Day 1 of the 2015 SEC Championships are abfout to begin, and below we’ll be updating with recaps of each event as they complete. Follow @swimswamlive on Twitter for up-to-the-minute highlights of what’s happening.
Some points have already been awarded in the preliminary rounds of diving on day 1, which will be the biggest scoring swing on day 1, barring any relay DQ’s.
The first night’s relays will include some of the meet’s biggest stars, with Jordan Mattern, Olivia Smoliga, Caeleb Dressel, Nic Fink, Molly Hannis, Kyle Darmody, and Natalie Hinds all expected to race in the meet’s first session.
2015 Women’s SEC Championships
- Tuesday, February 17-Saturday, February 21
- Auburn, Alabama – James E. Martin Aquatic Center
- Prelims/Finals W-F 10AM/6PM, Tuesday 10AM/5:30PM (Central time)
- Defending Champs: Georgia (5x) (results)
- Live results
- Live video
- Championship Central
Men’s 1-Meter Diving – Final
With a huge final dive score of 90 points, earning judges awards of 8.5’s and 9.0’s, Tennessee’s Mauricio Robles got the Volunteers on the board early on the first day of the 2015 SEC Championships.
His final score of 421.15 was a new Meet Record, and jumped him ahead of LSU’s Daniel Helm (411.30) and Georgia freshman Ian Forlini (404.80) for the first SEC title of the 2014-2015 swimming & diving season. Forlini led a few rounds in the middle of this competition, which would have been a huge boost to Georgia’s title hopes, but ultimately settled for 3rd.
South Carolina’s Cole Miller took 4th (379.05), Missouri’s Clark Thomas slid to 5th (371.05) after being the top qualifier in prelims, and Auburn occupied the last three spots – failing to capitalize on their early-round success. The Tigers did, however, score enough to build an early lead in the overall team scoring, a lead they would hold through the men’s 200 medley relay.
Men’s 200 Medley Relay – Timed Final
Leads in the men’s 200 medley relay changed hands many, many times over a minute-and-a-half of racing, but it was butterflier Jacob Thulin who pulled the Tennessee Volunteers into the lead, where they’d stay for good, eventually winning in 1:24.09: the second-fastest time in the country this season.
The difference-maker for the volunteers, though, was freshman Peter John Stevens on the breaststroke leg, where he split 22.72 – which we believe is the fastest 50 yard breaststroke split in NCAA history.
The Alabama men pushed them to the wire, but came up just short despite a very fast 21.11 leadoff from sophomore Connor Oslin. The Crimson Tide, however, didn’t use defending NCAA 50 free champion Kristian Gkolomeev on this relay, so they’ve got a lot of ammunition left for the rest of this meet.
Georgia took 3rd in 1:24.86 (Fink 23.55 breaststroke split), and got a 19.00 freestyle sprint from anchor Michael Trice – marking success in the key leg for them.
Auburn was 4th, anchored by freshman Jacob Molacek with an 18.94 – tied for the fastest split in the field. Florida was 5th with a surprising relay order – they used Caeleb Dressel on the fly leg where he split 20.02, the best split in the field, and Corey Main anchored in 18.94 – also the best split in the field. That cost them on the front-half (Main is likely their best backstroker), but their back-half is one of the best in the country.
Missouri took 6th in 1:25.07, marking the last team to earn an NCAA qualifying time in the event.
Wen’s 200 Medley Relay – Timed Final
The Alabama women swam an NCAA Automatic Qualifying Time in the first heat of the women’s 200 medley relay, and that was just the beginning. In another electric race, seven teams in the final heat would improve that time, with 8 in total booking tickets to NCAA’s.
That was led by the Tennessee Volunteers, who would push their red-hot start for this meet to three-for-three by winning in a nation-leading 1:35.31.
The relay was a combination of Anna DeMonte (25.11), Molly Hannis (26.06), Harper Bruens (22.61), and Faith Johnson (21.53). No returning swimmer in the country was faster than Hannis’ split at NCAA’s last season, with a 22.61 from Bruens being the pleasant surprise on that relay.
While that’s an outlandish time from Bruens, Texas A&M made a big charge on the fly leg as well to go with them, as Beryl Gastaldello split 22.46 for the fastest in the field. Bruens and Gastaldello were both faster than anybody went at last year’s NCAA Championships on the fly split.
The Aggies struggled on the front-half of this race, where they graduated a pair of NCAA Champions from last year’s relay, but Gastaldello’s pulled them all the way back into 2nd, before a 21.57 anchor from Sammie Bosma secured a silver medal.
Auburn took 3rd on a 21.32 anchor from Allyx Purcell. The Auburn sprint group appears to have gotten some of its mojo back early in this meet, as that time by Purcell was the fastest in the field. Georgia was 4th in 1:36.88 (with a 24.11 leadoff from Olivia Smoliga), followed by Florida (1:37.12), LSU (1:37.14), and Missouri (1:37.33).
Women’s 3-Meter Diving – Final
The Georgia women graduated an NCAA Champion diver (Laura Ryan) at the end of last season, but their quest for an NCAA title three-peat got a huge lift on Tuesday when freshman Olivia Ball slid in and took the women’s 3-meter SEC title.
Ball had a huge second dive (72 points) and led the competition nearly wire-to-wire, which built big excitement as she was first in the dive order by just sneaking into the A-Final.
LSU’s Alex Bettrdige took 2nd with a score of 270.60, and South Carolina’s Patti Kranz was 3rd in 368.55.
Men’s 800 Free Relay – Timed Final
The men’s 800 free relay saw the four fastest times in the nation so far this season led by a new SEC Conference Record from the Florida Gators in 6:12.85.
The Gators’ middle-distance depth was on display in full force here. They set the old record of 6:13.03 last season, and of the four swimmers who were on that relay, only one (the anchor Dan Wallace) remained the same.
This year, Wallace joined with Pawel Werner (1:33.69), Nick Alexiou (1:33.83), Mitch D’Arrigo (1:32.95), and added a 1:32.38 of his own, to give the Gators the win.
The Auburn men gave Florida a great battle, and for most of this race had a clear advantage underwater to the Gators’ prowess on top of it. The Tigers, led off by a 1:33.39 NCAA Automatic Qualifying time from Hugo Morris combined for a 6:15.14.
Georgia took 3rd in 6:18.27 after a strong opening leg from Matias Koski (1:33.88) that gave way to the leaders. Tennessee rounded out the “fastest in the nation” group with a 6:19.37 for 4th.
The men from South Carolina (6:21.05) and Alabama (6:22.81) also stamped their tickets to NCAA’s. Alabama used Gkolomeev on this relay, and while that looked good early, he faded to a 1:34.82 and Alabama faded to 6th.
Missouri took 7th in 6:22.93 to miss an NCAA Qualification time, but with their spot already secured in the 200 medley, that relay will get to swim in March.
Women’s 800 Free Relay – Timed Final
The Georgia women put up their 5th-straight SEC title in the women’s 800 free relay, running away with the victory in 6:55.69: a nation-leading time.
The winning team included Jordan Mattern (1:44.73), Brittany MacLean (1:44.15), Amber McDermott (1:43.58), and Hali Flickinger (1:43.23).
Georgia’s dominance overshadowed an intense battle for 2nd that saw Texas A&M redshirt senior Sarah Henry and Florida junior Ashlee Linn hit the water almost identically and finish their legs almost the same. Henry anchored in 1:43.87, which was just enough to hold off Linn’s 1:43.76 and give the A&M women 2nd-place.
The 1-2-3 was the same 1-2-3 that we saw in this race last year, with the Aggies (7:00.17) and Gators (7:00.25) both earning NCAA qualifications.
Arkansas took 4th in 7:05.96, followed by Kentucky (7:06.15) and LSU (7:06.76), all in NCAA Qualifying Standards.
Missouri took 7th in 7:08.43, and the Alabama women were 8th in 7:09.31 – enough to get a spot at NCAA’s when coupled with their earlier swim in the 200 medley relay, and also breaking their own school record by 8 seconds.
Team Scores After Day 1
- Auburn – 177
- Tennessee – 164
- Georgia – 146
- South Carolina – 140
- Missouri – 132
- Texas A&M – 127
- Alabama – 121
- Florida – 119
- LSU – 114
- Kentucky – 98
1. LSU – 164
2. Georgia – 148
3. Kentucky – 144
4. Florida – 140
5. Missouri – 137
6. Texas A&M – 132
7. South Carolina – 120
T-8. Alabama – 105
T-8. Auburn – 105
10. Tennessee – 104
11. Arkansas – 103
12. Vanderbilt – 60