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


  • 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) (2020 results)
  • Live results
  • Live Video – SEC Network
  • Championship Central
  • Psych Sheets

This morning, Kentucky put together a key prelims session, putting 18 swims into scoring position for tonight, including eight in ‘A’ finals. They put 3 each into the 400 IM and 100 back, too. Meanwhile, Alabama had a great morning, too, and scored prelims would put Florida at a narrow lead (675) over Kentucky (665.5), with Alabama (613) not far back and Georgia, Tennessee and Texas A&M all bunched up in the mid-500s.

Watch out for Alabama’s Rhyan White tonight, as she’ll take on the 100 fly and 100 back, with the 100 back SEC record of 50.02 on high alert. White holds that record from her title-winning swim in the 100 back final last year.


  • SEC meet record – 3:58.35, Elisabeth Beisel (Florida) 2012
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 4:10.39
  • 2020 champion – Tess Cieplucha (Tennessee), 4:01.88

Top 3

  1. Lauren Poole (Kentucky) – 4:03.90
  2. Gillian Davey (Kentucky) – 4:05.96
  3. Alexis Yager (Tennessee) – 4:07.75

Florida junior Vanessa Pearl was out under 56, taking an early lead, but Kentucky’s Lauren Poole charged into first position with a strong backstroke leg, turning at 1:57.50 halfway through. Poole out-split her 2020 SEC back leg by four seconds tonight, with a 1:00 back leg.

Poole was at 3:06.14 at the 300, well into the lead, with her teammate Gillian Davey behind her.

Poole, who placed last in the C-final last year, dropped an additional 2.9 seconds from prelims to win it in 4:03.90. She went 4:06.84 this morning, which was her first time under 4:10, ever. Davey touched second in 4:05.96, a best by over two seconds, as Kentucky also picked up fourth with senior Bailey Bonnett (4:07.83).

Tennessee’s Alexis Yager was third in 4:07.75, right on her prelims time, while Peyton Palsha of Arkansas (4:08.42) and Auburn freshman Hannah Ownbey (4:08.81) touched fifth and sixth. Ownbey edged out her own best from this morning by almost a second. Pearl, who was runner-up in 2019 and 2020, sank to eighth (4:11.81) and gained over three seconds from prelims.

In the B-final, Texas A&M’s Jing Quah opened up a huge lead after the fly and back, then came back to the field in the breast. She was passed under the flags by her teammate, Camryn Toney, 4:08.75 to 4:08.80. Kentucky’s Anna Havens Rice, a freshman, broke 4:10 for the first time with a 4:09.53; she was 4:15.34 coming into this meet.

Kentucky junior Jodi Ogle moved up from her seed, winning the C-final in 4:11.35 to drop over three seconds from her best from prelims. She was 4:19.79 coming into this meet.


  • SEC meet record – 49.38, Erika Brown (Tennessee) 2020
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 52.34
  • 2020 champion – Erika Brown (Tennessee), 49.38

Top 3

  1. Rhyan White (Alabama) – 50.94
  2. Taylor Pike (Texas A&M) – 51.71
  3. Izzy Gati (Kentucky) – 51.74

Rhyan White of Alabama was the class of the field, clocking a 50.94 for the victory. She finished well ahead of the field, with Texas A&M senior Taylor Pike cracking 52 seconds for the first time ever, going 51.71 to pick up the silver.

Kentucky junior Izzy Gati and Tennessee junior Trude Rothrock were both under 52, as Gati was 51.74 for third and Rothrock 51.88 for fourth. Jewels Harris, an Auburn senior, was 52.23 for fifth, the highest finish so far for the Tigers.

In the B-final, Caitlin Brooks of Kentucky dropped a 52.57 for the win, taking her old best down from a 52.70.

Alabama’s Flora Molnar clocked a 53.23 to win the C-final.

Kentucky moved into the team lead with this event in the books.


  • SEC meet record – 1:41.83, Shannon Vreeland (Georgia) 2014
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 1:45.23
  • 2020 champion – Veronica Burchill (Georgia), 1:42.33

Top 3

  1. Riley Gaines (Kentucky) – 1:42.70
  2. Courtney Harnish (Georgia)/Chloe Stepanek (Texas A&M) – 1:43.58 *TIE*

Riley Gaines was 49.87 to the feet going out on the first 100, accelerating into the final turn and blasting a 1:42.70 to drop a second from her old best. Her 1:43.68 old best was also the old Kentucky school record.

Meanwhile, locked in battle for second, 500 free champion Courtney Harnish of Georgia and Texas A&M freshman Chloe Stepanek cranked out matching 1:43.58’s to tie for silver. Florida sophomore Talia Bates nabbed fourth-place for Florida, going 1:44.05.

Down in seventh, Maxine Parker, who broke 1:46 for the first time this morning, improved to a new best of 1:44.71.

In the B-final, Kentucky sophomore Kaitlynn Wheeler brought it home very strong, clocking a 1:45.19 to drop almost a full second from her old PR, which was a 1:46.12 from prelims. Georgia sophomore Jillian Barczyk turned in a 1:46.10 for the C-final win and a new best.

Florida moved back into the lead here thanks to Bates in the A-final and four women into the B-final, holding a 7.5-point margin over Kentucky.


  • SEC meet record – 57.28, Breeja Larson (Texas A&M) 2014
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 59.98
  • 2020 champion – Zoie Hartman (Georgia), 58.21

Top 3

  1. Zoie Hartman (Georgia) – 57.40
  2. Mona McSharry (Tennessee) – 57.82
  3. Diana Petkova (Alabama) – 59.16

In a tight finish, Zoie Hartman unloaded a 57.40, scaring Breeja Larson’s SEC meet record for the #1 time in the nation and dropping about eight-tenths from her old best.

Tennessee freshman Mona McSharry turned in a lifetime best of 57.82 for the silver, and she went right by Olympian Molly Hannis’s school record of 58.22. In third, another freshman, Alabama’s Diana Petkova, went another best by .5 for a 59.16. Yet another freshman, Cecilia Porter of Florida, was 59.44 to claim fourth.

Alaya Smith of Texas A&M, a freshman, dropped a lifetime best 59.76 to win the B-final. LSU sophomore Emilie Boll was also under a minute (59.97) as both broke a minute for the first time.

In the C-final, Mizzou’s Molly Winer clocked a 1:00.86 to take the win.

Florida opened up a slightly bigger lead than they had prior, up 22.5 points now on Kentucky.


  • SEC meet record – 50.02, Rhyan White (Alabama) 2020
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 52.73
  • 2020 champion – Rhyan White (Alabama), 50.02

Top 3

  1. Rhyan White (Alabama) – 50.36
  2. Sarah Thompson (Mizzou) – 51.27
  3. Caitlin Brooks (Kentucky) – 51.63

Rhyan White picked up her second swim of the night for the Crimson Tide, this time winning by almost a full second to post a 50.36, just .16 slower than her prelims swim.

Sarah Thompson picked up the silver, going 51.27 and just missing a best, while Kentucky had another massive effort. Caitlin Brooks and Sophie Sorenson went 3-4, with Brooks at 51.63 and Sorenson at 52.02, while junior Parker Herren went another best time, getting under 53 this time with a 52.92 to tie Georgia’s Gabi Fa’Amausili for sixth.

Mizzou also swam a great final, with sophomore Meredith Rees going 52.22 for fifth.

Morgan Liberto of Alabama dropped a 52.96 to nab the B-final victory. In the C-final, Portia Brown of Georgia posted a 53.03 for the win.

Kentucky moves back into the lead, this time building a 50-point lead over Florida. Meanwhile, Georgia and Alabama are tied for third, just 24 points behind the Gators.


  • SEC meet record –3:28.43, Tennessee 2019
  • NCAA auto qualifying standard – 3:31.66
  • 2020 champion – Tennessee, 3:28.83

Top 3

  1. Georgia – 3:29.41
  2. Tennessee – 3:30.18
  3. Kentucky – 3:30.44

After winning the 100 fly and 100 back already tonight, Rhyan White took another crack at the 50-second barrier, again falling just short at 50.33. But Georgia and Tennessee caught up big-time on the breaststroke leg, as Zoie Hartman split a 57.74 and Mona McSharry a 57.60.

For Georgia, mid-distance star Courtney Harnish showed her versatility with a key 51.23 fly leg, pulling Georgia into a lead for freshman Maxine Parker to take home in 47.55. Tennessee, too, passed Alabama with a 51.70 from Trude Rothrock on the fly leg and a 47.60 anchor from Tjasa Pintar.

Caitlin Brooks was 51.51 leading off for Kentucky in heat two of three, putting them into a big lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Kentucky clocked a 3:30.44, a time that would beat two teams in the last heat and nab third overall, getting a 47.30 anchor from Riley Gaines, the fastest free split in the field.

Diana Petkova was 1:00.05, off of her 59.16 individual 100 breast which took third tonight, and Alabama had Gracie Felner, another freshman, on the fly leg (52.55). Cora Dupre was 47.88 coming home as Alabama was 3:30.81.

Florida has the lead when factoring in the 3-meter diving finals, hanging on 8 points despite Kentucky’s onslaught tonight. It looks like a battle between the Gators and Wildcats tomorrow, while the next batch of teams are extremely close. Alabama is in third at 684, just ahead of Georgia, and then 30-40 points down are Texas A&M and Tennessee. A&M won four-straight until 2020, when Tennessee won its first-ever title, but both teams will need to do everything they can to challenge Alabama and Georgia tomorrow night.


Through 400 medley relay

  1. Florida 779
  2. Kentucky 771
  3. Alabama 684
  4. Georgia 670
  5. Texas A&M 634
  6. Tennessee 633
  7. Arkansas 492
  8. Missouri 432.5
  9. Auburn 384
  10. LSU 315.5
  11. South Carolina 201
  12. Vanderbilt 124

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3 years ago

UK will win by 13 points

Former Auburn fan
3 years ago

Wow look at Auburn making a come back to 9th place!!! Gary for coach of the year

3 years ago

Does that scoring include diving?

3 years ago

I think the LADY VOLS can hold off Arkansas for 6th

3 years ago

All in favor of firing Gary Taylor say I 🙋‍♂️

Swim Coach
Reply to  Guy
3 years ago

You clearly don’t know how hard it is to coach at the SEC/D1 level. Give a young coach some time. Gary is good, he will learn, he will win. Let’s not make swimming like the toxic football environment where a bad season leads to firing the current coach and hiring a worse coach. Winning takes time. Building a program takes lots of ups and downs. #cancelculture

Reply to  Swim Coach
3 years ago

Thank you. It’s bad enough that we are fighting to keep swimming in college athletics. We don’t need to be fighting against each other. Between the buyouts/ hires for the Auburn football staff, we don’t need to give the Auburn AD any easy funding ideas!

Former Auburn fan
Reply to  Swim Coach
3 years ago

Gary has had plenty of time and has just destroyed the program. A team like auburn should never be close to the bottom of the conference

Jake from State Farm
Reply to  Swim Coach
3 years ago

You are correct Swim Coach, Gary is good. He’s not exceptional, he’s not great, he’s good. He’s full of knowledge, but he is a supreme communicator that knows how to “connect” with athletes and get them to believe in themselves and go to that next level, like the guy in Raleigh or the guy in Lexington— that’s the elephant in the room question with Coach Taylor.
He has a very talented class arriving this fall, all may be fine but the jury is still out if he can be an elite coach that can build a cohesive, quality culture where average swimmers become good and good swimmers become great. Lastly, a young Coach is in his/her early 30’s, Gary’s… Read more »

3 years ago


Brendan Dassey
3 years ago

BAMA. BACKSTROKE. Alabama is the most dominant backstroke school in the last 4 years in the SEC. Don’t @ me.

3 years ago

Mooooooona! New Tenn record and a great race! Congrats to Zoie!

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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