2024 SEC Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap

2024 SEC SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Day 2 Prelims Heat Sheets

After things got underway with relays and diving on Monday and Tuesday, the first full day of action at the 2024 SEC Championships is here.

Following the traditional NCAA schedule, this first prelim session features heats in the women’s and men’s 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free.

The big news from the heat sheets and the prelims scratch report is that Bella Sims won’t contest the 500 freestyle, an event where she owns the top time in the NCAA this season (4:32.53). Instead, Sims is entered NT in the 200 IM. Her best time in the event is a 1:52.73 from 2022 Winter Juniors. Her teammate Isabel Ivey owns the conference’s top time this season (1:54.18) and she’ll also race the 200 IM today.

Sims dropping the 500 free clears the way for Rachel Stege to really take control of the race. Sims and Stege had a great battle at the Georgia Fall Invite; Sims won the race but Stege swam a massive personal best time of 4:32.87. That time gives her an almost three second advantage on the rest of the field heading into the day.

In the men’s 500 freestyle, Jake Magahey and Charlie Hawke will race side by side in the final heat. Leading off the 800 freestyle relay yesterday, Hawke swam a 1:30.75, dropping .45 seconds off his personal best. He comes into the 500 freestyle with a personal best 4:12.91 from midseason and Magahey holds down the top seed with a 4:10.60. Defending champion Jake Mitchell races two heats earlier.

Along with Mitchell, Baylor Nelson and Jordan Crooks are also getting set to defend their 2023 crowns. Nelson and Crooks are the top seeds in their respective events. Nelson is seeded with a 1:41.33 in the 200 IM and Crooks comes in with his 18.40 50 freestyle from midseason. He and Josh Liendo–who raced on the 800 free relay on Day 1 rather than the 200 medley–are the only two in the conference who have been sub-19 seconds this season but look for that to change this morning.

Team Scores Thru Day 1

Women:

  1. Auburn — 167
  2. Florida — 160
  3. Tennessee — 147
  4. LSU — 146
  5. Georgia — 134
  6. Texas A&M — 129
  7. Alabama — 127
  8. Missouri — 107
  9. South Carolina — 99
  10. Kentucky — 98
  11. Vanderbilt — 62

Men:

  1. Texas A&M — 199
  2. Florida — 180
  3. Tennessee — 155
  4. Georgia — 150
  5. Auburn — 127
  6. Alabama — 116
  7. Missouri — 111
  8. LSU — 106
  9. Kentucky — 101
  10. South Carolina — 93

WOMEN’S 500 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 4:24.06, Katie Ledecky (STAN) – 2017 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 4:32.53, Brittany MacLean (UGA) / Bella Sims (FLOR)  – 2014 NCAAs / 2023 Georgia Fall Invite
  • SEC Championship Record: 4:33.10, Brittany MacLean (UGA) – 2016
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 4:37.89
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 4:41.09

‘A’ Final Qualifiers: 

  1. Abby McCulloh (UGA) — 4:37.43 (NCAA ‘A’ Standard)
  2. Emma Weyant (FLOR) — 4:38.83
  3. Rachel Stege (UGA) — 4:39.10
  4. Hayden Miller (TAMU) — 4:39.72
  5. Julia Mrozinski (TENN) — 4:40.85
  6. Kate McCarville (TENN) — 4:41.33
  7. Jillian Barczyk (UGA) — 4:41.38
  8. Abby Grottle (TAMU) — 4:41.97

Georgia’s Abby McCulloh went to work in the first circle-seeded heat of the women’s 500 freestyle. She swam the first sub-4:40 of the session with a 4:37.43, which held up as the fastest time of the morning through the last two heats of the event. It’s another personal best time for McCulloh, who’s been dropping time in the 200/500 freestyle throughout the season. Her 4:37.43 is another .68 second drop, bettering the 4:38.11 she swam at the Georgia Fall Invite.

Emma Weyant, Rachel Stegeand Hayden Miller joined McCulloh under the 4:40 mark in prelims. Weyant clocked 4:38.83 to win the penultimate heat comfortably. Stege–the defending champion–built her way into the race, swimming past Tennessee’s Kate McCarville on the back half to win the final heat in 4:39.10.

Miller, who transferred to Texas A&M from Florida this season, got under 4:40 for the first time this season with a new personal best 4:39.72, dropping .16 from her old PB (set at 2023 SECs). Her Aggie teammate Abby Grottle joins her in the ‘A’ final after finishing 15th last year.

Moving up from the 2023 ‘B’ final along with McCulloh and Grottle is McCarville. She and her teammate Julia Mrozinski make it two Vols in the ‘A’ final. UGA leads the way with three ‘A ‘finalists, while Tennessee and Texas A&M both have two.

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
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 4:10.74
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 4:14.36

‘A Final Qualifiers:

  1. Mason Mathias (AUB) — 4:12.26
  2. Jake Magahey (UGA) — 4:12.36
  3. Giovanni Linscheer (FLOR) — 4:13.10
  4. Andrew Taylor (FLOR) — 4:13.48
  5. Charlie Hawke (BAMA) — 4:13.63
  6. Jovan Lekic (LSU) — 4:13.93
  7. Jake Mitchell (FLOR) — 4:14.33
  8. Michael Bonson (AUB) — 4:14.84

Mason Mathias took the lead early in heat 5 and didn’t look back. Mathias held off a charge from the Gator pair Giovanni Linscheer and Andrew Taylor, posting a 4:12.26. That held as the fastest time of the morning as Jake Magahey won the last heat in 4:12.36, a tenth off Mathias’ time. A year removed from winning the ‘B’ final, Mathias heads into the final as the top qualifier and giving the home team their first top seed of the championships.

Magahey swam away from Charlie Hawke in heat 6 and posted the only other sub-4:13 time of the morning. Linscheer, Taylor and defending champion Jake Mitchell make it three Gators up in the ‘A’ final. Mitchell won the first circle-seeded heat in 4:14.33 which will give him an outside lane in tonight’s final.

LSU’s Jovan Lekic had a huge swim out of the a non-circle seeded heat. Lekic, a freshman from Bosnia and Herzegovina, swam 4:13.93, taking a whopping 9.08 seconds off his personal best time. This was only his fourth time swimming this event and shatters the mark he posted at a January dual meet (4:23.01). The first two times he swam this event he clocked a pair of 4:31s; now he’s gotten under the 2023 Invited Time.

Last year, it took 4:15.04 to make the ‘A’ final, this year Michael Bonson took 8th with a season-best 4:14.84.

WOMEN’S 200 IM – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:48.37, Kate Douglass (UVA) – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 1:51.62, Meghan Small (TENN) – 2019 SEC Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 1:51.62, Meghan Small (TENN) – 2019
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 1:53.66
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:56.90

‘A Final Qualifiers:

  1. Josephine Fuller (TENN) — 1:53.59 (NCAA ‘A’ Standard)
  2. Zoie Hartman (UGA) — 1:54.36
  3. Zoie Dixon (FLOR) — 1:54.55
  4. Isabel Ivey (FLOR) — 1:54.67
  5. Bella Sims (FLOR) — 1:55.12
  6. Brooklyn Douthwright (TENN) — 1:56.40
  7. Hannah Ownbey (AUB) — 1:56.70
  8. Sara Stotler (TENN) — 1:57.12

Florida and Tennessee took over in the women’s 200 IM, both getting three swimmers into tonight’s ‘A’ final. Leading the way is Josephine Fuller, who swam a new personal best of 1:53.59 for the top time out of the heats.

Fuller had a big breakout last season and finished 2nd in the 200 IM/100 back/200 back in 2023. She’s set herself up well heading into the final, breaking her old best of 1:54.09 and hitting the NCAA ‘A’ standard. She heads into the final .77 seconds up on 2nd seed Zoie Hartman. Hartman is the defending champion in this event and swam a season-best 1:54.36 to safely move through to the final in 2nd.

The last heat saw a great race between Gator teammates Zoe Dixon and Isabel Ivey. Ivey had the slight lead at the halfway point but Dixon fought back on the breaststroke and freestyle legs. At the touch, Dixon got the better of Ivey, 1:54.55 to 1:54.67. That marks a new PB for Dixon and her first time sub-1:55.

Out of the first heat, Bella Sims put together a 1:55.12, which held as the fastest time until Fuller’s swim in heat 6 and is good enough for 5th overall. Sims was under SEC record pace through the first 100-yards courtesy of her 24.16/27.63 splits. The record pace got away from her on the breaststroke leg but Sims looks like she has more in the tank for tonight.

Brooklyn Douthwright and Sara Stotler are the Vols other two qualifiers for the final. Hannah Ownbey qualified for the ‘A’ final in 1:56.70, guaranteeing that she’ll improve from her 12th place finish in 2023.

MEN’S 200 IM – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 1:36.34, Leon Marchand (ASU) – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Record: 1:38.13, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018 SEC Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 1:38.13, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 1:41.03
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 1:43.14

‘A Final Qualifiers:

  1. Joaquín González Piñero (FLOR) — 1:42.07
  2. Zach Hils (UGA) — 1:42.69
  3. Baylor Nelson (TAMU) — 1:42.82
  4. Julian Smith (FLOR) — 1:42.92
  5. Alex Sanchez (TAMU) — 1:43.52
  6. Danny Schmidt (AUB) — 1:43.56
  7. Mason Laur (FLOR) — 1:43.70
  8. Sean Sullivan (FLOR) — 1:43.77

Joaquín González Piñero had a big swim out of heat 2. Piñero, a Florida sophomore, ripped a 1:42.07 that held up as the fastest time of the men’s 200 IM prelims through the next four heats. It’s a personal best by almost a second for Piñero, who had previously been as fast as 1:43.05 at 2023 NCAAs. Piñero finished 4th in this event last year with a 1:43.09.

He leads a 200 IM ‘A’ final that will be half filled with Gator caps. His teammates Julian Smith (1:42.92), Mason Laur (1:43.70), and Sean Sullivan (1:43.77) all secured lanes in the championship heat tonight all with season-best times.

2023 champion Baylor Nelson made it through to the ‘A’ final as the 3rd seed. He jetted out early in the final heat and took the win with a 1:42.82. Nelson didn’t show his hand too much during his swim; he’s already been as fast as 1:41.33 this season at the Art Adamson Invitational. He’s joined by his teammate Alex Sanchez, who logged a personal best of 1:43.52–his first outing under 1:44–to grab 5th for the final.

WOMEN’S 50 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS

  • NCAA Record: 20.79, Maggie MacNeil (LSU) / Gretchen Walsh (UVA) — 2023 NCAAs / 2023 Tennessee Invite
  • SEC Record: 20.79,  Maggie MacNeil (LSU) – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • SEC Championship Record: 20.98, Maggie MacNeil (LSU) – 2023
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 21.63
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 22.15

‘A Final Qualifiers:

  1. Camille Spink (TENN) — 21.74
  2. Micayla Cronk (FLOR) — 21.97
  3. Mona McSharry (TENN) / Chloe Stepanek (TAMU) — 22.06
  4. (tie)
  5. Bella Cothern (UARK) — 22.08
  6. Kailyn Winter (BAMA) — 22.14
  7. Amber Myers (TENN) — 22.15
  8. Lexie Mulvihill (AUB) — 22.27

Freshman Camille Spink fired off a 21.74 from the final heat for the fastest qualifying time in the women’s 50 freestyle. That marks Spink’s first swim under 22 seconds; she’d set her personal best at 22.15 at the Tennessee vs. Georgia dual a month ago.

Micayla Cronk was the top seed coming into the day. She joined Spink in going under 22 seconds, tying her personal best (set at midseason) with a 21.97. Cronk finished 6th in this race last year. She, Mona McSharryand Chloe Stepanek are the only three who return from the 2023 ‘A’ final. McSharry and Stepanek tied for 3rd in 22.06. That swim marks a personal best for Stepanek, shaving three-hundredths off her previous best set at this meet last year.

Bella Cothern and Kailyn Winter swam personal bests as well. Cothern dropped down to a 22.08 and qualifying in 6th. Prior to this swim, her fastest time was a 22.22 from the 2023 Tennessee Invite. Winter had a similar personal best (22.25) and she posted 22.14 here, beating Amber Myers by a hundredths for the sixth seed.

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: 17.93, Jordan Crooks (TENN) — 2023
  • 2024 NCAA ‘A’ Standard: 18.82
  • 2023 NCAA Invited Time: 19.21

‘A Final Qualifiers:

  1. Jordan Crooks (TENN) — 18.30 (NCAA ‘A’ Standard)
  2. Josh Liendo (FLOR) — 18.77 (NCAA ‘A’ Standard)
  3. Macguire McDuff (FLOR) — 18.87
  4. Gui Caribe (TENN) — 18.88
  5. Adam Chaney (FLOR) — 18.96
  6. Jere Hribar (LSU) — 18.99
  7. Dillon Downing (UGA) — 19.04
  8. Logan Tirheimer (AUB) — 19.16

Jordan Crooks knocked a tenth off his NCAA-leading 50 freestyle time this morning. Crooks claimed the win and the top seed for finals with an 18.30, bettering the 18.40 he swam a midseason. It’s also just five-hundredths off his prelims time from 2023 SECs, which he swam before becoming the second man to break the 18 second barrier.

Josh Liendo claimed the 2nd seed with an 18.77 ahead of his teammate Macguire McDuff. McDuff’s 18.87 is a new best time for him as he drops .08 seconds from the 19.85 he swam at 2023 SECs for 5th place.

Though the qualifying time for the ‘A’ final is slower than it took to make it back to the big heat last year–19.09 in 2023 compared to 19.16 in 2024–there were actually more swimmers sub-19 seconds in prelims this year.

In 2023, only Crooks, Liendo, and McDuff got under that mark in prelims. Today, there were six swimmers as Gui Caribe, Adam Chaneyand Jere Hribar all posted sub-19 prelims swims. It’s Hribar’s first time under the barrier. He’s made an immediate impact as a freshman at LSU and he’s showing here that he’ll only continue to get better as he adjusts to yards. This swim is a .40 second drop for him, blowing past the 19.39 he swam at the LSU vs. Tennessee dual in January.

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Roll away
1 month ago

Wildly disappointing morning for bama men (minus only Charlie). Not unexpected.

Queens
Reply to  Roll away
1 month ago

He went 1:30.7

Mike
Reply to  Queens
1 month ago

this has to be one of the weirder trolls on swimswam

RileyVM
Reply to  Roll away
1 month ago

Ethan tho 🔥

bob
Reply to  Roll away
1 month ago

Unfortunately not unexpected, unlike giving Margo a raise after last season.

Former Big10
1 month ago

Fast prelims! Seems like TN is performing well, and could give the Florida women a tough meet.
Florida looks to be a cut above, on the Men’s side.
TN men missing the IM, and 500, hurts.
Auburn continues their comeback.

PFA
1 month ago

Like how crooks just swam the #1 time in the country even if it was a bit slower than last year in prelims and no one has said anything about it.

Queens
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Charlie Hawke went 1:30.7

Mike
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Victim of his own success because of his 17.9

Sherry Smit
1 month ago

A little suprised with how Florida’s D Group performed on the women’s side. Auld, Pennington, and Debeor (not sure if I spelled that correctly) were out of A final. A little surprising, given the recent success UF has had in distance free. Maybe they didn’t go all out in prelims, and are saving themselves for finals.

chickenlamp
Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

The smart thing for the Florida coaches to do this year is to not go quite as hard at SECs and so that they have more left for NCAAs.

SwimmerGuy
Reply to  chickenlamp
1 month ago

Thats what I was thinking, but this is shaping up to be closer than expected with Tennessee. Will be fun to see how finals goes and if that changes anything on decisions on events. Like putting Sims on the 2IM today was far from optimal.
Maybe it was a bit of a surprise on a few mentioned by Sherry not making it in. and thats the main delta.

Swimmerj
1 month ago

Look for Weyant to be fast in the 500. Her relay split last night was a PB by a mile.

I miss the ISL
1 month ago

DISTANCE DAWGS 🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️🐶🐶🐶🐶

ACC fan
1 month ago

Women’s 50 free prelim winner SEC barely makes ACC final, coming in at 7th. Add Stanford and Cal to the ACC next year and the ACC dominance is sealed.

chickenlamp
Reply to  ACC fan
1 month ago

The ACC definitely needs the help from Stanford and Cal to catch up to SECs: What Did It Take To Score At The Power 5 Conference Championships In 2023? (swimswam.com)

Eli
1 month ago

Florida’s D Group is FIRE. Yeah I said it, this D is 🔥

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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