2022 SEC Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap

by Michael Hamann 70

February 16th, 2022 College, News, Previews & Recaps, SEC


Day 2 of the SEC Championships kick off this morning in Knoxville, with the 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free on the event lineup for the morning. Prelims are schedule to start at 9:30 EST.

The women’s 500 will kick off with Alabama senior Kensey McMahon as the top seed with her midseason time of 4:38.76, while Tennessee’s Julia Mrozinski, Georgia’s Abby McCulloh and Florida’s Tylor Mathieu all seeded under 4:40. The Florida Gator men headline the men’s 500, with Tokyo 400 free bronze medalist Kieran Smith holding the top seed and teammates Alfosno Mestre and Trey Freeman sitting 2nd and 3rd. Defending NCAA 500 free champion Jake Magahey of Georgia comes in with the fourth seed.

The Tennessee women come in with four of the top 8 seeds in the 200 IM, with freshman superstar Ellen Walshe leading the way with a 1:54.77 seed. In the men’s IM, Missouri senior Danny Kovac comes in as the top swimmer with a 1:42.39.

In the 50, the Alabama women come in with the top two seeds in junior Kalia Antoniou and senior Morgan Scott, while Missouri also has two of the top five seeds with seniors Sarah Thompson and Megan Keil. The Tennessee Lady Vols also look strong, with three of the top 8 seeds. LSU Olympian Brooks Curry comes in with the top seed in the men’s 50, just ahead of Florida sophomore Adam Chaney.

Women’s 500 free

  • NCAA A Standard: 4:35.76
  • NCAA B Standard: 4:47.20

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Julia Mrozinski (TENN): 4:39.18
  2. Kristen Stege (TENN): 4:39.79
  3. Kensey McMahon (BAMA): 4:40.22
  4. Tylor Mathieu (FLOR): 4:40.95
  5. Abby McCulloh (UGA): 4:41.22
  6. Aly Breslin (TENN): 4:42.02
  7. Elise Bauer (FLOR): 4:42.22
  8. Dune Coetzee (UGA): 4:42.80

The Tennessee Lady Vols came out firing on all cylinders in the first individual swimming event of the meet, putting three swimmers in the A final, including a 1-2 finish from freshman Julia Mrozinski and junior Kristen Stege. Mrozinski was just off of her lifetime and season best, while Stege, who finished 2nd in this event a year ago in 4:38.38, dropped 8 tenths from her midseason time. Sophomore Aly Breslin also dropped 8 tenths from her season best to qualify 6th in 4:42.02. Notably, Stege and Breslin were the only two swimmers to qualify for the A final who posted season bests in the prelims.

Top seed Kensey McMahon of Alabama cruised to victory in the final heat, touching in 4:40.22 to take the third seed.

Florida’s Tylor Mathieu, who flanked McMahon in the final heat, qualified in 4th. The Gators also qualified sophomore Elise Bauer to the A final, with her 4:42.02.

The Georgia Bulldogs qualified two swimmers into the A final, with freshmen classmates Abby McCulloh and Dune Coetzee both qualifying. McCulloh, who came in as the third seed, won her heat with a 4:41.22 to qualify 5th, while Coetzee qualified 8th in 4:42.80.

From the team race perspective, the big story here is the Lady Vols putting up an impressive showing in the first individual event after a strong start last night. Julia Mrozinski and Kristen Stege took care of business in the morning, but sophomore Aly Breslin dropped nearly a full second from her season best to move up from the 9th seed to qualify 6th. Freshman Kate McCarville also moved up from the 21st seed to the 14th to earn a spot in the B final.

Alabama, the other women’s team expected to contend for the team title, held serve with their two swimmers seeded to score, putting one in the A and one in the B final.

Men’s 500 free

  • NCAA A Standard: 4:11.62
  • NCAA B Standard: 4:23.24

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Alfonso Mestre (FLOR): 4:13.56
  2. Trey Freeman (FLOR): 4:13.63
  3. Matt Sates (UGA): 4:13.65
  4. Michael Bonson (AUB): 4:13.89
  5. Kieran Smith (FLOR): 4:14.51
  6. Tyler Watson (FLOR): 4:14.96
  7. Jake Magahey (UGA): 4:15.16
  8. Oskar Lindholm (FLOR): 4:15.93

As expected, Florida lead the way into the A final this evening. The Gators came into the meet with the top 3 seeds, and now enter the finals with the top two seeds and five swimmers in the A final.

Leading the field was junior Alfonso Mestre, who won his circle-seeded heat in 4:13.56, two second off of his season best. His junior classmate Trey Freeman took the second seed in 4:13.63 after winning his heat as well. Tokyo 2020 400 free bronze medalist Kieran Smith won the final heat in 4:14.51 to qualify fifth, while Gator junior Tyler Watson qualified 6th with a massive 6 second drop and freshman Oskar Lindholm qualified 8th to round out the Florida A finalists.

Florida’s dominance in this event becomes even more notable considering that Tokyo Olympic 800 and 1500 gold medalist Bobby Finke scratched the meet earlier this week due to health and safety protocols.

Georgia freshman Matt Sates dominated the second heat with a 4:13.65, a 17 second drop from his first-ever 500 free a few weeks ago, where he notably miscounted and stopped early. Sates is the current World Junior Record holder in the SCM 200 free, 400 free and 200 IM.

Joining Sates in the final is his sophomore teammate and defending NCAA Champion Jake Magehey. Magahey posted a season best of 4:15.16, but was nearly 9 seconds off of his lifetime best from last year’s NCAAs.

Given Smith and Magahey’s prelim swims, the two favorites will swim side-by-side tonight in lanes 2 and 1, respectively.

Auburn sophomore Michael Bonson had a breakout swim in heat 5, posting a 4:13.89 to qualify fourth. That swim is a new lifetime best by over four seconds for the sophomore, with his previous lifetime best of 4:18.27 coming at this meet last year. The swim also likely solidifies an NCAA invite for Bonson.

Women’s 200 IM

  • NCAA A Standard: 1:53.66
  • NCAA B Standard: 1:59.94

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Ellen Walshe (TENN): 1:55.02
  2. Zoie Hartman (UGA): 1:55.22
  3. Diana Petkova (BAMA): 1:56.15
  4. Sara Stotler (TENN): 1:56.36
  5. Cat Wright (BAMA): 1:56.54
  6. Alexis Yager (TENN): 1:57.08
  7. Sophie Sorenson (UKY): 1:57.15
  8. Gillian Davey (UKY): 1:57.19

Tennessee grabs their second top seed of the morning, courtesy of freshman Ellen Walshe winning the final heat in 1:55.02. That swim comes in a quarter of a second off of her season best of 1:54.77, which currently sits 5th in the nation. Two of her teammates will join her in the A final tonight, with freshman Sara Stotler posting a new lifetime best of 1:56.36 to qualify 4th and senior Alexis Yager qualifying 6th in 1:57.08.

Georgia’s Zoie Hartman took care of business in the second-to-last heat, cruising to the win and qualifying second for the final tonight. Her swim of 1:55.22 in just .02 off of her season, which currently ranks 6th in the NCAA this year.

Alabama recorded a pair of A finalists with massive move-ups from seed, with sophomore Diana Petkova dropping over two seconds from her seed to qualify third after coming in with the 16th seed overall. Her senior teammate Cat Wright also dropped over two seconds from her seed, qualifying 5th in 1:56.54. Wright was seeded 16th, just behind Petkova, coming into the morning.

The defending champion Kentucky Wildcats will also have a pair of A finalists tonight after senior Sophie Sorenson and junior Gillian Davey qualified 7th and 8th, respectively. Both swims were season bests for Sorenson and Davey.

Men’s 200 IM

  • NCAA A Standard: 1:41.34
  • NCAA B Standard: 1:46.77

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Luca Urlanda (UGA): 1:42.75
  2. Mason Wilby (UKY): 1:43.05
  3. Anze Erzen (TAMU): 1:43.29
  4. Danny Kovac (MIZZ):1:43.38
  5. Kaloyan Bratanov (TAMU): 1:43.47
  6. Zach Hils (UGA): 1:43.50
  7. Derek Maas (BAMA): 1:43.54
  8. Matthew Menke (BAMA): 1:43.82

Georgia sophomore superstar Luca Urlando opted to swim the 200 IM at these championships, and so far the decision seems to be paying off as he qualified with the top seed. Urlando won heat 4 out of lane 6 in 1:42.75, with a time that is currently 9th in the nation this year. His senior teammate Zach Hils will join him in the A final after qualifying 6th in 1:43.50.

Kentucky senior Mason Wilby won the final circle seeded heat in 1:43.05, a 1.6 second drop from his seed, to take lane 5 for tonight’s final.

Texas A&M will be represented by a pair of swimmers in tonight’s A final, with junior Anze Erzen qualifying third in 1:43.29 and senior Kaloyan Bratanov qualifying 5th in 1:43.47. Erzen’s swim was over a full second drop from his seed, while Bratanov clocked in just .01 off of his season best.

Alabama will also have two swimmers in the A final, with junior duo Derek Mass and Matthew Menke qualifying 7th and 8th, respectively. Mass, who blasted a massive 50 breast split last night, touched in 1:43.54, while Menke qualified 8th with a 1:43.82, a season best by 6 tenths.

Top seed Danny Kovac of Missouri was a full second off of his seed time, qualifying fourth in 1:43.38.

After dominating the 500 free, the Florida men will have two swimmers in the B final and three swimmers in the C final of the 200 IM.

Women’s 50 free

  • NCAA A Standard: 21.66
  • NCAA B Standard: 22.76

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Morgan Scott (BAMA): 21.78
  2. AJ Kutsch (TENN): 21.88
  3. Sarah Thommpson (MIZZ): 21.92
  4. Megan Keil (MIZZ): 21.97
  5. Emily Barclay (ARK): 22.02
  6. Jasmine Rumley (TENN): 22.07
  7. Cora Dupre (BAMA): 22.11
  8. Maxine Parker (UGA): 22.14

Alabama senior Morgan Scott dropped .02 from her season best to take the top seed heading into the final winning heat 4 in 21.78. Her junior teammate Cora Dupre will be joining her in the A final after qualifying 7th in 22.11, a huge drop from her seed after a disappointing 50 midseason.

Despite the success, it wasn’t all good news for the Crimson Tide, however, as top seed Kalia Antoniou added .36 from her seed and will miss the A final after qualifying ninth.

Tennessee will have two swimmers in the A final as well, with junior AJ Kutsch qualifying second in 21.88, a .01 drop from her seed. Her sophomore teammate Jasmine Rumley, who was a top sprint recruit out of high school but had a quiet freshman year in Knoxville, has rounded into form and qualified 6th in 22.07.

Missouri will also have a pair of swimmers in tonight’s A final, as senior classmates Sarah Thompson and Megan Keil qualified 3rd and 4th respectively. Thompson, who was third at last year’s NCAAs, was a tenth off of her seed, while Keil was .03 off of her seed.

Arkansas qualified their first A finalist of the day, with senior Emily Barclay dropping .41 from her seed to qualify fifth in 22.02. Georgia sophomore Maxine Parker rounds out the A final after qualifying 8th in 22.14.

Men’s 50 free

  • NCAA A Standard: 18.96
  • NCAA B Standard: 19.96

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Jordan Crooks (TENN): 18.84
  2. Brooks Curry (LSU): 18.93
  3. Adam Chaney (FLOR): 19.11
  4. Dillon Downing (UGA): 19.14
  5. Macguire McDuff (FLOR): 19.31
  6. Logan Tirheimer (AUB): 19.37
  7. Matthew Yish (AUB): 19.38
  8. Alberto Mestre (FLOR): 19.43

In a bit of a surprise, Tennessee freshman Jordan Crooks will enter tonight’s A final as the top seed after winning his heat in 18.84. That swim is Crooks’ first time under 19 seconds and breaks the University of Tennessee program record, previously held by Kyle DeCoursey. Crooks now also officially punches his ticket to the NCAA Championships, surpassing the NCAA A standard of 18.96.

Qualifying just behind him was LSU Olympian Brooks Curry, who also cleared the A standard with an 18.93. That swim is a new LSU program record, breaking Curry’s old mark of 18.97.

Florida will have a trio of swimmers in the A final tonight, with sophomore Adam Chaney qualifying 3rd in 19.11, freshman Macguire McDuff qualifying 5th in 19.31 and senior Alberto Mestre, who was a graduate transfer from Stanford, qualifying 8th in 19.43.

The Auburn men continue to impress this morning, putting two swimmers in the A final. Sophomore Logan Tirheimer dropped four tenths from his seed to qualify 6th in 19.37, while senior Matthew Yish dropped nearly 6 tenths from his seed to qualify 7th in 19.38.

Georgia junior Dillon Downing will be Georgia’s lone representative in the A final this evening after qualifying 4th in 19.14.

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11 months ago

Where does that swim put Crooks all time in terms of Freshmen

Reply to  SEC
11 months ago

Well, as noted in recap “That swim is Crooks’ first time under 19 seconds and breaks the University of Tennessee program record, previously held by Kyle DeCoursey”, soooooo….!

Last edited 11 months ago by Swammom
Reply to  Swammom
11 months ago

I mean in history for freshmen. Not just Tennessee

Reply to  SEC
11 months ago


Reply to  TeamDressel
11 months ago

Tied with Feigen.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Swammom
11 months ago

Man, Swammom takes it on the chin.

11 months ago

200 free relay should be fun battle for second. Bama looking strong for another title. Tennessee goes Mona, Jasmine, AJ, and…? Brooklyn’s 22.7 likely not enough.

Have used 19 athletes. 3 spots left. Summer Smith is a projected A finalist. Caldow as well. Leaves Harper, Sichterman, and Sykes for potentially one spot. All projected B finalists with NCAA B cuts. Do you use last spot on Carlton for this relay? She was 22.0 in December on the A relay. Walshe and Stotler as options if not.

Anyone know if Tennessee is hosting a last chance meet for the girls who didn’t get to race this weekend?

Reply to  VFL
11 months ago

I can answer my own question for those curious. They are hosting a meet next weekend lol.

Reply to  VFL
11 months ago

My guess is Sara Stotler 22.6 at mid season

Jay Ryan
11 months ago

Two “A. Mestre” in two finals for UF. Name Confusion Alert.

1650 Onetrick
Reply to  Jay Ryan
11 months ago

That actually got me lol. When I first saw the results I also thought “wasn’t Mestre just in the 500?”

tea rex
11 months ago

Looking only at this morning’s 200 IM, I declare Luca Urlando a better breaststroker than Derek Maas.

 1 Urlando, Luca R SO Georgia-GA    1:45.12  1:42.75 qB   
  r:+0.67 21.81    47.50 (25.69)
    1:16.93 (29.43)   1:42.75 (25.82)
 7 Maas, Derek E  JR Alabama-SE    1:43.12  1:43.54 qB   
  r:+0.70 22.10    48.14 (26.04)
    1:18.02 (29.88)   1:43.54 (25.52)

Reply to  tea rex
11 months ago

… and by that logic Maas is the better freestyler

Reply to  tea rex
11 months ago


1650 Onetrick
Reply to  tea rex
11 months ago

IM breaststroke is a whole ‘nother stroke. It’s not the same as regular breaststroke

Inside Smoke
Reply to  1650 Onetrick
11 months ago

I can’t even do regular breaststroke, IM breaststroke is like breaststroke with a brick glued to every limb.

Reply to  1650 Onetrick
11 months ago

Chase Kalisz agrees

11 months ago

Girls battle:
Tenn 8 up 4 mid 1down (13)
Bama 5 up 3 mid 1 down (9)
UGA 4 up 6 mid 1 down (11)
KY 2 up 3 mid 1 down (6)

Reply to  VFL
11 months ago

Girls? Where? This is a college meet. They’re called women.

Reply to  VFL
11 months ago

UT looking like the team to beat

Reply to  Swimm
11 months ago

UGA looking solid as well. KY swimming well but laying a goose egg in the 50 hurts. Bama’s studs looking like studs.

Reply to  VFL
11 months ago

Bama’s issue is the bottom part of the roster can’t get a 2nd swim. Too many misses

11 months ago

Crooks vs Brooks baby!

11 months ago

My hot takes:
UGA on
BAMA underwhelming
AUB all in on mid season and it shows
Brooks (LSU) on
MIZZ underwhelming so far
UK just meh
SCAR better than usual?
VANDY= Vandy

Reply to  AMan
11 months ago

Is this only for women? Because the Auburn men were really surprising this morning

Reply to  AMan
11 months ago

Auburn men are looking pretty decent, women underwhelming. UGA looks off to me.

Reply to  wow
11 months ago

Who on UGA is off, in your opinion?

Reply to  CanSwim13
11 months ago

In my opinion, most of the women all look off. Tonight will tell though, so I’ll withhold my judgement until tonight.

Reply to  AMan
11 months ago

Florida Women NOT on…. Just Men

11 months ago