University of Florida Distance Dominance Is Real as Gators Go 7 Of Top 9

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 6

February 19th, 2022 College, National, News, SEC

The University of Florida men took seven out of the nine top spots in the 1650 free at SEC Championships on Saturday, showing just how deep their distance squad is even without their biggest stars. 

Men’s 1650 Freestyle, Top 9 Finishers:

  1. Trey Freeman (Florida): 14:39.74
  2. Jake Magahey (Georgia): 14:40.20
  3. Tyler Watson (Florida): 14:40.45
  4. Michael Bonson (Auburn): 14:44.63
  5. Oskar Lindholm (Florida): 14:50.78
  6. Alfonso Mestre (Florida): 14:53.32
  7. Nicholas Hernandez-Tome (Florida): 14:54.46
  8. Jack VanDeusen (Florida): 14:55.57
  9. Brennan Gravley (Florida): 14:58.86

Despite not having defending NCAA champion and US Open record holder Bobby Finke, who is out under COVID-19 protocols, the Florida men still scored 173 out of 362 available points in the event–more than all of the other times combined. The only non-Florida swimmers mixed within the Gators as the top placers were Georgia’s Jake Magahey and Auburn’s Michael Bonson, who finished second and fourth respectively.

In addition to being dominant in distance, the Gator men also share a common trait of closing ridiculously fast. We all know that Finke is notorious for blowing everyone away in his final 50, but he doesn’t seem to be the only Florida man doing so. In this 1650 in particular, Florida’s Trey Freeman closed the race in a 23.9 on his final 50, running down Magahey and teammate Tyler Watson after being in third behind them at the 1600-yard mark. 

Freeman edged out Magahey by fourth-tenths to win the race, after being a whole second behind him before the final 50. 

In fact, Freeman’s closing split was faster than any man in the 1650 at NCAAs last year, including the champion Finke himself who closed in a 24.79. Finke, the man who made the Florida closing speed famous, was the only man at 2021 NCAAs that came even close to Freeman’s closing split from SECs, as nobody else was within a second of it. The next-fastest closer at NCAAs was third-place finisher Ross Dant, who closed in a 24.95.

Every day, Katie Ledecky’s decision to train at Florida makes more-and-more sense.

The mile gave Florida men have a massive lead with 1149 points, with Tennessee trailing a whole 391 points behind. Before the event, the gap between Florida and Tennessee was only 237 points, which goes just to show how much damage the Gators did with their distance swimming.

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1 year ago

Anyone have the video to this race?

Reply to  Ghost
1 year ago

I found it …thanks!

1 year ago

imagine going 14:58 and STILL being 8th on the team

Last edited 1 year ago by jablo
1 year ago

So they just took a 200 point lead and made it a 400 point lead after one event, even though their top swimmer (Finke) was absent from the event. That is dominance. WOW

Reply to  CavaDore
1 year ago

And Hillis had to leave after first day

1 year ago

So far off of finke it’s not even funny

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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