2021 SEC MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Tuesday, February 23 – Friday, February 26, 2021
- Columbia, MO – University of Missouri
- Prelims/Finals: 10 AM/5 PM Tues, 10 AM/6 PM Weds-Fri (Central Standard Time)
- Defending Champion: Florida (8x) (results)
- Live Video – SEC Network
- Championship Central
- Updated psych sheet
- Live Results
- Day 4 Prelims Heat Sheets
- Day 4 1650 Free Heat Sheets
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).
TEAM SCORES (THRU DAY 3)
- Florida, 961.5
- Georgia, 881
- Tennessee, 655
- Texas A&M, 631
- Missouri, 601
- Kentucky, 577
- Alabama, 548
- Auburn, 502
- LSU, 323.5
- 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.