine Casas swam his only 100 back of the meet for the Aggies, touching in 45.01 as they team went on to place fifth.

Michael Houlie produced a blistering 50.88 breast split for Tennessee, who placed sixth in 3:08.06.

Mitchell Mason (51.95) and Brooks Curry (41.06) (initially) had quick splits for LSU on breast and free, but it turns out Curry jumped early (reaction: -0.11) so the team was DQed.

TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 3)

  1. Florida, 961.5
  2. Georgia, 881
  3. Tennessee, 655
  4. Texas A&M, 631
  5. Missouri, 601
  6. Kentucky, 577
  7. Alabama, 548
  8. Auburn, 502
  9. LSU, 323.5
  10. South Carolina, 219

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Mr Piano
1 month ago

Kieran is looking so sharp right now, he has the speed that Townley has but better endurance, that makes a dangerous combo for the 200 free long course.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr Piano
Sun Yangs Hammer
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

Townley didn’t recover from that 500 until last year

25Backstroke
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

I thought that Townley was going to be the next Yannick Agnel after 2017 😔 (1:43 in the individual 200 LCM, and the ability to throw down a 46.xx 4×100 relay leg)

Mr Piano
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
1 month ago

It took him until ISL Finals December 2020 to recover lol.

But on a serious note, I think Kieran is going to win the 200 at trials. Townley has pretty much given up on the 400 meter free, which is pretty unfortunate. If you look at all the best 200 freestylers in history, they all had amazing 400s. Phelps, Lochte, Angel? Outstanding 400 swimmers. Sun Yang, Thorpe, and park? 400 swimmers. Rapsys goes 3:42 in the 400 and is the only one to go 1:44.3 since Agnel. If Townley focused on the 400 again, he’d probably close a lot better in his 200.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr Piano
leisurely1:29
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

Or maybe Townley’s focusing on the 200 and will be better than he would’ve been in that 200 had he focused on the 400…

Dudeman
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

In short course swimming the 100 swimmers can jump up to the 200 much better but in long course the 400 guys that come down tend to be much better. The last 100m swimmer that was able to effectively swim up to the 200 was van den hoogenband. The best guys now are pretty much 200 free specialists aside from Sun Yang and maybe Rapsys depending on how “on” he is in the 400

swimfan
Reply to  Dudeman
1 month ago

You could argue Van den Hoogenband could effectively swim up to the 400m (his PB was 3.47 LCM), and he swam up to at least the 800m in his age-group days. (Just to say that he might fit the ‘mold’ better than we think at first glance)

Last edited 1 month ago by swimfan
Dudeman
Reply to  swimfan
1 month ago

Good point, I was just more referring to his international performances where he swam primarily the 100 and 200. The 400 time is quite good but when I was thinking of a 400m swimmer going down to a 200 I’m thinking someone that goes 3:45 or faster (Sun yang, Park, Vanderkaay, Horton) coming down to a 1:44-1:45 range 200. Hoogenband is one of the only guys I can think of that went 47 and 1:44, even down to a 22.0 in his 50 in 2000 which shows more speed than any 400m swimmer dropping down

SwimFani
1 month ago

What about Houdi Houlie the MAN VOL who might win the 90 yard breastroke!!!

Observer
Reply to  SwimFani
1 month ago

And the ultimate troll account award goes to…

SwimFani
Reply to  Observer
1 month ago

You seem to be a fan – thank you!

worm
Reply to  Observer
1 month ago

Guerra!

Clownley Honks
1 month ago

Finke is back!

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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