By Dan Mihalik
WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana, March 18. THE SEC-dominated 200 freestyle final was, well, dominated by the SEC. In fact the SEC placed finishers in first through fourth and in seventh places.
Auburn senior Margaret Hoelzer, who won this event at last year’s meet, got out to an early lead and led throughout the race. Her time of 1:44.60 was good enough for a pool record and a repeat championship of the 200 free. She began to tire down the stretch, but had enought left to hold off a surging Amanda Weir of Georgia.
"I wasn't happy about yesterday's performance, so I decided that today that I was just going to take it out," Hoelzer said. "I knew it would hurt, I knew it wouldn't feel good, but I was determined to suck it up and do what it took to win."
Caroline Burckle of Florida finished in third place, only .08 seconds ahead of Bulldog Kara Lynn Joyce. The first finisher outside of the SEC was Lauren Medina of California as she edged Jessica Hayes of Arizona for fifth place. Emily Kukors of Auburn was the fifth and final member of the SEC to place in the final, as she turned in a seventh place performance for the Tigers. Lindsey Smith of Michigan finished in eighth place in 1:48.01.