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

by Ben Dornan 24

February 20th, 2021 College, News, SEC

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

The final day of the 2021 SEC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships will feature a down-to-the-wire team battle. While the Georgia Bulldogs seem to have disqualified their way out of contention, and Alabama doesn’t have enough depth to keep up in spite of some big swims, Kentucky and Florida enter the day separated by only 8 points.

TEAM SCORES

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

Women’s 200 Back – Prelims

  • SEC Meet Record – 1:48.15, Rhyan White (2020)
  • 2020 NCAA Invite Time – 1:53.99
  • 2020 Champion – Rhyan White (Alabama) – 1:48.15

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Rhyan White (Alabama) 1:49.83
  2. Sophie Sorenson (Kentucky) 1:52.01
  3. Caitlin Brooks (Kentucky) 1:53.04
  4. Meredith Rees (Mizzou) 1:53.45
  5. Morgan Liberto (Alabama) 1:53.76
  6. Kaitlin Harty (Tennessee) 1:53.96
  7. Parker Herren (Kentucky) 1:54.28
  8. Kara Eisenmann (Texas A&M) 1:54.30

Alabama junior Rhyan White, already with a 100 back title to her name this week, looks firmly in control of the women’s 200 backstroke thanks to a prelims 1:49.83.

That time puts her 2+ seconds clear of Kentucky’s Sophie Sorenseon, the #2 qualifier into finals, even though it’s half-a-second short of White’s season best 1:49.30.

While Kentucky’s backstroke group would have to do something special to win this race, what they achieved in prelims might just be enough to push them ahead for good in the team battle. With Sorenson as the 2nd qualifier (1:52.01), Caitlin Brooks as the 3rd qualifier (1:53.04), and breakout junior Parker Herren as the 7th qualifier (1:54.28), Kentucky has 3 swimmers in the A final. Jodi Ogle qualified 10th for the B-final in 1:55.26, and freshman Torie Buerger qualified 16th, also sneaking into the B-final by a tenth of a second.

Their main competition from the University of Florida, meanwhile, have just two C-finalists for second swims on Saturday in this 200 back.

While the Gators have some opportunities to claw back points later in the session, Kentucky has a strong day 4 roster overall. If the Gators are going to have a chance, they’re going to have to get really hot for the rest of the session.

WOMEN’S 100 FREE – PRELIMS

  • SEC Meet Record – 45.84, Erika Brown (2020)
  • 2020 NCAA Invite Time – 48.51
  • 2020 Champion – Erika Brown (Tennessee), 45.83

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Tjasa Pintar (Tennessee) / Kalia Antoniou (Alabama) 47.82
  2. Morgan Scott (Alabama) 47.85
  3. Maxine Parker (Georgia) 48.13
  4. Cora Dupre (Alabama) 48.18
  5. Sarah Thompson (Mizzou) 48.33
  6. Taila Bates (Florida) 48.47
  7. Riley Gaines (Kentucky) 48.50

There was a tie for the top qualifying spot in the women’s 100 free prelims between Tennessee’s Tjasa Pintar and Alabama’s Kalia Antoniou, both touching in 47.82, with Alabama’s Morgan Scott not far behind in 47.85.

Those swims put both Antoniou and Scott under the Alabama school record in the event, which previously stood at a 47.98 done by Flora Molnar in 2019.

After Georgia freshman Maxine Parker, who swam 48.13 to qualify 4th, Alabama sophomore Cora Dupre qualified 5th in 48.13. That makes Dupre, who like Scott followed Coley Stickels from Indiana to Alabama, now the 4th-best swimmer in Alabama program history (including Antoniou and Scott’s new entries).

Alabama has about 100 points to make up heading into the final day of the meet, and in spite of some early successes (they also put two swimmers in the A final of the 200 back), they don’t appear to have the depth in the 200 fly, 200 breast, or mile (behind top seed Kensey McMahon) to close that gap.

None-the-less, leaving the meet with at least 2 relay wins, and likely a 3rd in Saturday’s 400 free relay, will be a big success for a team that has seen a tumultuous year, including the departure of their head coach mid-season.

Florida and Kentucky each got a swimmer into the A final, with Talia Bates qualifying 7th in 48.47 and Riley Gaines qualifying 8th in 48.50. Both swimmers have a big chance to move up in finals as they’ve both been  faster already this season and have shown that they’re locked-in this meet: including an SEC title in the 200 free for Gaines on Friday.

Gaines has the 200 fly yet to swim, in an unusual double, so conserving some energy and still making the “A” final in the 100 free is more good news for the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Auburn women’s sprint group, which was so good last year, continues to struggle at this meet. Last year they put 5 swimmers into the “A” final, while this year they won’t have any scorers after Claudia Thamm was their top finisher in 26th place.

Women’s 200 Breast – Prelims

  • SEC Meet Record – 2:04.62, Sydney Pickrem (2018)
  • 2020 NCAA Invite Time – 2:10.12
  • 2020 Champion – Zoie Hartman (Georgia), 2:06.20

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Danielle Dellatorre (Georgia) 2:06.89
  2. Zoie Hartman (Georgia) 2:07.64
  3. Gillian Davey (Kentucky) 2:07.93
  4. Mona McSharry (Tennessee) 2:08.09
  5. Vanessa Pearl (Florida) 2:08.61
  6. Lauren Poole (Kentucky) 2:08.73
  7. Alexis Yager (Tennessee) 2:08.81
  8. Bailey Bonnet (Kentucky) 2:09.27

Georgia’s Danielle Dellatorre got it done in this morning’s 200 breaststroke prelims, notching the only sub-2:07 time in the field with a 2:06.89. Right behind Dellatorre in the prelims this morning was a fellow bulldog and the 2020 SEC Champion Zoie Hartman with a 2:07.64.

Georgia wrapped day 3 of the championships in 4th place behind Florida, Kentucky, and Alabama so getting 1st and 2nd in the 200 breast final tonight would be an important move for them.

Perhaps even more notably, however, Kentucky managed to get 3 swimmers into the A final with Gillian Davey hitting the third seed with a 2:07.93 Lauren Poole in sixth with a 2:08.73, and Bailey Bonnet finishing 8th with a 2:09.27. That gives Kentucky an important edge over Alabama who won’t have anyone in either the A or the B final as Jocelyn Fisher was their highest finisher with a 2:12.26 for 19th.

Filling out the rest of the final here is going to be Mona McSharry for Tennessee with a 2:08.09 for fourth, Florida’s Vanessa Pearl right behind in fifth with a 2:08.61, and another Tennessee swimmer, Alexis Yager with a 2:08.81 for seventh. It will surely be a tight race tonight as only 1.17 seconds separate 2nd from 7th place.

Women’s 200 Fly – Prelims

  • SEC Meet Record – 1:52.19, Cammile Adams (2014)
  • 2020 NCAA Invite Time – 1:56.06
  • 2020 Champion – Dakota Luther (Georgia), 1:52.47

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Dakota Luther (Georgia) 1:53.25
  2. Izzy Gati (Kentucky) 1:53.72
  3. Courtney Harnish (Georgia) 1:54.71
  4. Amanda Ray (Florida) 1:55.05
  5. Riley Gaines (Kentucky) 1:55.20
  6. Taylor Pike (Texas A&M) 1:55.39
  7. Jing Quah (Texas A&M) 1:56.23
  8. Callie Dickinson (Georgia) 1:56.39

After a 1-2 finish in the 200 breaststroke prelims, Georgia got another top seed this morning as Dakota Luther swam to a 1:53.25 in the 200 butterfly. That’s within a second of her winning time from last year’s SEC Championships of 1:52.47. Luther’s teammate Courtney Harnish got in behind her with a 1:54.71 for third seed. Georgia qualified a third swimmer in the A final as Callie Dickinson sneaked in with a 1:56.39 for the eighth seed.

In between Luther and Harnish, Izzy Gati secured an important second seed for Kentucky in the 200 fly with a 1:53.73. Riley Gaines makes it two for Kentucky in the A final as she hit a 1:55.20 for second seed. Once again, Alabama wasn’t able to get anyone into the A-final here which will further threaten their chances at a comeback tonight. Alabama’s highest qualifier was Gracie Felner who will swim in the B-final as 14th seed (1:58.36).

Florida will try tonight to maintain their lead over the rest of the teams and Amanda Ray could be a big part of that should she rise from her fourth seed in the 200 fly and nab a medal in the event. The Florida freshman was a 1:55.05 which puts her a bit behind but certainly within striking distance of the top 3.

Filling out the top 8 going into tonight’s A-final will be Texas A&M teammates Taylor Pike and Jing Quah who swam 1:55.39 for fifth seed and 1:56.39 for sixth, respectively.

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PVSFree
11 days ago

Kentucky is starting to look like the favorite, wow

Bull
Reply to  PVSFree
11 days ago

This is over! Go Cats

War Damn
11 days ago

Last year Auburn had 5 athletes in the 100Fr final, this year 0.

swimdaag
Reply to  War Damn
11 days ago

so many seniors lost

War damn
Reply to  swimdaag
11 days ago

More than half the SEC team is freshmen because of so many upperclassmen quitting the team, too.

Wareagle100
Reply to  War Damn
11 days ago

They had 2 girls swim PB which is a success that should be celebrated!! This year hasn’t been an easy one for anyone.

War damn
Reply to  Wareagle100
11 days ago

Wow, 2 pbs and only 6 swims tonight compared to the rest of the field. I wouldn’t want to experience the wrath of Gary and his Top 10 NCAA expectations

SwimFani
11 days ago

Coach Jorgenson is an amazing person and coach. Vastly underrated in the coaching world. He is obviously a masterful coach of technique and energy systems. WOW! He takes mostly unappreciated swimmers and turns the TEAM into Champions in and out of the pool!!!

DLSwim
Reply to  SwimFani
11 days ago

He is a great guy and a great coach.