2018 SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, February 14 – Sunday, February 18
- Rec Center Natatorium, College Station, TX (Central Time Zone)
- Prelims 10AM / Finals 6PM
- Defending Champion: Florida (5x) (results)
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live results
- Live Video (finals)
The Texas A&M women have a great many strengths and have had success in a wide variety of events over their rise to national prominence across the last decade. But, among those successes, there is perhaps no event in which they’ve had better sustained results than the breaststrokes.
They ratified that expectation on Sunday on the final day of the 2018 SEC Championships when they swam to the top 4 spots in the women’s 200 breaststroke, and 5 of the top 7 finishers overall.
1. Sydney Pickrem, Jr, 2:04.62
2. Anna Belousova, Soph, 2:05.08
3. Bethany Galat, Sr, 2:06.77
4. Esther Gonzalez, Sr, 2:07.15
7. Jorie Caneta, Sr, 2:09.16
In the process, Pickrem set an SEC Championship Meet Record and jumped into 5th-place all-time among 200 breaststrokers. Belousova now sits 9th on the all-time performers list as well. There have never in NCAA history been a pair of teammates this fast in the 200 breaststroke, and that’s without consideration to the other 3 swimmers marching down the chain.
Pickrem is also now ranked 1st in the NCAA in the event this season, jumping ahead of the LCM World Record holder Lilly King of Indiana, who swam 2:04.68 at the Big Ten Championships this weekend. Of the school’s 9 NCAA women’s swimming event titles, 4 of them are in breaststroke races. That includes Alia Atkinson, who along with Julia Wilkinson (100 free, 200 IM) kicked off the program’s national-title-relevance with a national title in the 200 breaststroke in 2010. It also includes Breeja Larson, who won 3-straight 100 breaststroke titles from 2012-2014 and reignited U.S. women’s breaststroking after the Rebecca Soni era.
The Aggies scored 36 points in the 200 breaststroke at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, more than any other single event for them. Even after the graduation of Ashley McGregor, the Aggie women haven’t missed a beat. If NCAAs were scored based on current national rankings, the A&M women would place 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 7th-place points. That would be worth 63 points.
Larson is now the only swimmer in SEC history faster than Pickrem in this event, with a 2:04.48 from November of 2012.
With just platform diving and the 400 free relay remaining, the A&M women have a 298-point lead over Georgia and are on their way toward a 3rd-straight SEC Championship.