It will be a battle of two SEC powerhouse programs when Auburn and Florida meet in the final swimming and diving dual meet of the season on Saturday morning at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
Auburn enters the meet ranked No. 6 on the men’s side and No. 11 on the women’s side while Florida, which is the four-time defending SEC Champion, is ranked No. 10 on the men’s side and No. 20 on the women’s side.
“Florida is tough,” head coach Brett Hawke said. “We do match up head-to-head very well. I think it will come down to the last few races. We love to race against them and I think every race will have some emotion involved.”
Two of the nation’s top sprinters will face off during Saturday’s meet in Auburn’s Peter Holoda and Florida’s Caeleb Dressel. Dressel holds the nation’s top time in both the 50 (18.73) and 100 (41.60) freestyles while Holoda is ranked 20th in the 50 (19.58) and eighth in the 100 (42.53).
In the women’s lanes reigning SEC Swimmer of the Week Julie Meynen is looking to extend her unbeaten streak in the 100 free, where her top time of 48.33 ranks 18th nationally.
Joe Patching also owns three of the nation’s top-20 times, ranking 15th in the 200 back (1:42.50), 19th in the 400 IM (3:46.14) and 20th in the 200 IM (1:44.93), in which he is the defending SEC Champion. Luis Martinez ranks 11th in the 100 fly (46.20) and 22nd in the 200 fly (1:44.52) while Michael Duderstadt, the defending SEC breaststroke champion at both distances, is ranked 15th in the 100 (52.83) and 17th in the 200 (1:55.53).
Ashley Neidigh is the only swimmer on either women’s team to own a top-10 time nationally as her 9:41.98 personal-best 1000 free from last week is ninth in the country.
Zoe Thatcher (9:52.34) and Erin Falconer (9:52.52) are 21st and 22nd, respectively, in the 1000 free while Haley Black (52.33) and Aly Tetzloff (52.44) are 20th and 22nd, respectively, in the 100 fly. Bailey Nero’s 1:56.49 in the 200 fly is 22nd.
Auburn will honor 12 of its swimmer’s prior to the meet as part of Senior Day. The 12 are: Taylor Copeland, Kyle Darmody, Duderstadt, Natasha Lloyd, Maddie Martin, Alec Morris, Kristen Murslack, Neidigh, Patching, Genny Pittman, Allyx Purcell and Miranda Telmanik.
“There are some outstanding athletes among this class and some of our best leaders that we’ve had in many years,” Hawke said. “It’s going to be hard to lose athletes like that. They have really set the standard for us this year and it has really improved our team.”
Saturday’s meet begins at 9:30 a.m. CT with women’s 3-meter and men’s 1-meter diving. The senior recognition will begin at 10:15 a.m. and swimming at 10:30 a.m.
Admission is free and the meet will stream live on SECN+.
News courtesy of Auburn Athletics.