Blistering Tennessee Breaststroke Legs Highlight Night 1 at SECs

KNOXVILLE, TN - December 5, 2013 - Holly Hannis competes in the 4x100 Yard Medley Relay during the USA Swimming AT&T Winter National Championships at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee
Photo Courtesy: Tia Patron/Tennessee Athletics

AUBURN – The first night of the 2015 SEC Championships featured some amazing Tennessee breaststroke splits on the medley relays, as well as some surprising team tallies heading into night two.

The Auburn men led the way after a strong day of swimming and diving with 177 points, while Tennessee had a career day en route to second with 164 points.  Georgia rounded out the top three with 146 points.

For the women, LSU rode a strong diving day with a balanced swimming attack to the lead with 164 points. Georgia, who will start to build on today’s total with a swimming-filled day two, stood second with 148 points.  Kentucky held third with 144 points.

Tennessee had a banner night in the medley relays, winning both with what are some of the fastest breaststroke splits ever.

The UT men opened up with Sean Lehane (21.78), Peter Stevens (22.72), Jacob Thulin (20.49) and Troy Tillman (19.10) delivering a blistering time of 1:24.09.

That’s just a bit off Auburn’s 2009 SEC Meet record of 1:23.69, but was enough to secure the first men’s SEC relay win by Tennessee in more than a decade.

Stevens’ breaststroke split is the fastest in history, beating the previous mark of 22.83 by Damir Dugonjic for California at the Pac 10 Championships in 2009.

Alabama’s Connor Oslin (21.11), Pavel Romanov (23.82), Luke Kaliszak (20.42) and Brett Walsh (19.08) chased down second-place honors in 1:24.43, while Georgia’s Taylor Dale (21.26), Nicolas Fink (23.55), Ty Stewart (21.05) and Michael Trice (19.00) placed third.

Auburn (1:42.91), Florida (1:24.95) and Missouri (1:25.07) all clinched NCAA relays as well with NCAA A cuts.

The Lady Vols weren’t playing around either as Anna DeMonte (25.11), Molly Hannis (26.06), Harper Bruens (22.61) and Faith Johnson (21.53) smoked the finale in 1:35.31.  That’s just off the SEC Meet record of 1:35.08 clocked by UT in 2013.

Only Kasey Carlson has had a faster breaststroke leg that we can find with a 25.70 last year.

Texas A&M’s Kelli Benjamin (25.03), Sycerika McMahon (27.16), Beryl Gastaldello (22.46) and Sammie Bosma (21.57) clinched second in 1:36.22 with Auburn’s Jillian Vitarius (24.36), Natasha Lloyd (27.72), Megan Fonteno (23.30) and Allyx Purcell (21.32) earning third in 1:36.70.

The entire top eight cleared the NCAA A cut as Georgia (1:36.88), Florida (1:37.12), LSU (1:37.14), Missouri (1:37.33) and Alabama (1:37.65) have guaranteed their relays spots next month.

Florida lowered its own SEC meet record in the men’s 800-yard free relay with a scorching anchor by Dan Wallace.

Pawel Werner (1:33.69), Nicholas Alexiou (1:33.83), Mitch D’Arrigo (1:32.95) and Wallace (1:32.38) pulled away from the pack down the stretch with a 6:12.85 to win the finale.

Auburn’s Hugo Morris lowered a 1981 Rowdy Gaines school record with a 1:33.39 leadoff as the Tigers’ Morris, Arthur Mendes (1:34.24), Kyle Darmody (1:33.17) and Joe Patching (1:34.34) placed second in 6:15.14.

Georgia’s Matias Koski (1:33.88), Chase Kalisz (1:34.36), Alec Cohen (1:34.80) and Gunnar Bentz (1:35.23) claimed third overall in 6:18.27.

Tennessee (6:19.37), South Carolina (6:21.05) and Alabama (6:22.81) also turned in NCAA A cuts.

Georgia closed out the night with its sixth straight women’s 800-yard free relay victory as Jordan Mattern (1:44.73), Brittany MacLean (1:44.15), Amber McDermott (1:43.58) and Hali Flickinger (1:43.23) clocked a 6:55.69.

Texas A&M’s Sarah Gibson (1:45.63), Ellen Quirke (1:44.41), Meredith Oliver (1:46.26) and Sarah Henry (1:43.87) placed second in 7:00.17, while Florida’s Lindsey McKnight (1:45.68), Jessica Thielmann (1:44.82), Amelia Maughan (1:45.99) and Ashlee Linn (1:43.76) finished third in 7:00.25.

Arkansas (7:05.96), Kentucky (7:06.15) and LSU (7:06.76) picked up the rest of the NCAA A cuts in the event.

Earlier in the evening, Tennessee’s Mauricio Robles captured the men’s one-meter diving title with a huge final dive for a 421.15-point tally overall.  LSU’s Daniel Helm claimed second with 411.30 points, while Georgia’s Ian Forlini picked up third with 404.30 points.

Georgia freshman Olivia Ball closed out the women’s three-meter diving event with 375.80 for the win.  LSU’s Alex Bettridge finished second with 370.60 points, while South Carolina’s Patty Kranz snared third-place honors with 368.55 points.

Team Scores


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2015 SEC Swimming Championships, Day One – Results