2022 SEC Championships: Day 5 Prelims Live Recap

2022 SEC SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The conference titles have all but been decided as we enter the final day of action at the 2022 SEC Championships, but there are still plenty of intriguing races on the docket Saturday, plus some exciting team battles beyond the top spot.

Team Scores After Day 4 – Women

  1. University of Tennessee – 972.5 points
  2. University of Georgia – 754 points
  3. University of Kentucky – 712 points
  4. University of Alabama – 685 points
  5. University of Florida – 616 points
  6. Texas A&M University – 510 points
  7. Auburn University – 402 points
  8. Louisiana State University – 375 points
  9. Missouri – 372.5 points
  10. University of South Carolina – 357 points
  11. University of Arkansas – 292 points
  12. Vanderbilt University – 93 points

Team Scores After Day 4 – Men

  1. University of Florida – 976 points
  2. University of Tennessee – 739 points
  3. University of Alabama – 711 points
  4. University of Georgia – 708 points
  5. Texas A&M University – 636.5 points
  6. Auburn University – 624.5 points
  7. Missouri – 589.5 points
  8. University of Kentucky – 462 points
  9. Louisiana State University – 422 points
  10. University of South Carolina – 336.5 points

The final day of action will feature the 200 back, 100 free and 200 breast.

Alabama’s Rhyan White and Georgia’s Zoie Hartman will seek third straight titles in the women’s 200 back and 200 breast, respectively, while White’s Crimson Tide teammate Morgan Scott vies for back-to-back victories in the women’s 100 free.

On the men’s side, Tennessee’s Lyubomir Epitropov was coming in as the defending champion in the 200 breast, but has not raced at all during the competition.

With Epitropov out, none of the defending champions on the men’s side will be competing this morning. The 200 back and 100 free titles will have new winners this year after Shaine Casas (200 back) turned pro early and Matt King (100 free) transferred to Virginia.

Volunteer first-year Jordan Crooks will be one to watch in the men’s 100 free after becoming the fastest freshman in history earlier in the meet in the 50 free (18.53), while TAMU junior Ethan Gogulski has a great shot at keeping the 200 back title in College Station after an impressive runner-up showing in the 100 back last night.

LSU’s Brooks Curry, the top seed in the 100 free and the conference champion from back in 2020, is coming off of a blistering 40.93 anchor leg on last night’s 400 medley relay, with Crooks the second-fastest at 41.61.

In the 200 breast, Alabama’s Derek Maas will be the man to beat after winning the 100 last night and entering as the fastest swimmer in the conference this season at 1:52.46.

Women’s 200 Back – Prelims

  • SEC Championship Record: 1:48.34, Gemma Spofforth (FLOR), 2009
  • SEC Conference Record: 1:48.06, Rhyan White (BAMA), 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:50.50
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 1:57.11
  1. Rhyan White (BAMA), 1:51.57
  2. Sophie Sorenson (UKY), 1:52.62
  3. Morgan Liberto (BAMA), 1:52.63
  4. Caitlin Brooks (UKY), 1:53.43
  5. Mari Kraus (SCAR), 1:53.44
  6. Meredith Rees (UMIZ), 1:53.82
  7. Parker Herren (UKY), 1:53.96
  8. Aviv Barzelay (TAMU), 1:54.17

Rhyan White used her front-end speed to take full control of the sixth and final heat of the women’s 200 backstroke, opening up in 53.82 before cruising to the top time of the morning by over a second in 1:51.57.

White, the two-time defending champion in the event, will be the big favorite to win a third-straight title in the event during finals, a feat she accomplished in the 100 back on Friday night.

The senior’s fastest time this season is 1:49.73, set at the Tennessee Invite in November, which ranks her second in the nation behind Stanford’s Regan Smith (1:48.91). White owns a personal best time of 1:48.06 from the 2020 SECs.

The University of Kentucky put three swimmers into tonight’s ‘A’ final, led by senior Sophie Sorenson (1:52.62) who qualified second overall after winning the penultimate heat. Sorenson was the runner-up to White last season.

We’ll actually see six of the eight swimmers in tonight’s final that we saw last season, with Sorenson’s Wildcat teammates Caitlin Brooks (1:53.43) and Parker Herren (1:53.96) advancing in fourth and seventh after taking third and seventh last year, respectively.

Qualifying third was 2021’s fourth-place finisher Morgan Liberto, White’s senior ‘Bama teammate, who dropped a huge season-best of 1:52.63 after coming in having been 1:54.92 in 2021-22.

South Carolina senior Mari Kraus, 15th last season, dropped more than a second and a half (previously 1:55.08) to advance to the final in fifth at 1:53.44. In her fourth SECs, this will be Kraus’ first ‘A’ final.

Men’s 200 Back – Prelims

  • SEC Championship Record: 1:36.85, Shaine Casas (TAMU), 2021
  • SEC Conference Record: 1:35.75, Shaine Casas (TAMU), 2021
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:39.13
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 1:45.04
  1. Anze Erzen (TAMU), 1:40.36
  2. Bradley Dunham (UGA), 1:40.54
  3. Ethan Gogulski (TAMU), 1:40.87
  4. Kieran Smith (FLOR), 1:40.90
  5. Jack Dahlgren (UMIZ), 1:40.91
  6. Jake Marcum (BAMA), 1:41.49
  7. Lleyton Smith (AUB), 1:41.50
  8. Eric Stelmar (BAMA), 1:41.53

The men’s 200 backstroke field was a bloodbath this morning with an incredible 12 swimmers going sub-1:42, more than double (five) the amount we saw in last year’s prelims.

Texas A&M junior Anze Erzen, a transfer out of Iowa, put up a personal best time by over a second to lead the field in 1:40.36, going 1-2 with teammate Ethan Gogulski (1:40.87) in Heat 4. Gogulski ended up qualifying third, as both men will aim to give the Aggies a third straight title in the event tonight.

Georgia’s Bradley Dunham won the third heat in 1:40.54, holding off a huge push from the multi-talented Kieran Smith (1:40.90) to advance second overall. Dunham, the top returner from last year’s SECs having finished fourth, cracks 1:41 for the first time, while Smith finished just .04 off his PB set in 2019.

Missouri’s Jack Dahlgren came into the meet as the SEC’s only swimmer sub-1:41 this season, and while that’s no longer the case, he did better his season-best by .05 to win the last heat and qualify for the final in fifth at 1:40.91.

Women’s 100 Free – Prelims

  • SEC Championship Record: 45.83, Erika Brown (TENN), 2020
  • SEC Conference Record: 45.83, Erika Brown (TENN), 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 47.18
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 49.51
  1. Morgan Scott (BAMA), 47.77
  2. Kalia Antoniou (BAMA), 48.08
  3. Cora Dupre (BAMA), 48.20
  4. Diana Petkova (BAMA), 48.29
  5. Riley Gaines (UKY), 48.35
  6. Tjasa Pintar (TENN) / Jasmine Rumley (TENN), 48.41
  7. Trude Rothrock (TENN), 48.48

The Alabama women flexed their freestyle prowess in the women’s 100 prelims this morning, putting up the four-fastest times of the session.

Defending champion Morgan Scott led the way in 47.77, the only swimmer sub-48, and she was followed by teammates Kalia Antoniou (48.08), Cora Dupre (48.20) and Diana Petkova (48.29).

This isn’t necessarily a surprise, as Scott, Antoniou and Dupre were all ‘A’ finalists in this event at last season’s NCAAs, and teamed up with Flora Molnar to win the national title in the 400 free relay. Petkova has seamlessly stepped into that fourth spot, and if they managed to go 1-2-3-4 tonight, the Crimson Tide would put up a whopping 113 points.

Kentucky’s Riley Gaines, who has been lights out this week after winning the 200 free and 200 fly earlier, advances in fifth at 48.35, though she may feel like she’s on an island tonight as she’ll be the only non-Bama/non-Tennessee swimmer in the final.

The Lady Vols’ picked up the three remaining spot in tonight’s championship heat, with Tjasa Pintar and Jasmine Rumley tying for sixth in 48.41 and Trude Rothrock (48.48) edging Florida’s Talia Bates (48.51) for the eighth and final spot.

Men’s 100 Free – Prelims

  • SEC Championship Record: 41.07, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR), 2016
  • SEC Conference Record: 39.90, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR), 2018
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 41.71
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 43.80
  1. Brooks Curry (LSU), 41.82
  2. Jordan Crooks (TENN), 41.92
  3. Adam Chaney (FLOR), 42.17
  4. Koko Bratanov (TAMU), 42.37
  5. Macguire McDuff (FLOR), 42.47
  6. Eric Friese (FLOR), 42.58
  7. Kaique Alves (BAMA), 42.60
  8. Aleksey Tarasenko (TENN), 42.72

Tennessee freshman Jordan Crooks threw down the early gauntlet in the men’s 100 free prelims, scorching the first sub-42 swim of his career from the first circle-seeded heat in 41.92.

LSU’s Brooks Curry answered in the last heat, claiming Lane 4 for tonight’s final in a time of 41.82, just .05 off his personal best set at last year’s NCAAs.

Prior to the prelims over at ACCs, Curry now ranks fourth and Crooks tied for fifth in the NCAA this season. Crooks also becomes the 11th-fastest freshman in history, having set his previous best time of 42.33 at the Tennessee Invite in November.

Florida’s Adam Chaney absolutely scorched the back half of his race to win the sixth heat and qualify third overall in 42.17, flipping in 20.83 at the 50 before closing in a scintillating 21.34. Chaney was notably the only swimmer back sub-11 on the last 25, and his split was 10.58. The sophomore’s time is also the second-fastest of his career, having been 41.74 at the 2021 NCAAs.

Chaney’s freshman teammate Macguire McDuff dropped more than a second from his previous best time (43.49) to advance in fifth at 42.47.

Notably adding eight-tenths and missing the final was Georgia’s Dillon Downing, who was 42.19 earlier this season by clocked 43.02 to take 15th and miss the ‘A’ final.

Women’s 200 Breast – Prelims

  • SEC Championship Record: 2:04.62, Sydney Pickrem (TAMU), 2018
  • SEC Conference Record: 2:03.26, Bethany Galat (TAMU), 2018
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 2:06.58
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 2:13.97
  1. Mona McSharry (TENN), 2:07.24
  2. Zoie Hartman (UGA), 2:07.46
  3. Gillian Davey (UKY), 2:07.78
  4. Bailey Bonnett (UKY), 2:08.35
  5. Avery Wiseman (BAMA), 2:08.66
  6. Alexis Yager (TENN), 2:09.04
  7. Cat Wright (BAMA), 2:09.15
  8. Danielle Dellatorre (UGA), 2:09.68

After soaring to a decisive victory in last night’s 100 breast final, Tennesee sophomore Mona McSharry put up the top 200 breast time of the morning in 2:07.24, hitting a new season-best by a tenth.

McSharry, who was fourth in this event in 2021, will have a tough test from two-time defending champion Zoie Hartman, as the UGA junior cruised to victory in the last heat in 2:07.46 to qualify second overall.

McSharry was the only swimmer sub-1:01 at the 100, and she was out in 59.73. The Irish native came back in 34.66 on the last 50, the slowest among all eight ‘A’ finalists, so we’ll see what strategy she employs in tonight’s final.

Joining McSharry and Hartman sub-2:08 was Kentucky junior Gillian Davey, who was the 2021 runner-up to Hartman in what remains her personal best time of 2:05.59. Davey nearly ran down McSharry in Heat 5, clocking 2:07.78 for the third seed tonight.

Qualifying in fourth at 2:08.35 was Kentucky’s Bailey Bonnett, who notably makes her fifth straight ‘A’ final in the event.

Overall we’ll see six of the eight swimmers in tonight’s final that were there last season, with the newcomers being the Alabama duo of Avery Wiseman (2:08.66) and Cat Wright (2:09.15).

Wiseman is a freshman (and has already been 2:05.46 this season), while Wright is a senior and hit a massive personal best time to get in the top eight. Wright’s previous best time sat at 2:10.54, done at last year’s SECs where she finished 18th.

Men’s 200 Breast – Prelims

  • SEC Championship Record: 1:51.58, Nic Fink (UGA), 2015
  • SEC Conference Record: 1:50.80, Nic Fink (UGA), 2015
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:52.28
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 1:58.43
  1. Reid Mikuta (AUB), 1:53.10
  2. Derek Maas (BAMA), 1:53.11
  3. Andres Puente Bustamante (TAMU), 1:53.17
  4. Will Goodwin (UMIZ), 1:54.06
  5. Amro Al-Wir (FLOR), 1:54.14
  6. Kevin Vargas (FLOR), 1:54.58
  7. Vincent Ribeiro (TAMU), 1:54.67
  8. Jarel Dillard (TENN), 1:55.35

Auburn sophomore Reid Mikuta hit a new personal best time of 1:53.10 to win the first circle-seeded heat in the men’s 200 breast, a clocking that ultimately held up as the fastest of the session.

Mikuta set his previous best of 1:53.69 at the Georgia Tech Invitational earlier this season, and has shown great improvement as a whole this year having missed the ‘A’ final of both the 100 and 200 breast at SECs as a freshman. In last night’s 100 breast, he was third in 51.41, just off his GT Invite PB of 51.33.

100 breast winner Derek Maas of Alabama won the last heat in 1:53.11 to qualify second overall, just over six-tenths off his PB set at the Tennessee Invite in November (1:52.46).

Maas won that final heat in a close race with TAMU’s Andres Puente Bustamante, who clocked 1:53.17 to mark his fastest swim since the 2020 Art Adamson Invitational.

Mizzou junior Will Goodwin edged out the victory in the penultimate heat, touching in 1:54.06 to qualify fourth and take almost half a second off his previous best of 1:54.55 set in November.

Women’s Platform Diving – Prelims

  • SEC Championship Record: 356.10, Victoria Lamb (TENN), 2014
  • SEC Conference Record: 356.10, Victoria Lamb (TENN), 2014
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 225.00

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Joel Lin
5 months ago

Chaney looks like he will drop time in the final. The other 2 guys will be right there. A great final race is set in the 100 free.

Breezeway
5 months ago

I see that BAMA women’s 400free relay gonna be nasty again this year

Amy
5 months ago

I really didn’t expect the Alabama women to be in 4th place going into the last day. I’m sure the 200 back and having half the A final in the 100 free will help a lot, but still…

Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
5 months ago

I feel like Kieran Smith is the swimmer to most closely approach Lochte-level versatility at the collegiate level.

Pvdh
Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
5 months ago

Seliskar

Swimmerj
Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
5 months ago

Alex Walsh

Aquajosh
Reply to  Gulliver’s Swimming Travels
5 months ago

Lochte won the 1650 SEC title as a freshman, over the rest of his collegiate career won SEC titles in the 100s and 200s of every stroke except breast (to be fair, he never tried to swim them), plus both IMs, and had times in the 100 and 200 free leading off relays that would have won those titles too.
That’s gonna be hard for anyone to beat.

MFVOL
5 months ago

Where is defending 200 breast champ Epitropov???

Swim3057
Reply to  MFVOL
5 months ago

Home overseas due to family situation

Pvdh
5 months ago

Holy crap are those splits on chaney real

matt
Reply to  Pvdh
5 months ago

kyle chalme vibes

Breezeway
5 months ago

J Crooks with a nice 41.92 prelim

Admin
Reply to  Breezeway
5 months ago

11th best freshman ever.

Breezeway
Reply to  Braden Keith
5 months ago

His marching out music for all finals should be Shook Ones by Mobb Deep.

“Cause ain’t no such things as halfway crooks
Scared to death, scared to look, they shook”

Breezeway
5 months ago

The SEC telecast looks great this morning than it has the past few days. Very professional

Ghost
Reply to  Breezeway
5 months ago

I think they brought in the real pros this weekend! So much better

kazoo
Reply to  Ghost
5 months ago

Yea, but what’s the point of bringing them in for the last 2 days of a 5-day meet?

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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