COLLEGE STATION, Texas, February 22. IN what proved to be a heavyweight matchup between Texas A&M's Breeja Larson and Tennessee's Molly Hannis, Larson had more in the tank down the stretch and took down the 100-yard breaststroke NCAA, American and U.S. Open records at the Southeastern Conference Championships.
Hannis took off in a ridiculously fast time of 27.09 at the wall, faster than the fastest 50-yard breast currently on record in the USA Swimming database. That time stands to Megan Jendrick, who has a blistering 27.11 on her resume from the 2007 Chesapeake Elite Pro-Am. Larson, however, overhauled Hannis down the stretch after touching in 27.37 at the wall as Larson beat Hannis to the finish 57.43 to 58.24.
Larson's time clipped her U.S. Open, NCAA and American records of 57.53 set last November. It also beat the short-lived SEC record of 58.22 set when Larson and Hannis tied this morning. Auburn's Lindsey Norberg wound up third in 59.43.
CollegeSwimming.com Interview with Breeja Larson
The Florida men opened the night in a big way with a 1-2-3 finish in the 200-yard fly as Marcin Cieslak edged teammate Sebastien Rousseau by the slimmest of margins, 1:42.17 to 1:42.18. Additionally, Cameron Martin claimed third-place honors with a time of 1:43.04. Along with Dan Wallace's fifth-place 1:44.18, the Gators piled up more than 100 points in the finale. South Carolina's Michael Flach was the top non-Gator with a fourth-place 1:43.42.
While the big news of the night on the women's side definitely was Larson's record-breaking swim, the Aggies definitely had more to talk about in other events. Texas A&M pulled off a 1-2 in the women's 200-yard fly to begin the women's events tonight. Cammile Adams clipped the SEC meet record in the distance fly with a 1:52.48. That swim beat the 1:52.53 clocked by Florida's Jemma Lowe in 2009. Meanwhile, Caroline McElhany checked in with a second-place 1:53.24. Tennessee's Kelsey Floyd turned in a third-place 1:54.78.
Although down 200 points to Florida, the Auburn men showed some fight in the men's 100-yard back as Kyle Owens posted an NCAA A cut time of 45.60 for the win. A time just half-a-second off Ryan Lochte's 2005 meet record of 45.19. Tennessee's Sam Rairden (46.07) and Missouri's Logan Mosley (46.74) placed second and third in the event.
Texas A&M completed the women's swimming event title sweep of the evening as Paige Miller topped the 100-yard backstroke with a 51.62. That gave the Aggies its eighth-straight conference win in the women's 100-yard back, but its first in Southeastern Conference action after winning seven straight in the Big 12. Georgia's Megan Romano, now known for an incredible 20.99 anchor last night in the 200-yard free relay, earned second-place honors with a 51.82, while Florida's Sinead Russell (51.95) and Missouri's Dominique Bouchard (52.08) went 3-4 all under the NCAA A cut. Texas A&M scored another top-eight finish with a fifth-place 52.36 from Tess Simpson.
Georgia's Nic Fink tracked down an A cut in the men's 100-yard breaststroke with a 52.34, while Misouri's Igor Kozlovskij placed second in 52.89. LSU's Andrei Tuomoloa wound up third in 53.02. Florida picked up some prime team points as Matt Elliott (53.41) and Richard Munch (53.58) finished sixth and eighth.
Tennessee's Tori Lamp defended her platform diving title with 341.90 points, while Texas A&M's Jesse Macaulay nearly gave the Aggies a fourth SEC women's title on the night with a second-place 328.20. Georgia's Laura Ryan earned third with 319.95 points.
Auburn smashed the field in the men's 400-yard medley relay was Kyle Owens (45.69), Stuart Ferguson (52.85), Arthur Mendes (46.05) and Marcelo Chierighini (41.33) won in 3:05.92. Florida's Corey Main (46.91), Matt Elliott (52.79), Marcin Cieslak (45.78) and Bradley de Borde (42.32) placed second in 3:07.80. Tennessee's Sean Lehane (47.10), Renato Prono (53.20), Sam Rairden (46.04) and Ed Walsh (42.86) completed the podium with a third-place 3:09.20. Georgia (3:09.77) and LSU (3:10.42) touched fourth and fifth in what proved to be a strong finale as the top five teams earned NCAA A cuts.
Texas A&M then collected an astonishing fifth SEC women's title on the night with an SEC record time of 3:28.93 in the women's 400-yard medley relay. Paige Miller (52.21), Breeja Larson (57.26), Caroline McElhany (51.61) and Liliana Ibanez Lopez (47.85) won the event, beating the previous SEC time of 3:30.36 set by Tennessee in 2012. The squad also came within striking distance of California's 2012 NCAA and U.S. Open record of 3:28.10.
Georgia's Megan Romano (51.88), Melanie Margalis (59.00), Lauren Harrington (52.72) and Allison Schmitt (47.74) finished second in 3:31.34, while Tennessee's Lauren Solernou (52.78), Molly Hannis (59.19), Kelsey Floyd (52.26) and Lindsay Gendron (47.57) took third in 3:31.80. Auburn (3:32.44) and Florida (3:32:94) also cleared the NCAA A cut with fourth and fifth-place finishes.
Men's Team Scores
Texas A&M 517.5
South Carolina 444.5
Women's Team Scores
Texas A&M 985
South Carolina 192