2022 SEC Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2022 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships

The 2022 Swimming & Diving conference season is finally here and competition will get underway tonight in Knoxville at the SEC Championships. Night 1 will start off with the women’s 1-meter diving event at 4:20 PM EST and the first swimming event to take place will be the 200 medley at 5 PM. After that, it will be the men’s 3-meter, and then the session caps off with the 800 freestyle relay.

At this meet last year, Kentucky, the 2021 SEC Champions on the women’s side, got off to an early lead when they won the 800 freestyle and placed third overall in the 200 medley. On the men’s side, Florida will attempt to repeat as champions in the 200 medley, which they won in a 1:23.17 in 2021, while Texas A&M will try to defend their 800 freestyle title.

Follow along below as we get into the first night of racing at the 2022 women’s and men’s SEC Championships.

Women’s 1-Meter Diving

Top 3

  1. Gold: Brooke Shultz (SCAR) – 334.30
  2. Silver: Chiara Pellacani (LSU) – 316.70
  3. Bronze: Kyndal Knight (UK) – 309.25

Brooke Schultz, who won the SEC title for Arkansas in both 2018 and 2019, has claimed the first victory of the meet, scoring 334.30 points in the 1-meter. Shultz, who won this event for Arkansas in both 2018 and 2019 and placed 3rd in 2021, has since transferred to South Carolina and is now training under father Dale Schultz.

Schultz currently holds the SEC record in the 1-meter at a 375.53, which she set in 2019 while still competing for Arkansas. She was a little short of Lauren Reedy‘s meet record of 364.30 from 2017.

LSU freshman and multi-European Championships gold medalist Chiara Pellacani made her SEC Championships debut here with a silver medal performance. Pellacani earned 316.70 points for second place overall, beating Kentucky’s Kyndal Knight by just over 7 points.

Notably, Schultz’s South Carolina teammate Sophie Verzyl was also in the top 8 here, placing 7th overall with 287.70.

Women’s 200 Medley Relay

  • NCAA Record: 1:32.93 – Virginia (2021)
  • SEC Record: 1:34.10 – Tennessee (2019)
  • SEC Championships Record: Tennessee – 1:34.26 (2019)

Top 3

  1. Gold: Alabama – 1:33.94
  2. Silver: Tennessee – 1:34.63
  3. Bronze: Kentucky – 1:35.87

For the second year in a row, the Alabama women have claimed the SEC title in the women’s 200 medley relay, and this year they did it in SEC record speed. Olympic backstroker Rhyan White started things off for the team with a 23.65, just a little bit slower than the 23.35 she opened with last year.

Following White, Alabama freshman Avery Wiseman threw down a 26.35 breaststroke leg to hold onto the lead established by White. Morgan Scott, who also swam on the SEC title-winning swim from last year was on butterfly and posted a 22.37, while Kalia Antoniou closed it out with a 21.57.

Alabama’s swim marks the first sub-1:34 time from a SEC team, improving upon the 1:34.10 record that Tennessee set in 2019. They also broke Tennessee’s 1:34.26 meet record from that same year.

The Tennessee women put up a good fight, placing second overall with a 1:34.63 to slightly trail the former SEC record in the event. Josephine Fuller was out in a 24.32 and the Irish duo of Mona McSharry (26.16) and Ellen Walshe (22.93) followed before AJ Kutsch closed out in a 21.22.

Kentucky repeated as bronze medalists in this event with 1:35.87, which is exactly the same time that they delivered at this meet last year. In both 2021 and 2022, the Kentucky women swam a 1:35.87 for the bronze medal.

After disqualifying from this event at the 2021 Championships, Auburn made a bit of a comeback and placed 4th overall, while Georgia was 5th in a 1:36.41.

Men’s 200 Medley Relay

  • NCAA Record: 1:21.54 – Texas (2017)
  • SEC Record: 1:21.89 – Alabama (2017)
  • SEC Championships Record: 1:22.19 – Alabama (2019)

Top 3

  1. Florida – 1:22.06
  2. Silver: Alabama – 1:22.28
  3. Bronze: Tennessee – 1:23.35

The Florida men had a solid start on the quest towards a 10th straight conference title by repeating as SEC champions in the 200 medley relay. The trio of Adam Chaney, Dillon Hillis, and Eric Friese all returned for Florida, while Alberto Mestre replaced Will Davis as the freestyle anchor.

All three of those returning men improved upon their splits from last year. Chaney opened up with a 20.32 back split, compared to his 20.72 last year, Dillon Hills dropped from a 23.26 to 23.16, and Eric Friese swam a 19.64 this year to beat his 20.54 from last year.

Mestre finished things off in an 18.94 to give the quartet a final time of 1:22.06, lowering the meet record of 1:22.89 that Alabama set in 2017.

Alabama repeated as silver medalists here as Matthew Menke (20.67), Derek Maas (22.63), Tyler Sesvold (20.17), and Jonathan Berneburg (18.81) put together a 1:22.28. That time put them just 0.22 seconds behind Florida and was exactly a second faster than their performance last year for silver.

Tennessee rounded out the podium with a 1:23.35 to jump up 2 spots from their 2021 5th place performance, while last year’s bronze medalists Texas A&M wound up 5th here. In between them, Georgia was 4th in a 1:23.92.

One of the biggest splits of the field came from LSU’s Brooks Curry who anchored his team with an 18.14 freestyle split, marking the 19th-fastest split in history. Curry becomes the 9th-best performer in history in terms of freestyle splits. Notably, 6 out of the 10 fastest performers come from SEC schools.

Curry’s LSU placed 6th in the final with a 1:24.79, followed by Missouri (1:24.95) and South Carolina (1:25.09).

Men’s 3-Meter Diving

  • SEC Record: 495.15 – Zhipeng Zeng (2018)
  • SEC Championships Record: 483.15 – Zhipeng Zeng (2019)

Top 3

  1. Juan Hernandez (LSU) – 459.75
  2. Kurtis Matthews (TAM) – 437.80
  3. Bryden Hattie (TENN) – 414.00

The top 2 finishers from the 2021 SEC Championships in the men’s 3-meter swapped places here in the final as Juan Hernandez delivered a winning performance of 459.75 to Kurtis Matthews‘ 437.80. Both of them scored higher last year when Matthews won with 474.00 and Hernandez took silver with 472.40.

LSU came out strong in the final considering that they had Hernandez finish first and Adrian Garcia finish 8th overall with 360.20, but A&M also had 2 in the final in the form of Matthews and Victor Povzner. Povzner beat out Garcia with a score of 365.00 for 7th place.

Tennessee had two men in the top 8 in the form of bronze medalist Bryden Hattie (414.00) and Matthew Wade who was 5th with 380.30. This is an improvement for Hattie who finished 6th in the 3-meter last year as a freshman and is the second straight 5th place finish for senior Matt Wade.

4th place went to Auburn’s Conner Pruit (411.70), while Kentucky’s Rodrigo Romero wound in 6th place with 375.90.

Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay

  • NCAA Record: 6:45.91 – Stanford (2017)
  • SEC Record: 6:51.80 – Georgia (2016)
  • SEC Championships Record: 6:52.64 – Georgia (2013)

Top 3

  1. Tennessee – 6:56.81
  2. Kentucky – 6:57.60
  3. Georgia – 7:01.34

The University of Tennessee won this event from the second heat, getting under 7 minutes with a 6:56.81. That time is a little slower from the school record in the event, set back in 2018 at a 6:52.12, but is a definite improvement from the 7:02.41 they swam at last year’s SEC Championships for 5th place.

Tennessee was the 5th seed in this event but got off to a strong start with Julia Mrozinski‘s opening split of 1:43.21. That was the second-best opener in the event behind Chloe Stepanek of Texas A&M who swam a 1:42.40.

Notably, that time from Stepanek is just shy of what it took to win the 2021 NCAA title in individual 200 freestyle, which Paige Madden won in a 1:42.35.

Following Mrozinski’s opening split for Tennessee, Ellen Walshe threw down a 1:44.06 and Trude Rothrock was a 1:45.22 before Tjasa Pintar anchored with a 1:44.32. They got to the wall nearly 5 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in the heat, Florida (7:01.77).

In the final heat, Kentucky also managed to dip under 7 minutes and earned a silver medal with their swim of 6:57.60, while Georgia followed in a 7:01.34. Georgia’s Zoie Hartman got them off to an early lead with a 1:44.33, but Kentucky had reinforcements in the form of Riley Gaines (1:41.92), Sophie Sorenson (1:44.41), and Kaitlynn Wheeler (1:45.91).

Florida’s 7:01.77 was good enough for 4th and Alabama followed in 5th place with a 7:03.06.

Men’s 800 Freestyle Relay

  • NCAA Record: 6:05.08 – Texas (2019)
  • SEC Record: 6:09.14 – Florida (2019)
  • SEC Championships Record: 6:09.14 – Florida (2019)

Top 3

  1. Florida – 6:08.00
  2. Georgia – 6:09.32
  3. Kentucky – 6:14.35

Florida got off to an early lead in the men’s 800 freestyle when Kieran Smith threw down his opening split of 1:30.42. That swim for Smith was the fastest in the field and got him within two seconds of both his own SEC and Florida record (1:29.48) as well as Dean Farris‘ NCAA record of 1:29.15.

Smith raced Georgia’s newest addition Matt Sates who delivered a 1:31.82 to trail Smith by just over a second but keep Georgia in the race. Luca Urlando followed Sates with a 1:32.24, while Trey Freeman raced second for Florida in a 1:31.96 to keep the Gators in the lead.

Oskar Lindholm was in the water third for Florida in a 1:32.29, up against Georgia’s Zach Hills who was just a touch slower in a 1:32.93. Heading into the anchor leg Georgia was two seconds behind Florida’s 4:34.67 300 split with a 4:36.99.

That gap was too much for Georgia’s anchor Jake Magahey to close, but he did beat Florida’s last man Alfonso Mestre. Magahey finished with a 1:32.33 to Mestre’s 1:33.33, which gave Georgia a total time of 6:09.32 to Florida’s 6:08.00.

The swim from the Gators is a new school and SEC record, improving upon their own mark of 6:09.14 from 2019. The time was also faster than the 6:08.68 that Cal used to earn silver at the 2021 NCAA Championships and was well under the Gators’ 6:10.91 for 4th at that meet.

The Kentucky men swam their way to bronze in the 800 free relay with a 6:14.35 to just-beat Alabama’s time of 6:14.94.

Men’s Team Scores After Day 1

  1. Texas A&M University – 156
  2. University of Tennessee – 155
  3. University of Kentucky – 153
  4. Louisiana Statue University – 139
  5. University of Alabama – 137
  6. University of Florida – 133
  7. Missouri – 122
  8. University of Georgia – 114
  9. University of South Carolina – 105
  10. Auburn University – 90

Women’s Team Scores After Day 1

  1. Texas A&M – 155
  2. Louisiana State University – 150
  3. University of Kentucky – 148
  4. University of Tennessee – 145
  5. University of South Carolina / University of Georgia – 139
  6. University of Florida – 130
  7. University of Alabama – 114
  8. Auburn University – 107
  9. Missouri – 97
  10. University of Arkansas – 78
  11. Vanderbilt University – 60

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David Granero Sánchez
9 months ago

Please, could you tell me how can I see the results?? The link attached doesn’t work (at least for me). Thank you!

9 months ago

Adam Cheney blew past 15 on the second 25 as usual. Watch the race

Reply to  Mhm
9 months ago

Isn’t the rule have to do with the goggle line not going past 15m? I think Tom Shields has talked about this before. I watched Cheney and it looked like he came up at his head, which would be legal.

9 months ago

Good start for Lady Vols! Fuller, McSharry, and Kutch all faster than December where they had great meets. Walshe right there too.

Monster start for Mrozinski. And big relay victory!

Keep it up girls! GBO!

Mark Nedza
9 months ago

Can’t wait until Matt Sates from Georgia learns how to swim short course. LOL

Reply to  Mark Nedza
9 months ago

He can swim SC(M), has 3 WJR to prove it 🙂 SC(Y) will be a lot of fun for him in the coming years.

Reply to  Deon
9 months ago

Of course he can swim it. I think he’s thinking more about, when Matt does swim Short Course better (turns) that he’s going to be incredible to watch.

9 months ago

Looks like Tennessee women showed up as well as Florida men

9 months ago

I am new to college swimming. Why are there more comments here than in the corresponding ACC post?

super classy swim
Reply to  seton
9 months ago

sec to me is more interesting because i live in the south and i feel like it’s more unpredictable than accs. also for acc i feel like it’s just a three team dual meet between nc state, virginia, and louisville. that’s just my opinion though.

Reply to  seton
9 months ago

The ACC had one relay on day 1, SEC had 2. SEC started first. SEC was generally faster, and is a deeper conference.

ACC gets way more interesting as it moves into individual events IMO, especially on the women’s side.

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  seton
9 months ago

SEC had 2 relays tonight, ACC only 1. Plus the 200 medley relay for the SEC was extremely fast, that gets people talking.

Reply to  seton
9 months ago

Because SEC!

9 months ago

Oskar Lindholm 1:32.2 as a freshman 👀

Reply to  Aquajosh
9 months ago

* as a 20 year old freshman

9 months ago

Uk women placed third in relay! Their touch pad didn’t go off so it was under review and they ended up third.