2022 SEC Championships: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap

by Michael Hamann 33

February 17th, 2022 College, Previews & Recaps, SEC

2022 SEC SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The third day of competition at the SEC Championships kicks off at 9:30 AM EST today in Knoxville. On the event schedule for the morning is the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free and the women’s 3 meter diving.

The big story of the morning is Florida’s Kieran Smith, the defending NCAA Champion and top seed in the 200 free, deciding to scratch the 200 free in favor of the 400 IM, where he is the 9th seed.

Tennessee’s Alexis Yager comes in as the top seed in the 400 IM, courtesy of her 4:05.50 from midseason, though a pair of Kentucky Wildcats in Gillian Davey and Bailey Bonnett are close on her heels being seeded with a pair of 4:06’s. Florida’s Kevin Vargas comes in with the top seed in the 400 IM, but a trio of Texas A&M Aggies are in pursuit with Anze Erzen, Munzy Kabbara and Andres Bustamante holding down the 2nd, 3rd and 4th seeds.

Tennessee holds another top seed in the women’s 100 fly with Ellen Walshe‘s 50.24 making her the heavy favorite, and her teammates Trude Rothrock, Mallory Beil and Sara Stotler are seeded 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively. Sitting in between that Lady Vol 100 fly group is Missouri’s Sarah Thompson, who is seeded second, while Alabama sprinter Cora Dupre also opted for the 100 fly, where she is the 5th seed, instead of the 200 free, where she was the second seed. The men’s 100 fly has the top three seeds all sitting within 3 tenths, with Missouri senior Danny Kovac leading Florida’s Eric Friese and Georgia’s Luca Urlando.

The final swimming event of the day, the 200 free, sees Kentucky’s Riley Gaines leading the psych sheet, and should be the favorite after second seed Cora Dupre opted for the 100 fly. The Florida Gator freestyle group will be on display again in the men’s 200 free, with  Trey Freeman coming in with the top seed after Kieran Smith opted for the 400 IM.

Women’s 400 IM

  • NCAA A Standard: 4:03.62
  • NCAA B Standard:4:17.30

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Ellen Walshe (TENN): 4:04.26
  2. Mabel Zavaros (FLOR): 4:07.55
  3. Bailey Bonnett (UKY): 4:08.41
  4. Gillian Davey (UKY): 4:08.79
  5. Lauren Poole (UKY): 4:08.82
  6. Alexis Yager (TENN): 4:09.41
  7. Summer Smith (TENN): 4:11.45
  8. Kathleen Golding (FLOR): 4:12.50

Tennessee freshman Ellen Walshe, last night’s 200 IM champion, put up a dominant swim in heat 4 to take the top seed for tonight’s final in 4:04.26. After clocking the third fastest time in the nation in the 200 IM, Walshe dropped 1.8 seconds from her midseason swim to move up to fifth in the NCAA this year, just ahead of teammate Alexis Yager. Walshe will now just have a few minutes before returning to the pool for the 100 fly.

Joining Walshe in the A final will be two of her Lady Vol teammates, senior Alexis Yager and fellow freshman Summer Smith. Yager qualified sixth in 4:09.41, nearly 4 seconds off of her midseason swim and Smith qualified 7th in 4:11.45, 8 tenths off of her midseason swim.

A trio of Kentucky Wildcats also qualified for the A final. Bailey Bonnett, who came in as the fourth seed, led the way for Kentucky and qualified 3rd, while her junior teammates Gillian Davey and Lauren Poole slid in just behind her in 4th and 5th, respectively.

Florida will be the only other school represented in the A final, with two qualifiers. Sophomore Mabel Zavaros dropped three quarters of a second from her season best to qualify second with a 4:07.55. Her junior teammate Kathleen Golding snuck into the A final in 8th with a 4:12.50.

Men’s 400 IM

  • NCAA A Standard: 3:39.16
  • NCAA B Standard: 3:51.46

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Kieran Smith (FLOR): 3:43.26
  2. Mason Laur (FLOR): 3:43.40
  3. Andrew Abruzzo (UGA): 3:43.85
  4. Ian Grum (UGA): 3:44.61
  5. Anze Erzen (TAMU): 3:45.21
  6. Nicholas Perera (BAMA): 3:45.47
  7. Zane Rosely (UKY): 3:45.85
  8. Jacques Rathle (AUB): 3:45.93

The Florida Gators, who hold the lead in the team standings and are looking for their 10th straight SEC title, picked up right where they left off last night, taking the top two seeds. Senior Kieran Smith won his heat and took the top qualifying spot in 3:43.26, while freshman teammate Mason Laur also won his circle seeded heat to qualify second in 3:43.40.

The Georgia Bulldogs put a pair of swimmers in the A final in senior Andrew Abruzzo and junior Ian Grum. After coming in  with a no time, Georgia senior Andrew Abruzzo lit up the first heat with a 3:43.85 to qualify for the A final and earn him a likely NCAA invite. Grum dropped nearly three seconds from his seed to touch in 3:44.61.

After coming in with three of the top 4 seeds, the Texas A&M Aggies will have only one swimmer in tonight’s A final, with junior Anze Erzen qualifying fifth, a half second off of his seed.

Alabama, Kentucky and Auburn will also have one A finalist each. Alabama senior Nicholas Perera qualified 6th in 3:45.47, Kentucky sophomore Zane Rosely dropped nearly 6 seconds from his seed to qualify 7th in 3:45.85, and Auburn freshman Jacques Rathle qualified 8th in 3:45.85.

Women’s 100 fly

  • NCAA A Standard: 50.92
  • NCAA B Standard: 53.76

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Sarah Thompson (MIZZ): 51.38
  2. Ellen Walshe (TENN): 51.45
  3. Trude Rothrock (TENN): 51.66
  4. Rhyan White (BAMA): 51.76
  5. Dakota Luther (UGA): 52.19
  6. Oliva Theall (TAMU): 52.22
  7. Sara Stotler (TENN): 52.31
  8. Callie Dickinson (UGA): 52.33

Missouri senior Sarah Thompson will come into the finals as the top qualifier after winning her circle seeded heat in 51.38. That swim comes in .06 faster than her seed time from midseason.

After putting three swimmers in the A final of the 400 IM, the Tennessee Lady Vols will have three more in the 100 fly A final. Leading the way was freshman Ellen Walshe, who qualified second in 51.45 just minutes after taking the top seed in the 400 IM. The tough double seemed to impact Walshe, who was 1.2 seconds off of her midseason time in the fly. She will be joined by senior Trude Rothrock, who qualified third in 51.66 and freshman Sara Stotler, who finished 7th in 52.31.

Georgia will also have two swimmers in the A final with seniors Dakota Luther and Callie Dickinson. Luther qualified fifth in 52.19, while Dickinson snuck into the 8th spot by just .01 over Tennessee’s Mallory Beil, touching in 52.33. Both Luther and Dickinson improved on their seed time.

Alabama backstroke superstar Rhyan White qualified fourth in 51.76, 8 tenths faster than her seed to be the Crimson Tide’s lone representative in the A final. Texas A&M will also have one A finalist, with sophomore Olivia Theall qualifying 6th in 52.22.

Men’s 100 fly

  • NCAA A Standard: 44.96
  • NCAA B Standard: 47.43

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Luca Urlando (UGA): 45.32
  2. Eric Friese (FLOR): 45.44
  3. Jordan Crooks (TENN): 45.60
  4. Danny Kovac (MIZZ): 45.71
  5. Kayky Mota (TENN): 45.74
  6. Jace Crawford (FLOR): 45.92
  7. Bjoern Kammann (TENN): 45.93
  8. Tyler Sesvold (BAMA): 46.06

University of Georgia national teamer Luca Urlando dropped a quarter second from his seed to take the top seed heading into finals, touching in 45.32 to move him up to 7th in the NCAA this season. Urlando, whose signature event is the 200 fly, was fourth in this event last year at SECs and 8th at NCAAs.

Florida will have two swimmers in the A final, with junior Eric Friese qualifying 2nd in 45.44 and sophomore Jace Crawford qualifying sixth in 45.92. Friese dropped .03 from his seed, but Crawford dropped a massive 9 tenths to move all the way up into the A final.

After putting three women in the 100 fly A final, the Tennessee men also flexed their muscle, putting three of their own swimmers in the 100 fly A final. Breakout freshman Jordan Crooks, who won the 50 free last night, qualified third with a new lifetime best of 45.60, his first time under the 47 second barrier. He will be joined in the A final by senior Kayky Mota, who qualified 5th in 45.74 and his freshman classmate Bjoern Kammann, who qualified 7th in 45.93.

Missouri and Alabama will each have one swimmer in tonight’s A final. Top seed Danny Kovac was four tenths off of his seed but still qualified fourth in 45.71 for Mizzou. Alabama senior Tyler Sesvold came in with a no time but qualified 8th after dominating the first heat in 46.06.

Women’s 200 free

  • NCAA A Standard: 1:42.98
  • NCAA B Standard: 1:47.12

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Chloe Stepanek (TAMU): 1:43.87
  2. Riley Gaines (UKY): 1:43.96
  3. Brooklyn Douthwright (TENN): 1:43.97
  4. Morgan Scott (BAMA): 1:44.65
  5. Talia Bates (FLOR): 1:44.91
  6. Julia Mrozinski (TENN): 1:45.02
  7. Maxine Parker (UGA): 1:45.27
  8. Tjasa Pintar (TENN): 1:45.39

Texas A&M Chloe Stepanek blasted a new season-best of 1:43.87 to take the top seed heading into tonight’s final. Her previous season best was 1:45.02, though she has been as fast as 1:43.36 and finished 4th at NCAAs in this event a year ago.

Top seed Riley Gaines of Kentucky raced Stepanek head-to-head in the final heat and touched just behind in 1:43.96 to take the second seed.

The Tennessee Lady Vols will have three A finalists in all three swimming events this evening following an impressive showing in the 200 free. Freshman Brooklyn Douthwright dropped over two seconds from her seed to qualify third in 1:43.97, while her classmate at SEC 5o0 free champion Julia Mrozinski qualified 6th with a 1:45.02. Senior Tjasa Pintar will be the third Tennessee woman in the A final tonight, qualifying 8th in 1:45.39.

Alabama senior Morgan Scott, last night’s 50 free champion, dropped 1.3 seconds from her seed to qualify fourth in 1:44.65 and will be Alabama’s representative in the final. Florida and Georgia will also each have one swimmer tonight in the A final, with Florida junior Talia Bates qualifying 5th in 1:44.91 and Georgia sophomore Maxine Parker qualifying 7th in 1:45.27.

Men’s 200 free

  • NCAA A Standard: 1:32.05
  • NCAA B Standard: 1:36.32

Top 8 finishers:

  1. Matt Sates (UGA): 1:32.59
  2. Jack Dahlgren (MIZZ): 1:32.84
  3. Trey Freeman (FLOR): 1:33.04
  4. Jake Magahey (UGA): 1:33.37
  5. Brooks Curry (LSU): 1:33.49
  6. Kaique Alves (BAMA): 1:33.65
  7. Michael Bonson (AUB): 1:33.97
  8. Kayolan Bratanov (TAMU): 1:34.02

Georgia freshman Matt Sates, fresh off his 500 free victory last night, cruised to the top seed this morning with a 1:32.59. He will be joined in the A final tonight by his sophomore teammate Jake Magahey, who qualified fourth in 1:33.37. Both swimmers competed in the A final of the 500 free last night for Georgia.

Missouri senior Jack Dahlgren put up an impressive prelim swim, dropping 7 tenths from his seed to qualify second in 1:32.84. That swim now places him 7th in the nation this year and should solidify an NCAA invite in the event. Florida’s Trey Freeman, who came in as the top seed, will swim in lane three tonight after qualifying third in 1:33.04.

Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M will each have one representative in the A final this evening. Bama freshman Kaique Alves was just off of his seed and qualified 6th in 1:33.65, while Auburn sophomore Michael Bonson, who swam in the A final of the 500 free last night, will swim in his second A final after qualifying 7th in 1:33.97. Texas A&M’s Kayolan Bratanov will round out the A final after qualifying 8th in 1:34.02.

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ScovaNotiaSwimmer
7 months ago

Nice to see Brooklyn Douthwright take a nice leap forward with her 200F yard time. She’s an up and coming Canadian who made several finals at Olympic trials. She comes from a pretty small club in a non-powerhouse swimming region of Canada so I’ve been wondering if she’ll breakout at an elite training environment like Tenn.

Aquajosh
7 months ago

Mestre and Bratanov tied for 8th. Who won the swim-off?

VFL
Reply to  Aquajosh
7 months ago

Mestre won.

Mike
Reply to  Aquajosh
7 months ago

James Bates posted a video with some commentary on his Insta page. Check it out

Tiago
7 months ago

Anyone know where to watch?
My watch espn link just spins. Been trying since Tuesday.

VFL
Reply to  Tiago
7 months ago

Maybe not live but can usually find videos on YouTube. I think TAMU and UGA post theirs.

VFL
7 months ago

Girls tonight w/o diving:
Tenn: 9 up 2 mid 1 down (12)
UGA: 3 up 3 mid 5 down (11)
Bama: 2 up 3 mid 2 down (7)
KY: 4 up 1 mid 2 down (7)
FL: 3 up 5 mid 1 down (9)

SEC
Reply to  VFL
7 months ago

Game over. The Tennessee Women are running away with this one

VFL
Reply to  SEC
7 months ago

I think lead my shrink a little as next two days arguably a little thinner—a lot of our top dogs only have one swim left. Or zero in the case of Walshe.

But McSharry and Stege still have their best events. Biggest question marks will be who can step up and get some big points in the 100 free and will our backstrokers be on? Fuller and Stewart look good so far. Need Caldow to replicate her CN performances.

Let’s go Lady Vols!

Swammom
7 months ago

Wonder when Tennessee will get some IM men? It is awfully tough to even dream of winning a SEC championship without any IM top heat contenders!

VFL
Reply to  Swammom
7 months ago

Gus is just a freshman. He’s improved a ton this year and gonna keep getting faster. Nick Simons joins next year with already the 2nd fastest 2IM on paper, although he is primarily a backstroker. Anyone know where Griffin Hadley is this meet?

Swimm
Reply to  Swammom
7 months ago

All title hopes disappear for the foreseeable future once Texas joins

VFL
Reply to  Swimm
7 months ago

Crazy how fast this conference will be 😳 girls too. Regardless, future is bright on Rocky Top 😎

Swammom
Reply to  Swimm
7 months ago

Hook’em Horns!

kazoo
Reply to  Swimm
7 months ago

I SO hate the idea of Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC–and it has nothing to do with swimming. It’s just pure greed by the two schools and the SEC, and all the P5 conferences have just got absurdly large. It’s nonsense. Texas and OU belong in the SW Conference, where they fit and where they have long been. But they feel that they can make more money in the SEC. Really? If there is one college in America that doesn’t need more money, it’s Texas. The only good side of this will be to watch Texas get its butt kicked in a lot of different sports–perhaps men’s swimming being the exception! Remember when we in America used to think… Read more »

Former Big10
Reply to  Swammom
7 months ago

Or 200 freestylers, and sprint depth…

AMan
7 months ago

Day 2 Hot Takes:
FLOR: on
BAMA: spotty but mostly on?
TENN: hot
AUB: impressive I take back my yesterday claim
UGA: stars on
UK: expecting more from women but men on
MIZZ: underwhelming still
TAMU: some gems
SCAR: some gems

Swammer2009
7 months ago

Great swim by Ellen Walshe! Alabama needs some 4IMers to keep up with points in the SEC hunt.

super classy swim
Reply to  Swammer2009
7 months ago

they are getting some in the 2023 batch

Riccardo
Reply to  Swammer2009
7 months ago

Looks like Mela Delmenico was the 12th or 13th seed in the 4 IM at 4:12.00 and came in 35th at 4:22.

crooks #1 fan
7 months ago

As someone who discovered Jordan Crooks yesterday I am very excited to watch him swim the 100 fly today.