2023 SEC Championships: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap



After a packed Day 2 finals that saw Jordan Crooks become the second man to break 18 seconds in the 50 freestyle, we’re back for more on Day 3 in College Station. We’ll see heats of the 400 IM, 100 fly, and 200 freestyle go off this morning.

With the way that Maggie Macneil has been swimming this week, it seems reasonable that we should be on at least SEC record watch in the 100 fly. Macneil is the NCAA record holder in the event, with a 48.89 from 2021 NCAAs. The SEC record is Erika Brown‘s 49.38 from 2020 SECs. That feels very doable for Macneil, who just this week has swum the fastest 50 back of all-time, broken 21 seconds for the first time in her career, and split 20.44 on LSU’s SEC title winning 200 freestyle relay.

Women’s 400 IM — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 3:54.60, Ella Eastin (STAN) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 3:58.23, Sydney Pickrem (TAMU) — 2019 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 3:58.35, Elizabeth Beisel (FLOR) — 2012 SEC Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:03.62
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 4:11.60

Top 8:

  1. Emma Weyant (FLOR) – 4:06.44
  2. Lauren Poole (UKY) – 4:07.53
  3. Mabel Zavaros (FLOR) – 4:07.81
  4. Giulia Goerigk (TAMU) – 4:08.54
  5. Kathleen Golding (FLOR) – 4:08.88
  6. Hannah Ownbey (AUB) – 4:09.72
  7. Laura Goettler (SCAR) – 4:10.27
  8. Gillian Davey (UKY) – 4:10.44

Florida started day 3 off strong by putting three Gators into the ‘A’ final of the women’s 400 IM. Transfer Emma Weyant posted the fastest time of the morning in the first of the circle seeded heats, a season best time of 4:06.44. Weyant took control of her heat on the backstroke, splitting 1:02.11 and turning at the 200-yard mark over three seconds ahead of the rest of the field. She kept the pressure on with a 1:10.58/47.34 back half. Gillian Davey was second in that heat: she was sixth after the fly but moved through the field in the middle 200 to post 4:10.44 and sneak into the ‘A’ final.

She joins her fellow Wildcat Lauren Poole, who qualified second overall in 4:07.53, four-tenths off her season best. Poole finished second in this event last year, while Davey took third. This year, not only will they have Weyant to contend with, but also Mabel Zavaros and Kathleen Golding.

Zavaros won the final heat in 4:07.81. Both Giulia Goerigk and Hannah Ownbey caught up to her on the breaststroke, but she came home in 56.61 to secure her lead with about a half body length win over top seeded Goerigk.

South Carolina’s Lauren Goettler dropped a massive five seconds off her personal best to make it back as the seventh seed in 4:10.27.

Men’s 400 IM — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 3:31.84, Leon Marchand (ASU) – 2023 ASU vs Cal
  • SEC Record: 3:33.42, Chase Kalisz (UGA) — 2017 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 3:35.76, Hugo Gonzalez (AUB) — 2018 SEC Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 3:39.16
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 3:43.50

Top 8:

  1. Baylor Nelson (TAMU) – 3:39.58
  2. Mason Laur (FLOR) – 3:40.18
  3. Anze Fers Erzen (TAMU) – 3:41.65
  4. Ian Grum (UGA) – 3:41.71
  5. Andres Puente Bustamante (TAMU) – 3:41.74
  6. Giovanni Linscheer (FLOR) – 3:41.99
  7. Landon Driggers (TENN) – 3:42.03
  8. Zane Rosely (UKY) – 3:43.53

Baylor Nelson, last night’s 200 IM SEC champion, is the top seed heading into finals of the 400 IM tonight. The freshman was the only swimmer to crack 3:40 this morning, clocking 3:39.58. That’s about 1.2 seconds off the lifetime best 3:38.39 he posted at the Art Adamson Invite earlier this season.

Mason Laur challenged Nelson for the heat win, outsplitting him on the freestyle leg 51.99 to 52.10. He ran out of pool though, and heads into finals as the second seed in 3:40.18, which is a personal best for him by over three seconds.

The Aggie IM crew showed up this morning, as in addition to Nelson, Anze Fers Erzen and Andres Puente Bustamante both secured lanes in the ‘A’ final as the third and fifth seeds, respectively. Fers Erzen held off a challenge from Tennessee sophomore Landon Driggers in heat 3 for the heat win; Driggers touched about a second off his lifetime best in 3:42.03.

In heat 2, Georgia’s Ian Grum came from behind on the final 50, splitting 25.47 to grab the heat win ahead of Puente Bustamante.

Women’s 100 Butterfly — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 48.89, Maggie MacNeil (MICH) – 2021 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 49.39, Erika Brown (TENN) — 2020 SEC Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 49.38, Erika Brown (TENN) — 2020 SEC Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.92
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 52.35

Top 8:

  1. Maggie Macneil (LSU) – 51.12
  2. Meghan Lee (AUB) – 51.28
  3. Andrea Sansores (ARK) – 51.86
  4. Olivia Theall (TAMU) – 51.97
  5. Sara Stotler (TENN) – 52.07
  6. Olivia Peoples (FLOR) – 52.08
  7. Callie Dickinson (UGA) – 52.09
  8. Rhyan White (BAMA) – 52.38

Maggie Macneil did exactly what she needed to do this morning, swimming a relaxed looking 51.12 to qualify first for finals. Given the speed she’s already shown this week, it seems safe to expect that she will be much faster tonight.

Auburn’s Meghan Lee had a massive swim in the lane next to Macneil. Lee dropped almost a second from the lifetime best she swam earlier this month, posting 51.28. She and Macneil are more than half a second ahead of the rest of the field, as Arkansas fifth-year Andrea Sansores qualfied third in 51.86. Like Lee, this was Sansores’ first swim under the 52 second barrier.

Rounding out the women under 52 seconds was Aggie Olivia Theall, who clocked 51.97 for fourth.

Sara Stotler also swam a lifetime best to qualify for finals, shaving three-tenths off her previous best with a 52.07.

Last year’s runner-up Rhyan White squeaked into the ‘A’ final with a 52.38, just .05 ahead of ninth-place Greta Pelzek.

Men’s 100 Butterfly — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 42.80, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 42.80, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 44.21, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) — 2017 SEC Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 44.82
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 45.57

Top 8:

  1. Jordan Crooks (TENN) – 44.04 (MEET RECORD)
  2. Josh Liendo (FLOR) – 44.34
  3. Clement Secchi (UMIZ) – 45.21
  4. Bjoern Kammann (TENN) – 45.41
  5. Connor Foote (TAMU) – 45.62
  6. Aidan Stoffle (AUB) – 45.68
  7. Harrison Lierz (TENN) – 46.01
  8. Luke Brice (TENN) – 46.03

Last night, Jordan Crooks joined the ultra-exclusive 17-second 50 freestyle club. In prelims of the 100 fly this morning, he almost joined the sub-44 100 fly club. The Tennessee sophomore blazed a 44.04, breaking the pool and meet records, the latter of which was held by Caeleb Dressel. He was out fast in 20.04 before coming home in 24.00. With that swim, Crooks reclaims the top time in the NCAA this season ahead of the 44.15 Youssef Ramadan threw down at ACCs this morning.

We’re set for another great race between Crooks and Josh Liendo in this final. Liendo qualified second in 44.34 and as the only person within a second of Crooks, is likely the only one in the field capable of challenging him. Earlier in the season, Liendo told SwimSwam that the two things he was focusing on in his adjustment to yards were his underwaters and not breathing on the last 25. Both those skills were on display this morning; it was his underwaters that separated him from the rest of his heat and he successfully went no-breath on the last lap.

Missouri’s Clement Secchi leads the rest of the field off a huge swim; he broke 46 seconds for the first time, dropping .84 seconds for a 45.21.

The Volunteers will be well represented in the ‘A’ final. In addition to Crooks, Bjoern Kammann, Harrison Lierzand Luke Brice all qualified for the ‘A’ final.

Women’s 200 Freestyle — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:39.10, Missy Franklin (CAL) – 2015 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 1:41.21, Meghan Romano (UGA) — 2012 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 1:41.83, Shannon Vreeland (UGA) — 2014 SEC Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:42.84
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:45.42

Top 8:

  1. Chloe Stepanek (TAMU) – 1:43.54
  2. Brooklyn Douthwright (TENN) – 1:43.69
  3. Micayla Cronk (FLOR) – 1:44.17
  4. Ekaterina Nikonova (FLOR) – 1:44.42
  5. Talia Bates (FLOR) – 1:45.01
  6. Kaitlynn Wheeler (UKY) – 1:45.18
  7. Izzy Gati (UKY) – 1:45.38
  8. Polina Nevmovenko (AUB) – 1:45.59

Chloe Stepanek and Brooklyn Douthwright are separated by just .15 seconds heading into finals. They both won their respective prelims heat. Stepanek has the edge as the top qualifier in 1:43.54, but Douthwright has gone faster at this meet; she led-off Tennessee’s silver medal 800 free relay in 1:42.45, the fastest time in the NCAA so far this season. Last year, the two went 2-3 in the event with Douthwright getting the better of Stepanek.

There’s a trio of Gators lurking in third through fifth though, that they absolutely can’t forget about. Micayla Cronk is first of the three, qualifying with a new lifetime best of 1:44.17. She’s followed closely by Ekaterina Nikonova (1:44.42) and Talia Bates (1:45.02). Nikonova’s time is also a personal best by about four-tenths. Last year, the Gators only had Bates in the ‘A’ final, so this is a big points pickup for them.

The Wildcat duo of Kaitlynn Wheeler and Izzy Gati also made it back for the championship heat. This is a big improvement for Wheeler, who won the ‘C’ final last year in 1:46.26.

Men’s 200 Freestyle — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:29.15, Dean Farris (HARV) – 2019 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 1:29.48, Kieran Smith (FLOR) — 2021 SEC Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 1:29.48, Kieran Smith (FLOR) — 2021 SEC Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:31.98
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:33.08

Top 8:

  1. Charlie Hawke (BAMA) – 1:31.85
  2. Jack Dahlgren (UMIZ) – 1:32.21
  3. Macguire McDuff (FLOR) – 1:32.45
  4. Bradley Dunham (UGA) – 1:33.07
  5. Koko Bratanov (TAMU) – 1:33.16
  6. Kaique Alves (BAMA) – 1:33.27
  7. Brooks Curry (LSU) – 1:33.31
  8. Max Berg (UKY) – 1:33.37

Alabama’s Charlie Hawke defended his top seed, posting the fastest time in the men’s 200 freestyle prelims. He was the only man to get under 1:32 this morning, swimming 1:31.85, about three-tenths off his personal best from midseason.

Just behind at 1:32.21 is Missouri fifth-year Jack Dahlgren. Leading off the Tigers’ 800 free relay, he ripped a new personal best and school record of 1:31.17–the fastest time in the NCAA this season. We know from that swim that he’s on form, so look for him to be closer to that time tonight.

Brooks Curry, last year’s silver medalist, was out fast in heat 6. By the 150-yard mark though, the field had caught up with him, and Macguire McDuff surged ahead for the heat win in 1:32.45, with Curry finishing well back in 1:33.31. Sitting seventh, Curry has a lot of work to do tonight if he wants to repeat or better his finish from last year. For McDuff, that’s a new personal best, cutting .03 seconds off the 1:42.48 he led off the Gators’ 800 free relay with.

Georgia’s Bradley Dunham had a big swim to qualify fourth in 1:33.07. It’s Dunham’s first time under 1:34, and betters the personal best he swam in January 2023 by over a second.

Last year’s fourth place finisher Jake Magahey, added about a second and a half from his seed time and finished 14th.

In This Story

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9 months ago

Did Dressel swim the 100 fly at 2018 SECs? Isn’t that the meet when he went 1:38.13 in the 200IM and 50.04 in the 100BR?

Octavio Gupta
Reply to  M L
9 months ago

No. 100 free

Grant Drukker
Reply to  M L
9 months ago

that is correct he swam his off events.

Marcus Swims
9 months ago

Florida proves once again it is specifically a distance swimming school. Crooks is dominating the sprints. Thought it would be a little closer….

Go Mizzou
9 months ago

By now you should include a Pic of Dahlgren in “In this story”. That dude is lights out in so many events!

9 months ago

Weyant looking to be in much better form than her split on the 800 relay suggested. Maybe just a fluke off swim?

Reply to  zdhamme86
9 months ago

In a previous thread someone commented that something went wrong on her start on that relay. She dove in even with the girl next to her, but came up a body-length behind.

Reply to  bignowhere
9 months ago

Her dive looked odd if you watch it back.

Reply to  bignowhere
9 months ago

I didn’t notice but will rewatch. I thought maybe she had gone out too quickly as she really fell off the pace the second 100

9 months ago

After mid seasons, I had Baylor Nelson as my early pick for freshman of the year, and I still do, but it’s hard to ignore what Liendo has been doing

9 months ago

Brooks Curry is washed!!! Defending NCAA 50 free champ can’t even get top 5 in his own conference, barely made A final in the 2fr???? Unbelievable. WASHED

Former Big10
9 months ago

Crooks vs Liendo is going to be awesome the next couple years

9 months ago

none of the finalists in the ACC men’s 200 free would’ve made the A final here?

Former Big10
Reply to  emma
9 months ago

Only going to get more impressive with UT coming next year

Grant Drukker
Reply to  Former Big10
9 months ago

Think UT is 2024-2025 season.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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