Casas Chooses Safer Bet, 200 Back, Over 200 Fly on Friday (HEAT SHEETS)

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 6

February 26th, 2021 College, News, SEC


In a meet that was expected to be a barn-burner to the last race, the on-fire Florida Gators appear to have taken command on their path for a 9th-straight SEC title in men’s swimming & diving, catching their opponents from Georgia, Texas A&M, and Alabama a little flat-footed in places.

The Gators hold an 80.5-point lead into the final day of competition, and with 20 entries on the day, they should have enough to hold off the Georgia Bulldogs (who have 22).


  1. Florida, 961.5
  2. Georgia, 881
  3. Tennessee, 655
  4. Texas A&M, 631
  5. Missouri, 601
  6. Kentucky, 577
  7. Alabama, 548
  8. Auburn, 502
  9. LSU, 323.5
  10. South Carolina, 219

The more exciting team battles should come down the table, with the Texas A&M men (21 entries) trying to overtake, and then hold off, a Tennessee team (17 entries) that has outperformed expectations so far at this meet.

The big scratch news on Friday is that Texas A&M junior Shaine Casas will swim the 200 backstroke instead of the 200 fly to close his meet out. After gambling with Casas in the 100 fly on Thursday, where he finished 3rd, over what looked like a comfortable advantage in the 100 back, the Aggie coaching staff has taken the safer bet on Friday.

Casas would have been the top seed in either event, but in the 200 back his mid-season 1:36.54 makes him the top seed by three-and-a-half seconds. Even without being at his bests this week, that margin should be enough for him to add a second win of the meet to his earlier victory in the 200 IM.

Casas won’t swim in the Aggies’ 400 free relay on Saturday, as he already had maxed out his 4 relay swims.

Other Noteworthy Day 4 Event Choices:

  • Kieran Smith of Florida, elsewhere the winner of the 400 IM and 500 free at this meet, will finish with the same lineup as last season, entering the 100 free. Smith was 3rd in the 100 free at last year’s SEC Championship meet, but held the 7th seed, pre-scratches, in both races for this year’s meet.
  • Missouri’s Danny Kovac and Georgia’s Luca Urlando have each chosen the 200 fly over high seeds in the 100 free, though neither was a big surprise. While both are capable sprint freestylers, both are much better known as butterfliers. The 10th seed Eric Friese and 11th seed Ben Patton also dropped the 100 free.
  • More surprising is Missouri sophomore Ben Patton entering the 200 breaststroke as a no-time swimmer rather than the 200 back as the 10th seed. Patton is a well-rounded swimmer who focused more on backstroke as a freshman, but after a 3rd-place finish in the 100 breaststroke on Thursday, his confidence there will be growing.
  • Liam Bell of Alabama chose the 100 free, where he’s now the 6th seed after scratches, over the 200 breast, where he’s the 7th seed pre-scratches. Bell, who fell to the C final of the 100 breaststroke, is part of an Alabama men’s team that hasn’t looked as sharp this week as their women did last week.


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1 year ago

According to Rowdy’s commentary last night, Liam Bell pulled his groin during the prelims swim yesterday. Can anyone confirm this?

1 year ago

Sad. I would have liked to see Casas take the griddy route and just eat up the challenge. I kinda expected him and the coaches to not really care about the “sure victory” at this point since they’re aren’t going to win conference or anything.

Maybe the loss was a bit demoralizing for him so they decided to get him a small morale boost.

1 year ago

Grum is coming for that 200 back. Casas could outlast him last year with more speed but now with IG going 46.00 in the 100, it may be a little too close for comfort with a 50 to go.

Reply to  Swimnerd
1 year ago

I think the guy that goes 43.8 in the 100 and 1:36 mid in the 200 already isn’t too concerned, especially when the second best guy is 1:39

Reply to  Swimnerd
1 year ago

dude what are you on?

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Swimnerd
1 year ago

Casas should have swam that 200fly to avoid what Grum is going to put on him tonight.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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