Southeastern Conference Swimmers, Divers Posted Top Performances in Past Week

PHOENIXA, Arizona, October 18. THE Southeastern Conference is one of the toughest collegiate swimming and diving conferences in the country, as shown by the myriad of top-ranked times posted in the past week by the swimmers and impressive scores by divers.

Below are highlights from each of the 12 teams and their performances from the past week.

Through two meets, the Alabama Crimson Tide men have produced a strong showing in the national top 25. There are 13 men who are currently ranked in the top 25 of 11 different swimming events. Freshman Anton Mckee leads the way for the Tide and the nation. He is ranked first in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes with times of 54.67 and 1:57.98, respectively. Swimming in just his second meet at Alabama, McKee set the pace nationally in the 200 breaststroke by nearly two seconds. McKee also swam the 1,000 freestyle in UA’s first meet of the season at Delta State in a time of 9:28.91, which currently ranks 18th nationally.

On the women’s side of the slate, the Tide has nine women ranked in the top-25 nationally in nine different events. Junior captain Kaylin Burchell leads the way for the Tide, posting top-25 times in three different events. In the 200 breaststroke against FSU, she posted a 2:25.70, placing her second nationally while she posted a 1:01.82 in the 100 breaststroke, which ranks her fourth nationally. In the 200 individual medley Burchell is ranked 13th after touching the wall with a 2:03.77 against FSU.

The Razorback swimming and diving team opened regular season competition Oct. 4 at the North Texas Relay Invitational in Southlake, Texas. The team placed first of four teams with a total of 414 points, winning nine of 10 events. Host team North Texas placed second overall, and Southern Methodist and Houston placed third and fourth, respectively. The team then concluded its trip to North Texas Oct. 5 with a 207-91 win over North Texas. The Razorbacks had wins in 14 of 16 events. Junior Susanna White and sophomore Anna Mayfield both contributed to three event wins during the dual meet. The team will travel to Baton Rouge, La., for its first conference meet against LSU on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The teams last met on Oct.30, 2008, at the Arkansas Natatorium and the Razorbacks defeated the Tigers 151-149.

Auburn’s women’s swimming and diving team won its opening meet of the 2013-14 season, defeating Vanderbilt 158-44 to move to 1- 0 on the year. The Tigers won all 12 events in the meet to kick off the year in style and took the top two spots in 10 out of 12 events. Only the 200 breast and 500 free did Auburn not take second place along with first. In both those events, freshman Annie Lazor and Ashley Neidigh came away with their first wins as Tigers. The women’s team remained unbeaten Saturday at the Notre Dame Tri-Meet after sweeping 18th-ranked Notre Dame and 13thranked Indiana by scores of 180-120 each. The Tigers carried over their strong performance at Vanderbilt two weeks ago and continued to get strong performances from their freshmen, gaining six event wins, two by freshman Allyx Purcell.

As for the men, the Tigers split their season-opening duals, beating the Irish, 153-147, and falling to defending national champion, Michigan, 195-103. In their first competition of the 2013-14 season, Auburn tallied two event wins, claiming first in the 50 free and 200 back. Senior Marcelo Chierighini won the fastest race of the day, touching the wall in 19.93 in the 50 free, while freshman Joe Patching won the 200 back (1:45.85) by an almost full second. Chierighini’s 50 free time was one of two swimmers in the nation to swim a sub-20 50 free time so far this year and the fastes in the conference. Auburn will have short rest before its next meet as it will travel to Charlotte, N.C. to take on Queens University on Oct. 25. Both the men and women will make the trip in two weeks as the women will be looking to stay perfect in the dual season. The meet is scheduled to last one day and will start at 4 p.m.

The University of Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving team started the year with a pair of wins in the Pinch A Penny All Florida Invitational over seven programs from the state of Florida. The Gators picked up 21 NCAA ‘B’ cuts in the opening weekend.

The men’s team opened up dual meet competition with a 172-124 victory over Minnesota last Saturday. The Gators picked up 13 victories out of a possible 16 events, including the fastest time in an exhibitioned 400 freestyle relay. The UF men’s team extended its unbeaten streak in dual meets to 16 straight with Saturday’s victory. The Gators kicked off the meet with a victory in the 400 medley relay behind the foursome of sophomore Corey Main (Auckland, New Zealand), junior Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (Madrid, Spain), senior Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) and senior Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.). The quartet touched in first with a time of 3:13.30. Rousseau and sophomore Arthur Frayler (Fort Washington, Pa.) finished 1-2 in the 1000 free. Rousseau touched in a mark of 9:12.38 and Frayler followed behind in 9:14.37. Later in the meet, Rousseau paced the Gators to a first place performance in the 200 fly, finishing with a time of 1:47.24. In the 500 free, freshman Mitch D’Arrigo (Rome, Italy) earned his first collegiate victory with a first place swim of 4:26.35. In the 200 free, the Gators picked up a clean sweep behind Solaeche-Gomez (1:38.23), Main (1:38.84), D’Arrigo (1:39.23) and junior Carlos Omana (Miami, Fla.-1:39.68). Cieslak scored a victory in the 100 back, coming home in a time of 48.66, and Omana earned a victory in the 200 back (1:46.66). Junior Matt Elliott (Peoria, Ill.) swept the breaststroke events, first winning the 100 yard event in a mark of 55.54. Elliott took the 200 breast in a time of 2:01.68. Junior Dan Wallace churned in a huge victory in the 400 individual medley (3:51.43), beating his nearest competitor by nearly five seconds. Redshirt-sophomore Zach Hernandez (Johns Creek, Ga.) turned in a career best score on the one-meter (356.85) in a first place performance. Both programs will open SEC competition against Missouri on Thursday. The women will face California in a two-day meet beginning on Saturday.

Georgia’s swimming and diving teams remained undefeated on the season by sweeping instate rival Georgia Tech on Tuesday at Gabrielsen Natatorium. The Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 SEC) posted a 184-109 decision, while the Lady Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 SEC) picked up a 187- 88 victory. The Lady Bulldogs extended their home win streak to 85 straight dating back to 1995. That is the school record for all Georgia sports. Coach Jack Bauerle also improved his personal winning streak against the Yellow Jackets. He is now 30-0 all-time against Georgia Tech (19-0 coaching the women, 8-0 coaching the men and 3-0 as a Georgia swimmer). Georgia will return to action Friday at LSU.

The University of Kentucky Swimming and Diving team is coming off a difficult two-meet stretch to open the season. The Wildcats won four events but fell on the road at Georgia Sept. 25 before winning nine contests in a home defeat to Ohio State on Oct. 11. Against the Bulldogs, the UK men lost 162-110, while the women fell 165-98 to the defending NCAA and SEC champions. In their home opener against the Buckeyes, the Wildcat men fell 176-122, while the women lost 195-104. The UK divers have won seven of eight events to open the season. Senior diver Greg Ferrucci has won all four diving competitions and earned the season’s first SEC Male Diver of the Week honor. At Georgia, Ferrucci scored a 376.28 on the 1-meter competition and a 347.48 on the 3-meter event, while he posted a 324.07 and a 320.62 on the 1- and 3-meter springboard, respectively. Junior diver Christa Cabot has notched three wins in her four competitions to open the year. She posted a 298.79 in the 1-meter event at Georgia, followed by a 292.95 and a 287.70 in the 1- and 3-meter competition against Ohio State, respectively.

Junior Christina Bechtel posted two wins against Ohio State and was named the SEC Female Swimmer of the Week. She won the 200 yard butterfly with a time of 2:00.75 and finished the 100 yard butterfly in 54.34 in UK’s home pool. Senior Maclin Simpson has also posted two victories on the year, with a 1:21.51 finish in the 150 yard butterfly at Georgia and a 1:51.10 win in the 200 yard butterfly against OSU.

LSU Swimming and Diving looks to improve from last season’s seventh place Southeastern Conference Championship finish for the women and sixth place finish for the men. The Lady Tigers return five NCAA qualifiers including 2013 SEC Freshmen Diver of the Year Cassie Weil. Weil is the record holder in the three-meter dive and a two-time NCAA Honorable Mention All-American. She had a great summer, winning bronze on the 10-meter platform at the 2013 AT&T USA Diving Championships. LSU swimming coach Dave Geyer will look to senior Torrey Bussey to lead the women’s side. Bussey holds the LSU record in the 200 breaststroke (2:11.72) and 200 individual medley (1:58.23) and looks to return to the NCAA championships for the fourth time. The mens’ team also returns five NCAA qualifiers
highlighted by NCAA Honorable Mention All-American Frank Greeff. Greeff holds the LSU record in the 200 butterfly (1:44.06), 800 freestyle relay and 400 medley relay. Sean McKinney will lead the divers as a NCAA qualifier and LSU record holder on the three-meter springboard. The entire squad opens up the 2013-14 season October 18 at home against Georgia.

Women’s Notes
The Mizzou women’s swimming and diving team won 11 of 13 events to cruise to victory at the ninth annual Show-Me Showdown on Oct. 4. Junior Danielle Barbiea (50 free and 100 fly) and sophomores Anna Patterson (100 and 200 free) and Lauren Reedy (1-meter scramble and 3-meter) all won two events during the meet. In her first collegiate meet, freshman Katharine Ross swam a 1:01.54 in the 100 breast to win the event and move into second-place all-time at Mizzou. Her time also ranks her third nationally in the event. The Tigers host Florida on Thursday, Oct. 17.

Men’s Notes
The Mizzou men’s swimming and diving team opened the 2013-14 season with a first-place showing at the ninth annual Show-Me Showdown on Oct. 4. Sophomore Max Grodecki and senior David Bonuchi both won two events, as Grodecki took first in the 50 free and 100 free and Bonuchi led the Tigers to the 1-meter scramble win and claimed top honors on the 3-meter. Missouri also won the 200 free relay and 200 medley relays. The Tigers host Florida on Thursday, Oct. 17.

South Carolina
The South Carolina swimming and diving teams opened up the 2013-14 season by sweeping College of Charleston today as the swimmers competed at the Stern Center in Charleston and divers competed in Columbia. The men won by a score of 178-109, while the women’s score was 166-129. The men claimed 14 first-place finishes, one ahead of the women’s total of 13. The men were led by senior Matt Navata and junior Michael Covert who each had three individual wins. Sophomore Ashleigh Ferguson, senior Abby Galbreath, freshman Victoria Mitchell and senior Amanda Rutqvist led the women’s team. Each recorded two wins apiece as individuals. Junior Cole Miller swept the one-meter and three-meter springboards from the men, while sophomore Lauren Lamendola and junior Patricia Kranz split the wins on the women’s boards.

The Tennessee men’s and women’s swimming and diving team opens the SEC season Friday at noon with a home meet against South Carolina. Tennessee’s last official meet came nearly a month ago when both the men and women won at UNC Wilmington. The teams hosted the annual Orange and White Intrasquad Meet last weekend, which was won by the White Team 311-251. One of the Vols making the biggest — or in this case least — splash has been redshirt sophomore diver Mauricio Robles. Since missing last year with injury, Robles has shown impressive improvement on the springboards. The 2012 SEC platform champ scored a 410.78 on 3-meter and a 376.06
on the 1-meter.

Texas A&M
The Texas A&M women’s swimming and diving team opened the 2013-2014 season with a dominating dual meet victory Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores at the Centennial Sportsplex. It was the ninth straight road victory for the Aggies, who won every event against the Commodores on the way to a 154.5-98.5 win. The Aggies are now 1-0 on the season and in SEC competition.

Among the first place finishes were junior Liliana Iba?ez, who won both the 200 free (1:49.12) and the 100 fly (56.16) and also contributed to the 400 free relay win, and freshman Sycerika McMahon won her first college event in the 500 free (4:57.39). Other wins include sophomore transfer Colleen Konetzke with her first win as an Aggie in the 1000 free (10:22.18). Senior Paige Miller won the 100 back in 55.44. Senior Breeja Larson won the 100 breast in 1:00.05. Senior Cammile Adams took the 200 fly in 1:59.01. Junior Kelli Benjamin won the 50 free in 24.03. Junior Sammie Bosma won the 100 free in 50.46. Senior Melanie McClure won the 200 back in 2:00.03. Sophomore Ashley McGregor won the 200 breast (2:19.57), and senior Erica Dittmer won the 200 IM (2:01.72). The Aggies finished the meet as strongly as they opened with a 1, 2, 3 finish in both relays. The foursome of McClure, Larson, Adams, Bosma took first in the 200 medley relay (1:42.83) to open and the team of Iba?ez, Emily Neubert, Katherine Huff, and McClure closed the meet with a 3:27.80 finish
in the 400 free relay. The Aggies will compete next in College Station as they host the University of Texas on Oct. 18.

The Vanderbilt women’s swimming and diving team is coming off a loss to Texas A&M in Nashville. The Commodores fall to 0-2 on the year with dual meet losses to both the Aggies and Auburn in the season-opener. The freshmen have made an early impact for the ‘Dores, holding team-best times in eight out of the teams 13 events. Of the returners Elly Faulkner and Chrissy Oberg have each made an impact going toe-to-toe with their SEC counterparts, early in the season.

Special thanks to Chevonne Mansfield for this report.

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