2023 SEC Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


After things got underway with relays and diving on Tuesday, the first full day of action at the 2023 SEC Championships is upon us.

Following the traditional NCAA schedule, the opening prelim session will feature heats in the men’s and women’s 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free, along with the women’s 1-meter diving event.

Only two of the six 2022 champions in Wednesday’s individual events will be back to defend their titles, as Tennessee’s Jordan Crooks aims to go back-to-back in the men’s 50 free and his Vols teammate Julia Mrozinski vies for a repeat in the women’s 500 free after missing the first half of the season.

The men’s 50 free is particularly loaded with four men in the field who have already broken 19 seconds this season—Crooks (18.27), Josh Liendo (18.83), Gui Caribe (18.91) and Brooks Curry (18.94).

Crooks is also coming off a tantalizing 18.90 butterfly split on Tennessee’s 200 medley relay on Tuesday night, the fastest in history by nearly half a second.

With Luca Urlando out injured, Matt Sates turning pro early and Kieran Smith graduating, new SEC champions will be crowned in the men’s 200 IM and 500 free, with Georgia’s Jake Magahey the favorite to claim the 500 and Texas A&M freshman Baylor Nelson the leading candidate in the 200 IM.

On the women’s side, LSU’s Maggie MacNeil headlines the 50 free field, having tied the Conference Record earlier this season in a time of 21.03.

MacNeil produced the fastest 50 back time in history last night leading off the Tigers’ 200 medley relay, touching the wall in 22.52.

Florida’s Mabel Zavaros (4:39.28) and Tylor Mathieu (4:40.23) hold the conference’s top two times in the 500 free this season, while Georgia’s Zoie Hartman headlines the 200 IM field as she looks to reclaim the title she won in 2021 after falling to Tennessee’s Ellen Walshe—who is absent—last season.



  1. LSU – 178
  2. Florida – 150
  3. Kentucky – 149
  4. South Carolina – 142
  5. Tennessee – 136
  6. Alabama – 131
  7. Auburn – 119
  8. Georgia – 107
  9. Missouri – 105
  10. Arkansas – 97
  11. Vanderbilt – 62
  12. Texas A&M – 56


  1. Texas A&M – 229
  2. Auburn – 166
  3. Tennessee – 159
  4. Florida – 138
  5. Missouri – 126
  6. South Carolina – 115
  7. Ge0rgia – 113
  8. Alabama – 107
  9. Kentucky – 86
  10. LSU – 65

Women’s 500 Freestyle – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 4:24.06, Katie Ledecky (STAN) – 2017 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 4:32.53, Brittany MacLean (UGA) – 2014 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 4:33.10, Brittany MacLean (UGA) – 2016
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:35.76
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 4:43.08
  1. Rachel Stege (UGA), 4:38.19
  2. Emma Weyant (FLOR), 4:39.26
  3. Kristen Stege (TENN), 4:39.73
  4. Hayden Miller (FLOR), 4:39.88
  5. Kensey McMahon (BAMA), 4:40.13
  6. Jillian Barczyk (UGA), 4:41.01
  7. Tylor Mathieu (FLOR), 4:41.08
  8. Kaitlynn Wheeler (UKY), 4:41.32

Georgia sophomore Rachel Stege dropped a personal best of 4:38.19 from the penultimate heat to claim the top seed heading into the final of the women’s 500 free, improving on her previous mark of 4:40.03 set while she was still in high school in October 2020.

Stege’s fastest time in her freshman year at UGA was 4:43.07, and she came into this meet with a season-best of 4:42.65 from the Georgia Gall Invitational.

Racing in the same heat was her older sister, Tennessee’s Kristen Stege, who touched second in 4:39.73—nearly identical to what she went in the 2022 prelims (4:39.79—to ultimately advance in third.

The Florida duo of sophomore Emma Weyant (4:39.26) and freshman Hayden Miller (4:39.88), both newcomers to the program this season, went 1-2 in the first circle-seeded heat out of Lanes 1 and 2 to qualify second and fourth overall, respectively.

Georgia senior Jillian Barczyk was surprisingly the lone swimmer to qualify for the ‘A’ final out of the last heat, putting up a time of 4:41.01 to get well under her previous best of 4:43.43 set at last year’s SECs.

Swimming out of Heat 1, last year’s champion Julia Mrozinski clocked in with a time of 4:44.97 in what was her first 500 free of the season. Mrozinski spent the first half of the season in her native Germany and only joined the Lady Vols for the second semester in January.

The sophomore won the 2022 SEC title in a personal best time of 4:35.95 after clocking 4:39.18 in the prelims. She ended up placing 20th, slotting her into the ‘C’ final.

The #2 seed coming in, Florida’s Mabel Zavaros, added over six seconds to her seed time and finished back in 24th in 4:45.88, a surprising result given the strong showings from her Gator teammates Weyant, Miller and Tylor Mathieu, who also made the ‘A’ final in 4:41.08.

Zavaros swam a best time of 4:39.28 at the Georgia Fall Invitational in November.

Men’s 500 Freestyle – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 4:06.32, Kieran Smith (FLOR) – 2020 SEC Championships
  • SEC Record: 4:06.32, Kieran Smith (FLOR) – 2020 SEC Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 4:06.32, Kieran Smith (FLOR) – 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:11.40
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 4:14.96
  1. Alfonso Mestre (FLOR), 4:12.08
  2. Jake Mitchell (FLOR), 4:12.54
  3. Jake Magahey (UGA), 4:13.18
  4. Michael Bonson (AUB), 4:13.96
  5. Gio Linscheer (FLOR), 4:14.22
  6. Charlie Hawke (BAMA), 4:14.36
  7. Eric Brown (FLOR), 4:14.39
  8. Victor Johansson (BAMA), 4:15.04

The Florida Gators came to play in the men’s 500 free, as the team put four swimmers through to tonight’s ‘A’ final including senior Alfonso Mestre and junior Jake Mitchell holding the top two seeds.

Mestre, who was an NCAA ‘A’ finalist in the event last year and came into the meet ranked fifth in the nation, put up a time of 4:12.08 from the penultimate heat to lead the field, just over a second shy of his 4:11.03 showing from the UGA Invitational.

Mitchell, who transferred to the Gators from Michigan in the offseason, set a new lifetime best of 4:12.54 to qualify second overall, dipping under his previous mark of 4:12.88 from the 2022 Big Tens (he had also been 4:13.00 at midseason).

Gator freshman Gio Linscheer dropped five seconds from his best time to advance into the final in fifth, touching in 4:14.22 to take second to Mitchell in Heat 4. The fourth Florida member to make the ‘A’ final was another freshman, Canadian Eric Brown, who took off more than three seconds in 4:14.39 to qualify seventh.

Georgia junior Jake Magahey, the 2021 NCAA champion in the event, paced the final heat in a time of 4:13.18 to qualify third overall, with Auburn’s Michael Bonson close behind in 4:13.96 for fourth.

Magahey (4:09.83) and Bonson (4:13.30) came into the meet ranked second and eighth in the nation, respectively.

Alabama’s Charlie Hawke (4:14.36) set a new season-best to advance in sixth, and his graduate senior teammate Victor Johansson rounded out the ‘A’ finalists in 4:15.04.

Two notable misses were Auburn’s Mason Mathias (4:15.70) and Georgia’s Andrew Abruzzo (4:18.60), who finished ninth and 14th after coming in ranked 16th and 15th, respectively, in the entire NCAA.

Women’s 200 IM – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:50.08, Alex Walsh (UVA) – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 1:51.62, Meghan Small (TENN) – 2019 SEC Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 1:51.62, Meghan Small (TENN) – 2019
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:53.66
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:56.85
  1. Josephine Fuller (TENN), 1:54.09
  2. Zoie Hartman (UGA), 1:54.76
  3. Cat Wright (BAMA), 1:55.82
  4. Zoe Dixon (FLOR), 1:55.85
  5. Lauren Poole (UKY), 1:55.91
  6. Sara Stotler (TENN), 1:56.21
  7. Diana Petkova (BAMA), 1:56.31
  8. Victoria Kwan (SCAR), 1:56.78

Tennessee sophomore Josephine Fuller dropped a big best time to lead the women’s 200 IM heats, touching in 1:54.09 to chop nearly a second and a half off her previous PB of 1:55.54 set in November.

Fuller, who was 14th in the event last season, now ranks sixth in the NCAA and has taken off nearly four seconds over the course of the 2022-23 campaign.

Fuller was decisively the fastest swimmer over the first 100 yards, splitting 24.81/27.62 for a first-half split of 52.43—over a second clear of anyone else.

Georgia senior Zoie Hartman, who came into the week ranked sixth in the nation with her time of 1:54.26 from the Georgia Fall Invitational, produced a time of 1:54.76 from the eighth and final heat to advance second into the final. Hartman was the runner-up to Tennessee’s Ellen Walshe last year, and is the top returner with Walshe not competing.

Alabama senior Cat Wright and Florida freshman Zoe Dixon both cracked the 1:56 barrier for the first time to advance to the final in third, touching in 1:55.82 and 1:55.85, respectively, to dip under their previous bests of 1:56.54 and 1:56.29.

Wright’s time was also a new program record for the Crimson Tide.

Kentucky’s Lauren Poole, who was the second-fastest swimmer in the SEC this season entering the meet at 1:55.33, was fifth-fastest in 1:55.91 to comfortably make the final.

Men’s 200 IM – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:37.69, Leon Marchand (ASU) – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 1:38.13, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018 SEC Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 1:38.13, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:41.22
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:43.36
  1. Baylor Nelson (TAMU), 1:41.71
  2. Koko Bratanov (TAMU), 1:42.18
  3. Zach Hils (UGA), 1:42.27
  4. Ben Patton (UMIZ), 1:42.51
  5. Julian Smith (FLOR), 1:42.64
  6. Derek Maas (BAMA), 1:43.04
  7. Dillon Hillis (FLOR), 1:43.23
  8. Joaquín González Piñero (FLOR), 1:43.53

Texas A&M freshman Baylor Nelson dipped under his personal best time to pace the men’s 200 IM field in 1:41.71, undercutting his 1:41.83 clocking from the Art Adamson Invitational as he maintains his place as the third-fastest swimmer in the NCAA.

Nelson’s teammate Koko Bratanov also set a lifetime best to qualify second, touching in 1:42.18 to knock eight-tenths off his previous PB (1:42.98) set at the 2022 SECs.

Georgia’s Zach Hils (1:42.27), Mizzou’s Ben Patton (1:42.51) and Florida’s Julian Smith (1:42.64) also set new personal bests to qualify third, fourth and fifth into the final, as the top five qualifiers were all faster than the #1 time coming out of last year’s prelims (1:42.75).

Alabama’s Derek Maas, who was the runner-up to Luca Urlando last season in a best time of 1:42.90, advanced sixth in 1:43.04.

Urlando injured his shoulder on the FINA World Cup circuit last fall and won’t compete for the remainder of the season.

Women’s 50 Freestyle – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 20.84, Kate Douglass (UVA) – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 21.03, Erika Brown (TENN) / Maggie MacNeil (LSU) – 2020 SEC Championships / 2022 Art Adamson Invitational
  • SEC Championship Record: 21.03, Erika Brown (TENN) – 2020
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 21.66
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 22.16
  1. Maggie MacNeil (LSU), 21.41
  2. Kalia Antoniou (BAMA), 21.85
  3. Mona McSharry (TENN), 21.98
  4. Katie Mack (FLOR), 22.01
  5. Chloe Stepanek (TAMU), 22.09
  6. Ekaterina Nikonova (FLOR), 22.11
  7. Andrea Sansores (UARK), 22.18
  8. Micayla Cronk (FLOR), 22.25

Maggie MacNeil cruised to the top time of the session in the women’s 50 free, touching in 21.41 to lead the field by more than four-tenths of a second.

MacNeil tied the SEC Record earlier this season in a time of 21.03 at the Art Adamson Invite, a time that currently ranks her second in the NCAA behind Virginia’s Gretchen Walsh (20.94). Walsh notably swam a time of 21.01 this morning at ACCs.

Alabama’s Kalia Antoniou chopped .01 off her season-best to qualify second into the final in 21.85, while Tennessee’s breaststroke specialist Mona McSharry broke 22 seconds for the first time in 21.98 to advance in third.

Due to various reasons, no ‘A’ finalists from last season made it into the top eight this year. The lone 2022 ‘A’ finalist in the field is Tennessee’s Jasmine Rumley, who placed 15th in 22.43.

Another notable top-eight miss is Georgia’s Eboni McCarty, who was one of just three swimmers in the SEC sub-22 this season (21.89) coming in but ended up on the outside looking in at ninth in 22.29.

Men’s 50 Freestyle – Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 17.63, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 17.63, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 18.23, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2016
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 18.88
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 19.28
  1. Jordan Crooks (TENN), 18.25
  2. Josh Liendo (FLOR), 18.35
  3. Macguire McDuff (FLOR), 18.99
  4. Adam Chaney (FLOR), 19.04
  5. Logan Tirheimer (AUB), 19.05
  6. Gui Caribe (TENN) / Brooks Curry (LSU), 19.08
  7. Dillon Downing (UGA), 19.09

Jordan Crooks and Josh Liendo didn’t hold back in the prelims of the men’s 50 free, both resetting their personal best times and climbing the all-time rankings.

Crooks led the way in a blistering time of 18.25, taking two one-hundredths off his PB set at the Tennessee Invitational to move into sole possession of #2 on the all-time performer’s list, breaking his tie with Cal’s Bjorn Seeliger at 18.27.

Crooks’ time is also a new Tennessee record and falls just .02 shy of the SEC Championship Record set by Caeleb Dressel in 2016.

Liendo, a Florida first-year, becomes the fastest freshman in history, as the Canadian native clocked 18.35 to overtake Crooks’ mark of 18.53 set last season.

Liendo now ranks fifth all-time in the event, trailing Dressel, Crooks, Seeliger and Ryan Hoffer. He is the fifth swimmer to go under Cesar Cielo‘s previous longstanding record of 18.47 set in 2008.

All-Time Performers, Men’s 50 Freestyle (SCY)

  1. Caeleb Dressel (FLOR), 17.63 – 2018 NCAA Championships
  2. Jordan Crooks (TENN), 18.25 – 2023 SEC Championships
  3. Bjorn Seeliger (CAL), 18.27 – 2022 NCAA Championships
  4. Ryan Hoffer (CAL), 18.33 – 2021 NCAA Championships
  5. Josh Liendo (FLOR), 18.35 – 2023 SEC Championships

Florida sophomore Macguire McDuff made it three men sub-19 this morning, putting up a time of 18.99 to reset his personal best time of 19.11 and join the elite sub-19 club in the NCAA this season which now includes nine men after Virginia Tech’s Youssef Ramadan clocked 18.86 at ACCs this morning.

Adam Chaney made it up four up for the Gators into the ‘A’ final as he qualified in fourth, while two other men who have been 18.9 this season, Tennessee’s Gui Caribe and LSU’s Brooks Curry, tied for sixth in 19.08.

Advancing in fifth was Auburn junior Logan Tirheimer, who brought his best time down from 19.33 to 19.05.

Overall, it required 19.09 to make the ‘A’ final, significantly faster than last season’s 19.43—a time that only earned 14th this morning.

Women’s 1-Meter Diving – Prelims

  • SEC Record: 375.53, Brooke Schultz (UARK) – 2019 Arkansas vs Houston
  • SEC Championship Record: 364.30, Lauren Reedy (MIZ) – 2017

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Seli''s My Baby
1 year ago

Where is Izzy Ivey?

Reply to  Seli''s My Baby
1 year ago

She’s not due to swim for the Gators until next season.

1 year ago

I really thought it would be at least 5 years before we saw another sub 18, but now I’ll be surprised if we don’t get it in the next year or two, if not this year.

1 year ago

Crazy fast 50 this morning!
Speaking of 50’s, I’m still always amazed at how dominant Chaney’s 50 back is.
I think he’s going to pop a :19 at NCAAs.

1 year ago

Women up/mid/down
FL: 7-5-2
TN: 4-3-3
UGA: 3-4-1
KY: 2-2-3
Bama: 4-1-1

1 year ago

Florida going to run away with both men and women titles! Huge session. Kudos to Nesty and company. Gonna be tough to beat for foreseeable future.

For the women, Sims and Ivey are obviously immediate NCAA contenders, but have 8 other top 50 prospects joining next year. If they get Grimes in 2024, they’re moving up to UVA-Stanford level.

Lady Vols just missing too much. Walshe, Rathwell, Smith would all be three event scorers, and it’s clear Mrosiznski and Rumley aren’t completely back to form–although they’re still gonna help us a lot this weekend. That’s a quarter of the roster though. Mona with a 25.9 and 21.9 looks primed for a big weekend. Fuller also with back-to-back best… Read more »

Reply to  VFL
1 year ago

Where did the women come from? They haven’t been great recently and the only additions I can remember are Kucheran and Weyant.

Reply to  Noah
1 year ago

The women have been getting better. From SECs last year to NCs, they improved their seed times by over 200%. They were knocking on the door of a top 10 finish after being seeded nowhere close. Kucheran (who split a full six-tenths faster than she did for FSU last year at ACCs) takes their medley relays to another level, but Aris Runnels for example, didn’t even make the conference team last year, had the third-fastest backstroke split in the field on the 200 MR. That relay was THREE seconds faster than last year and broke the school record. Having girls step up like that is going to go a long way towards building momentum for next year when they start… Read more »

Grant Drukker
1 year ago

19.09 to make the A-final at conference… What was it like two years ago this is what it took to make the A-final at NCAAs?

Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 year ago

19.17 to make a final at 2021 ncaas

1 year ago

Liendo has woken up, Crooks doesn’t always swim his fastest in the final, hope he manages the relay swim and the individual final well cause Liendo usually saves his best for the big race

1 year ago

Thats a great point

1 year ago

Huh? Crooks was 18.8 last year in prelims and then went 18.7 on relay and 18.5 in finals.
22 NCAAs:18.60 in prelims and finals.
22 TN Invite: 18.68 in prelims, 18.60 in finals
21 TN Invite: 19.61 in prelims, 19.39 in finals.

Reply to  VFL
1 year ago

At the Tennessee invite he went 18.2 on the relay leadoff and 18.6 in the individual final.

He also swam slower in each round of the 100 and 50 free at short course worlds. He was still fast enough to win the 50 tho which is a positive.

I’m hoping he figures it out tonight however, rooting for him to get under 18!

1 year ago

Welcome to the 18 Club, Macguire McDuff!

Florida now has 6

Reply to  Aquajosh
1 year ago

When did Friese go 18 flat start? I know he’s had some great relay splits, but I don’t remember him ever going 18 flat start.

I also wonder what program has the most sub 19s? This would be a good Swimswam article. Schools with the most swimmers sub 19 or females under 22.

Texas – Schooling, Feigan, Kibler, Cam A, maybe more
Cal – Seeliger, Hoffer, Syndek (spelling), Adrian, Stubblefield, who else

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
1 year ago

Friese won the B final at 2021 NCs with an 18.90

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
1 year ago

Friese swam 18.90 in the B final at 21 ncaas.

tea rex
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
1 year ago

I did a little searching (sorry for the formatting). Looks like Auburn leads the way, from the late 00s.

1. Cesar Cielo 18.47* 3-27-08 2. Matt Targett 18.52 2-19-09 3. Adam Brown 18.72 3-24-11 4. Fred Bousquet 18.74 3-24-05 5. Zach Apple 18.82* 3-22-18 6. Jakob Andjkaer 18.83* 3-26-09 7. Marcelo Chierighini 18.85 2-20-13 8. Gideon Louw 18.99 3-26-09

50-YARD FREESTYLE 1. Caeleb Dressel (2018)…………………17.63 2. Adam Chaney (2022)………………………18.75 3. Josh Liendo (2022)…………………. 18.83 4. Brad deBorde (2014) …………………..18.86 5. Eric Friese (2021) ……………………………..18.90 6. Will Davis (2022)………………………………18.99 7. Macguire McDuff (2022)………. 19.11 –just went 18.99

1. Drew Kibler 2022 NCAA Championships / Mar. 24, 2022 18.60 2. Cameron Auchinachie 2022… Read more »

Reply to  Aquajosh
1 year ago

I stand corrected! McDuff makes SEVEN for Florida. Will Davis also went an 18.99 last year.


Reply to  Aquajosh
1 year ago

According to their record book, Will Davis swam an 18.99 in 2022. That’s 7 guys

AI with the braids
Reply to  Aquajosh
1 year ago

Will Davis has also been under 19 at 2022 NCAAs

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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