PHOENIX, Arizona, February 20. THE Southeastern conference championships got off to a very fast start last night at Texas A&M University with an American and NCAA record in the 800-yard freestyle relay by the University of Georgia women. The time of 6:52.54 not only beat the fastest time ever swum, which was the NCAA record of 6:52.59 by California in 2009, but also beat the American record of 6:53.58, which also happens to be Georgia's school record from the 2011 SEC championships. Because the meet schedule of the SEC championships moves the 800 free relay to the first day, Georgia has a history of shattering this record there and not replicating it at the NCAAs, where the relay falls on the tough second day. But this still puts the foursome of Shannon Vreeland, Megan Romano, Jordan Mattern and Allison Schmitt squarely in the position of favorites for the NCAA title.
Despite the big record swim, Georgia's women's team stands in a tie for second with Louisiana State after the first of five days of competition, with Tennessee 34 points ahead, thanks to diving. Auburn's diving helped the men's team take the lead, in addition to the Tigers' win in the 200 medley relay. You can read more about what went down in College Station on swimmingworld.com.
As we mentioned on yesterday's show, the women's Atlantic Coast Conference championships starts today at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina. Virginia is looking to defend their title, with Olympian Lauren Perdue looking to help the Cavaliers reach that goal. We'll bring you recaps of the meet on swimmingworld.com.
Up in Minneapolis, the Big 10 championships also starts today, with host Minnesota looking to defend its title over rivals Indiana and others. This is always one of the most contentious races to the team titles in the country, with the championship often decided by less than 30 points. We'll be following this meet as well on swimmingworld.com.