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

SEC – WOMEN SWIMMING & DIVING + MEN’S DIVING

  • Wednesday, February 17 – Saturday, February 20, 2021
  • W Swimming: Gabrielsen Natatorium – Athens, GA (Eastern Time Zone)
  • W&M Diving: Mizzou Aquatics Center – Columbia, MO (Central Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: Tennessee (1x) (results)
  • Live results – Meet Mobile
  • Live results – Web
  • Live Video – SEC Network
  • Championship Central
  • Psych Sheets

We’ve made it to the post-season after an entire NCAA season amidst the pandemic, and tonight marks the first finals session of the 2021 Women’s SEC Championships. Aside from precautionary COVID-19 restrictions and a no-spectator rule, this year is different because the men’s and women’s meet, traditionally combined and across five days of competition, are separated into two different four-day meets.

Tonight will be the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay timed finals. An extremely competitive conference, this year’s SEC Championships will see Georgia lead the charge against the defending champions Tennessee. Georgia hasn’t won since 2015, while Tennessee’s 2020 title snapped a four-year streak by Texas A&M and was the Lady Vols’ first-ever conference crown.

Tennessee won both relays on the first night of competition last year. Mizzou holds the top seed in the 200 medley tonight (1:36.00) and Georgia does in the 800 (7:03.94).

200 MEDLEY RELAY – TIMED FINAL

  • SEC record – 1:34.26, Tennessee 2019
  • NCAA qualifying cut – 1:36.40
  • 2020 champion – Tennessee, 1:35.38
  1. Alabama 1:34.68
  2. Mizzou 1:35.61
  3. Kentucky 1:35.87

Both the second and third heats ended with unofficial results, with meet officials checking video review for multiple disqualifications. After the three heats finished out, it was announced that Auburn and Georgia were DQ’d. Georgia had finished second in 1:35.49 before their relay was called for an early take-off.

Alabama was stellar in this relay, as Rhyan White blasted a 23.35 leading off in heat two of three (teams are spaced out in every other lane for COVID-19 safety protocol), making her the second-fastest 50 backstroker in SCY history. Only Maggie MacNeil of Michigan has been faster (23.05), and White edges out Rachel Bootsma from the previous #2 slot (33.36). Kaila Wong was 27.35 on the breast leg, followed by a mighty 22.45 fly leg from Morgan Scott and a strong 21.53 anchor from Cora Dupre as they broke their school record by almost two seconds.

Mizzou, who led the SEC going into this meet with a 1:36.00, took second in 1:35.61, while Kentucky was the only other team under 1:36 at 1:35.87. Mizzou got a 22.42 fly leg from Sarah Thompson, while Kentucky had a 23.92 lead-off from Caitlin Brooks and a 21.58 anchor from Riley Gaines. That’s a huge jump for Kentucky, who were down at 11th last year with the same four legs. Kentucky also took almost a second off of their old school record, a 1:36.75 from earlier this season.

Tennessee was fourth tonight in 1:36.41, just .01 off of the automatic qualifying standard in this relay, getting a 26.64 breast leg from freshman Mona McSharry and a 21.43 anchor from senior Bailey Grinter, while Texas A&M took fifth in 1:37.49, their relay consisting of senior Kara Eisenmann and three freshmen. Star freshman Chloe Stepanek anchored the Aggies with a 21.63.

Florida (1:37.83) and Arkansas (1:37.92) both broke 1:38, as freshman Cecilia Porter dropped a 26.90 breast leg for the Gators.

800 FREE RELAY – TIMED FINAL

  • SEC record – 6:52.54, Georgia 2013
  • NCAA qualifying cut – 7:00.86
  • 2020 champion – Tennessee, 6:53.27
  1. Kentucky – 6:58.58
  2. Florida – 6:58.91
  3. Georgia – 6:59.42

In the final heat, a four-way battle ensued between Kentucky and Alabama on the outside lanes and Florida and Georgia on the inside lanes.

Kentucky was able to hold on at the end, getting a 1:45.22 lead-off from Izzy Gati, 1:45.14 from Kaitlynn Wheeler, 1:45.78 from Sophie Sorenson and a big-time 1:42.44 second leg from Riley Gaines.

Florida was 6:58.91 for second, with a big front-half of Talia Bates (1:43.38) and Katie Mack (1:44.85), while Georgia recovered from their medley relay DQ with a 6:59.42 for third. Courtney Harnish was 1:42.96, a major lead-off and a new lifetime best by a couple of tenths, and Zoie Hartman anchored in a 1:43.54. Bates, meanwhile, just missed Caroline Burckle’s UF record of 1:43.10 from back in 2008.

Alabama was also solid in fourth place, going 7:01.36 and getting a 1:43.69 lead-off from Morgan Scott which breaks her own school record. Their relay, too, broke a school record.

After trailing in heat two of three, Tennessee got a huge 1:42.91 anchor from Tjasa Pintar after three 1:46’s to push them past Texas A&M, who had led for the vast majority of the race. Tennessee took fourth in 7:02.41.

Freshman Chloe Stepanek dropped a lifetime best 1:43.36 to propel Texas A&M to fifth overall tonight with a 7:02.93.

1-METER DIVING FINALS

  • SEC record – 364.30, Lauren Reedy (Mizzou) 2017
  • 2020 champion – Alison Maillard (Auburn), 364.15
  1. Ashley McCool (Florida) – 334.35
  2. Aimee Wilson (Texas A&M) – 318.85
  3. Brooke Schultz (Arkansas) – 313.25

Florida senior Ashley McCool took the 1-meter tonight with a score of 334.35, improving upon her fourth-place finish last year. Texas A&M junior Aimee Wilson, a transfer from LSU, finished runner-up again this year after doing the same last year. A&M and Arkansas each had two women score in the top eight.

TEAM SCORES

Not including diving, which has not started

  1. Kentucky 118
  2. Alabama 116
  3. Florida 104
  4. Tennessee 102
  5. Texas A&M 98
  6. Missouri 96
  7. LSU 84
  8. Arkansas 80
  9. South Carolina 76
  10. Vanderbilt 64
  11. Georgia 54
  12. Auburn 46

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Taa
2 months ago

Congrats to all the teams and swimmers that put in the hard work this year to get here.

Don'tknowanything
2 months ago

TEAM DEPTH will win the championship so every swimmer AND diver will matter!

Brendan Dassey
2 months ago

Let’s go Bama Women!!!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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