2021 Men’s SEC Championships: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap

2021 SEC MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Florida carries an 80.5-point lead over Georgia heading into the final day of SECs, while Tennessee holds down third place, with Texas A&M and Mizzou not far behind.

Friday’s action will include the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 fly this morning, followed by the early heats of the 1650 free prior to finals. The fastest seed heat of the mile will open the finals session, and the 400 free relay will close things out.

Shaine Casas has dropped the 200 fly (where he was the top seed) and will race the 200 back on Day 4, and Kieran Smith opts for the 100 free after entering the meet with additional entries in the 200 back and 200 fly.

Four of the five 2020 individual champions in today’s events will be competing to defend those titles, with only the 200 breast — which appears pretty wide open — to crown a new winner.

The only reigning champion who doesn’t hold the top seed comes in the 200 fly, where UGA senior Camden Murphy will have his work cut out for him with freshman teammate Luca Urlando, who holds the fourth-fastest time in the nation this season at 1:40.67.

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

200 Back Prelims

  • SEC Meet Record: 1:37.20, Shaine Casas (TAMU), 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:39.16
  • 2020 Winner: Shaine Casas (TAMU), 1:37.20
  1. Shaine Casas (Texas A&M), 1:38.38
  2. Javier Acevedo (Georgia), 1:40.38
  3. Clark Beach (Florida), 1:40.89
  4. Jack Dahlgren (Missouri), 1:41.58
  5. Bradley Dunham (Georgia), 1:41.90
  6. Ian Grum (Georgia), 1:42.06
  7. Jake Marcum (Alabama), 1:42.24
  8. Keegan Walsh (Georgia), 1:42.34

Shaine Casas made it look easy in the final heat of the 200 back, putting up a time of 1:38.38 to take the top seed into tonight’s final by two seconds.

Casas leads the NCAA by over three seconds this season after clocking 1:36.54 in October, a swim that ranks him fourth all-time.

The top three seeds all came out of the final heat, as 100 back winner Javier Acevedo (1:40.38) and Florida senior Clark Beach (1:40.89) were second and third. Beach was second to Casas last year, but had only been 1:45.11 this season until this morning.

Mizzou’s Jack Dahlgren advanced in fourth after winning the penultimate heat in 1:41.58, and Georgia sophomore Bradley Dunham continues his strong meet by breaking 1:42 for the first time in fifth (1:41.90).

Joining Acevedo and Dunham in the ‘A’ final for Georgia is Ian Grum and Keegan Walsh, giving the Bulldogs a strong start as they look to claw their way into the title race with Florida. Walsh’s swim was a new best time, hitting a 1:42.34 to lower his 1:43.04 from the 2019 UT Invite.

100 Free Prelims

  • SEC Meet Record: 40.87, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR), 2018
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 41.71
  • 2020 Winner: Brooks Curry (LSU), 41.81
  1. Kieran Smith (Florida), 42.08
  2. Matt King (Alabama), 42.15
  3. Adam Chaney (Florida), 42.20
  4. Brooks Curry (LSU), 42.24
  5. Dillon Downing (Georgia), 42.60
  6. Eric Friese (Florida), 42.68
  7. Jonathan Berneburg (Alabama), 42.79
  8. Kaloyan Bratanov (Texas A&M), 42.95

After UGA put four men into the 200 back ‘A’ final, the Gators immediately responded by placing three into the championship heat of the 100 free.

Kieran Smith edged out Alabama’s Matt King for the win in Heat 6, ultimately claiming the top seed in 42.08. That marks a personal best time for Smith, who set his old best of 42.14 when finishing third last season. King (42.15) also slips under his best time to qualify second.

The on-fire Adam Chaney reset another best time to top defending champion Brooks Curry in the last heat, clocking 42.20 to become the sixth-fastest swimmer of all-time in the 17-18 age group. Chaney’s previous best time was 43.00.

Curry was 42.24 for fourth, while Dillon Downing (42.60) won the first circle-seeded heat to mark the only Bulldog swimmer in the ‘A’ final. Curry, who won last year as a freshman in an LSU school record of 41.81, is the only swimmer in the field to have been faster than what Smith went this morning in 2020-21, going 42.06 in November.

Eric Friese was the third Florida swimmer to advance, as the sophomore dropped two-tenths for sixth. Last season, Friese finished 19th.

Alabama senior Sam DiSette had a big time drop from one of the early heats, bringing his best time down by nearly eight-tenths in 43.15 for ninth overall.

200 Breast Prelims

  • SEC Meet Record: 1:51.58, Nic Fink (UGA), 2015
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:52.61
  • 2020 Winner: Benjamin Walker (TAMU), 1:51.92
  1. Andres Puente Bustamante (Texas A&M), 1:54.12
  2. Lyubomir Epitropov (Tennessee), 1:54.34
  3. Jack Dalmolin (Georgia), 1:54.42
  4. Will Goodwin (Missouri), 1:54.57
  5. Kevin Vargas (Florida), 1:54.66
  6. Derek Maas (Alabama), 1:54.97
  7. Amro Al-Wir (Florida), 1:55.01
  8. Michael Houlie (Tennessee), 1:55.06

The runner-up last season as a freshman, Texas A&M’s Andres Puente Bustamante grabs the top spot in the 200 breast heats in 1:54.12, holding off Tennessee’s Lyubomir Epitropov in the last heat.

Puente Bustamante owns a best time of 1:52.39 from the 2020 final, while also ranking third in the nation this season in 1:52.74. He’ll look to extend the Aggie winning streak in this event to three tonight after the now-graduated Benjamin Walker won the last two titles.

Epitropov, who didn’t compete in last year’s meet, finishes just .02 outside of his lifetime best for second overall in 1:54.34.

Georgia’s Jack Dalmolin, who ranks fourth in the NCAA this season (1:52.80), qualifies third overall in 1:54.42, while fellow 2020 finalists Will Goodwin (1:54.57) and Derek Maas (1:54.97) also advanced.

It was another strong event for Florida, as freshmen Amro Al-Wir and Mateusz Dubas both unloaded big personal best times for the Gators, ranking them seventh and 10th overall. Sophomore Kevin Vargas, who placed 18th one year ago, dropped more than a second from his best time to take fifth.

Following his third-place finish in the 100 breast last night, Missouri’s Ben Patton dropped a massive best time out of Heat 1 in 1:55.11, which ended up putting him ninth overall. The swim marked his first time under the 2:00-barrier. Patton, a sophomore who raced the 200 back last season, set his previous best of 2:00.20 back in December of 2018. According to USA Swimming’s records, it’s his first SCY 200 breast since March 2019.

200 Fly Prelims

  • SEC Meet Record: 1:40.59, Hugo Morris (AUB), 2016
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:40.76
  • 2020 Winner: Camden Murphy (UGA), 1:40.93
  1. Camden Murphy (Georgia), 1:41.90
  2. Mason Wilby (Kentucky), 1:42.69
  3. Danny Kovac (Missouri), 1:42.89
  4. Luca Urlando (Georgia), 1:43.10
  5. Andrew Abruzzo (Georgia), 1:43.26
  6. Dillon Hillis (Florida), 1:43.81
  7. Jace Crawford (Florida), 1:44.25
  8. Kayky Mota (Tennessee), 1:44.72

Georgia did what they it had to do in advancing three swimmers to the ‘A’ final of the 200 fly, led by two-time defending champion Camden Murphy in 1:41.90.

Murphy turned on the jets on the last 50 to win Heat 3 over Mason Wilby (1:42.69) and Danny Kovac (1:42.89), as the trio marked the only swimmers sub-1:43 this morning.

Both Wilby and Kovac hit new personal best times, as Wilby improves on his 1:43.23 from the 2020 SECs, and is now just .03 off of the Kentucky school record set by Kyle Higgins in 2016 (1:42.66).

Kovac, who only raced this event for the first time in college earlier this season, also breaks 1:43 for the first time, having been 1:43.20 in November. Prior to that, he had never broken 1:50.

Bulldogs Luca Urlando (1:43.10) and Andrew Abruzzo (1:43.26) went 1-2 in the final heat to qualify fourth and fifth overall, while Florida junior Dillon Hillis showed off his versatility by dropping half a second for sixth in 1:43.81. Hillis, who won the 100 breast last night, set his previous best time of 1:44.34 three years ago.

Another swimmer who had a big swim for Florida was freshman Jace Crawford, winning the first circle-seeded heat in a best time of 1:44.25 to qualify seventh after coming in seeded 15th.

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PFA
1 month ago

Would love to see if Luca could break 1:40 today really would be something if he did. Also Adam might be my dark horse in the 100 free today depending on how prelims go.

Swimmerbowl
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Adam can’t be considered a dark-horse anymore

skroobnagol
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Might be a dark horse? After18.7 and 44.9 I’d say he’s the favourite at this meet.

Mr Piano
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Luca will go 1:41 flat

Andrew Majeske
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

I am thinking more a mid to high 1:39

Pvdh
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Dude just went 18.7 in the 50 lol. He’s not a dark horse

SwimFani
1 month ago

QUESTION: If a team has 3 swimmers with A cut BUT no relays with A cut, (they have B cuts) can that team swim relays at NCAAs this year??

NCAA Information
Reply to  SwimFani
1 month ago

Only if they get a 4th qualifier to the meet. (Doesn’t have to be an A cut, just an invited swimmer) then they can swim all B cut relays.

1 invited swimmer = all A and B cut relays
4 invited swimmers = all B cut relays (if the team doesn’t have an A cut relay)

Teams can then bring up to 4 uninvited relay alternates to swim any relay (as long as they don’t exceed the max 18 athletes per team)

2Fat4Speed
Reply to  SwimFani
1 month ago

You need 4 people to swim a relay.

UGAfan
1 month ago

Bradley Dunham is UGA not Florida!

Last edited 1 month ago by UGAfan
Ghost
Reply to  UGAfan
1 month ago

Thanks Mrs Dunham

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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