COLLEGE STATION, Texas, February 21. THE Southeastern Conference Championships completed hump day of the five-day meet with some huge upsets, and some amazing top times by top-flight veterans.
Georgia freshman Chase Kalisz blasted his way to an IM sweep in his first SEC championship meet as he rocked a 3:39.82 in the men's 400-yard IM. That swim, matched with his triumph last night in the 200-yard IM, provided him a pair of titles already as an NCAA rookie. Florida's Dan Wallace placed second in 3:41.95, while Georgia's Ty Stewart finished third in 3:43.91. Florida had an amazing finale, however, with four swimmers in the A final. Carlos Omana (3:44.04), Connor Signorin (3:44.14) and Matthew Elliott (3:44.33) finished fourth through sixth to score some major points for the Gators.
Florida's Elizabeth Beisel cracked the 4:00 mark with a winning time of 3:59.53 in the women's 400-yard IM. That time came up just a second shy of her meet mark of 3:58.35 from last year. Texas A&M went 2-3 in the event as Cammile Adams took second in 4:02.12, while 500-yard free champ Sarah Henry earned third in 4:03.75. Georgia, however, put up a strong team outing in the event with the next four A final spots. Annie Zhu (4:05.55), Hali Flickinger (4:09.53), Amber McDermott (4:09.75) and Nicole Vernon (4:12.09) placed fourth through seventh.
Florida kept rolling in the men's events with three swimmers in the finale of the men's 100-yard fly including a victorious 46.02 from Marcin Cieslak. Cameron Martin (46.64) and Bradley deBorde (46.69) took fifth and sixth. Tennessee's Sam Rairden raced to second in 46.19, while Georgia's Doug Reynolds wound up third in 46.40.
Florida won a third-straight title as freshman Natalie Hinds touched out Auburn's Olivia Scott in the women's 100-yard fly, 51.70 to 51.75. Texas A&M's Caroline McElhany picked up third in 51.86, while Tennessee's Kelsey Floyd earned fourth in 52.05.
During the diving break, Missouri's David Bonuchi earned another diving victory with 441.95 points in the men's three-meter event. Kentucky's Greg Ferrucci placed second with 405.55 points, while Auburn's John Santeiu grabbed third with 395.20 points.
The Florida Gators continued steamrolling in swimming with a fourth-consecutive swimming crown as Florida went 1-2 in the men's 200-yard free. Pawel Werner surged to a 1:33.82 for the win, while Sebastien Rousseau placed second in 1:34.02. Alabama's BJ Hornickel earned third in 1:35.23.
Tennessee's Lindsay Gendron stopped the Florida swimming streak with a huge upset in the women's 200-yard freestyle event. Gendron dropped a 1:43.22 in the event, beating two of the fastest 200 freestylers ever in Georgia seniors Megan Romano and Allison Schmitt. Romano, the American record holder in the 200-yard free with a 1:41.21 from last year, finished second in 1:43.38 after becoming the third 20-point 50 split female in the 200 free relay last night. Schmitt, the 200-meter freestyle textile best holder, snared third in 1:43.46. Georgia's Shannon Vreeland wound up fourth in 1:44.30, while other Bulldogs Jordan Mattern (1:45.24) and Kelsey Gaid (1:46.38) took seventh and eighth for huge team points.
Women's Team Scores
Texas A&M 659
South Carolina 148
Men's Team Scores
Texas A&M 426.5
South Carolina 314.5