SEC – WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING
- When: Wednesday, February 17 – Saturday, February 20, 2021
- Where: W Swimming: Gabrielson Natatorium – Athens, GA (Eastern Zone) /Diving: Mizzou Aquatics Center – Columbia, MO (Central Time Zone)
- Champion: Kentucky (1x)
In the lead-up to NCAA conference meet season, we previewed all ten major conference meets and took a stab at predicting a team order. Now, we’re looking back at those picks to see how the final team standings shook out. Where were we wrong? Where were we right? Which teams over-performed and under-performed compared to expectations?
- Texas A&M
- South Carolina
Actual Finish Order (With Change from our picks noted in parentheses)
- Kentucky (+3)
- Florida (+1)
- Georgia (-2)
- Alabama (+2)
- Tennessee (-3)
- Texas A&M (-1)
- Missouri (-)
- Arkansas (-)
- Auburn (-)
- LSU (-)
- South Carolina (-)
- Vanderbilt (-)
In this one, we probably would have been better served by relying more on returning conference points than on mid-season Swimulator projections, which had Georgia solidly in the lead and Kentucky back in fourth. Turns out, Kentucky’s strong post-season swimming was very repeatable, and a team that returned 75% of its individual points from 2020 SECs only got stronger by retaining experience.
Diving also played a role. Kentucky earned 79 total dive points, with Kyndal Knight doing the bulk of the scoring work there. That was a huge margin over Georgia (32 dive points), though it was Florida (161 dive points) that benefited most on the boards among the top few programs.
Further down, Alabama well outperformed our expectations. They were 5th in Swimulator projections and we picked them 6th, but the Crimson Tide swam great, even despite a mid-season coaching change. Perhaps we read too much into the impact coaching uncertainty would have on the team’s postseason performances.
Clearly in this conference, at least, the bottom teams were much easier to stratify and accurately predict. We were dead-on with every team from 7th place to 12th place, and the final scores show a pretty significant gap between most of those teams – Missouri and Arkansas were the only ones particularly close to one another, separated by 21.5 points.