By Roots Woodruff
TUSCALOOSA, AL., Feb. 22. THE RACES for the men's and women's Southeastern Conference titles have turned into brawls here this week. On both the men and the women's side of the slate, the top three teams are separated by just a handful of points at the end of competition on Day Two.
On the women's side Auburn, Florida, and four-time defending champion Georgia are with 7 points of one another. The Tigers are first with 258.5 points,
followed by the Lady Gators and the Lady Dogs with 256 and 252 respectivley.
Alabama is in fourth with 166 points. Kentucky (148), LSU (141), Tennessee (103), South Carolina (96) and Arkansas (80.5) round out the standings.
On the men's side, Tennessee and Auburn are seven points apart at 249 and 242 respectively. Florida isn't far back with 222.5 points. Kentucky is in fourth with 148, followed by Georgia (119.5), South Carolina (110), LSU (105) and Alabama (65).
The night started out with a pair of down to the wire distance races. Kevin Clements, a junior from Auburn and Ricardo Monasterio, a senior from Florida, battled over 20 laps to finish within one-tenth of a second of
each other. Clements won the race with a 4:19.27. Monasterio clocked 4:19.37.
In the women's 500 freestyle, freshmen swept the top four spots, with Florida's Janelle Atkinson using a strong finish to take first with a 4:43.38.
Records started to fall with the women's 200 IM. Auburn's Maggie Bowen won the event with an SEC and Alabama Aquatic Center record of 1:57.26, the nation's fastest time this season. She needed to go fast, as georgia's Keegan Walkley clocked 1:59.15 for second and Florida frosh Jamie Ellis was right behind in 1:59.22.
In the men's 50 freestyle, South Carolina junior Zsolt Gaspar, of Hungary, defended his SEC 50 freestyle crown with a pool record 19.53, well ahead of Auburn's Greg Busse (19.70).
On the women's side of the sprint howdown, Auburn freshman Eileen Coparropa, who hails from Panama, set an SEC and Alabama Aquatic Center record with a 22.35 showing in the 50 freestyle. Florida's Leah Martindale, an import from Barbados, was second in 22.68.
Florida junior Duncan Sherrard won the men's 200 IM with a very strong 1:45.38. Auburn's Jeff Somensatto was a solid second in 1:46.77 while Tennessee's Jeremy McDonnel was right behind in 1:46.86.
Sophomore Jamie Sanger of Tennessee won the women's one-meter diving competition with a 311.70.
Tennessee's men made it a perfect three for three in relay when Chris Hussey, Renato Gueraldi, Mike Burton and Michael Gilliam combined to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:18.17, breaking the pool record in the process. The Vols had already won the 200 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay during Day One of the meet.
The Auburn women's 200 freestyle relay of Coparropa, Cassiday Maxwell, Robyn Williford and Cortnee Adams outraced the second place Gators and set a new pool record of 1:30.59 in the process.
The meet continues Friday and concludes Saturday. Friday features the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and the men's three-meter diving.
1. Auburn 258.5
2. Florida 256
3. Georgia 252
4. Alabama 166
5. Kentucky 148
6. LSU 141
7. Tennessee 103
8. So. Carolina 96
9. Arkansas 80.5
1. Tennessee 249
2. Auburn 242
3. Florida 222.5
4. Kentucky 148
5. Georgia 119.5
6. So. Carolina 110
7. LSU 105
8. Alabama 64
Men's 500 freestyle-
1. Kevin Clements JR AU 4:19.27
2. Ricardo MonasterioSR UF 4:19.37
3. James Galloway SO AU 4:21.30
Women's 500 freestyle –
1. Janelle AtkinsonFR UF 4:43.38
2. Julie Hardt FR UGA 4:44.00
3. Sara McCarty FR UF 4:46.68
Men's 200 IM –
1. Duncan Sherrard JR UF 1:45.38
2. Jeff Somensatto SR AU 1:46.77
3. Jeremy McDonnellJR UT 1:46.86
Women's 200 IM –
1. Maggie Bowen SO AU 1:57.26*#
2. Keegan Walkley SR UGA 1:59.15
3. Jamie Ellis FR UF 1:59.22
Men's 50 freestyle-
1. Zsolt Gaspar JR USC 19.53#
2. Greg Busse SR AU 19.70
3. Jayme Carlos FR UF 19.91
Women's 50 freestyle –
1. Eileen CoparropaFR AU 22.35*#
2. Leah MartinindaleJR UF 22.68
3. Jaime Siegele SR UK 22.72
Women's 1-meter diving-
1. Jamie Sanger SO UT 311.70
2. Karen RubensteinFR AU 287.00
3. Jamie Watkins JR LSU 283.65
Men's 200 freestyle relay-
1. Tennessee 1:18.17#
2. Florida 1:18.62
3. Auburn 1:19.07
Women's 200 freestyle relay-
1. Auburn 1:30.59#
2. Florida 1:30.81
3. Georgia 1:30.93
* SEC Record
#Alabama Aquatic Center Record
+Alabama School Record