Georgia Women Shooting For First SEC Swimming Title in Six Seasons (Psych Sheet)

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Dakota Luther. Photo Courtesy: Chamberlain Smith / Georgia Athletics

Georgia Women Shooting For First SEC Swimming Title in Six Seasons (Psych Sheet)

The Southeastern Conference, which usually kicks off the conference championship slate with a five-day marathon of a co-ed meet that starts 24 hours before the rest of the power five Division I conferences, will be split between men and women for obvious reasons this year. The women’s meet will be first up this weekend from the University of Georgia, with #5 Tennessee coming in as the defending champions ready to fight against #3 Kentucky, #4 Florida, #6 Georgia, #16 Alabama, #17 Texas A&M, #20 Arkansas, and #25 Auburn and Missouri.

For the first time since 1986 the women’s and men’s SEC meets will be in different sites.

Meet Info:

  • Who: Psych Sheet
  • When: February 17 – 20
  • Where: Athens, Georgia
  • How to Watch
  • Finals will begin at 6 p.m. each night except Wednesday (5:00)
  • Prelims will begin at 10 a.m.

Storylines to follow:

Tennessee Repeat?

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Photo Courtesy: Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee won its first SEC swimming title in school history last season on the backs of seniors Erika Brown and Meghan Small, who continued their winning ways at the ISL this past fall. The Vols have the unprecedented target on their back now in 2021 as they are led by the likes of freshman Mona McSharry, the top seed in the 100 breast, senior Alexis Yager, the top seed in the 400 IM, and junior Trude Rothrock, one of the top players on the Vols’ sprint relays. Tennessee won last year’s meet on the strengths of their relays, and will likely need to do the same this year. But do they have the firepower to win back to back?

Home Pool Bulldogs

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Georgia’s Zoie Hartman will be swimming the SEC women’s swimming and diving championships in her home pool. Photo Courtesy: Chamberlain Smith / Georgia Athletics

Georgia may very well be the favorites to take the team title this year, which would mark the Bulldogs’ first SEC title since 2015. Georgia is led by sophomore breaststroker Zoie Hartman as well as senior Courtney Harnish and junior Dakota Luther. The Bulldogs have been on fire all season, especially on the men’s side, but the women have also had their fair share of early season success. Hartman is one of the top breaststrokers in the country and Luther is showing glimpses of her potential when she first caught everyone’s attention by making the 2017 Worlds team.

Georgia will also have home pool advantage this weekend, and with no spectators in the stands that will really be put to the test. Georgia has a rich history on the women’s side, but hasn’t won a conference title in six years, and the Bulldogs will certainly be hungry to get that back in their home pool.

Cardiac Cats

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Caitlin Brooks; Photo Courtesy: Kentucky Athletics/Hannah Phillips

Believe it or not, Kentucky is actually the top ranked team in the SEC in the latest dual meet poll. Kentucky has been a quiet contender the last few years in the SEC, with an established reputation of “Backstroke U” in placing at least three in the top eight of the 200 back every year since 2017. The Wildcats have a legit chance at a relay title in either the 200 or the 400 thanks to the rise of the rise of backstroker Caitlin Brooks and senior freestyler Riley Gaines, and if they can start off with a 200 medley win on Wednesday night then you might as well pencil Lars Jorgensen’s name on the coach of the year trophy. Of course SECs is a long meet, so how will Kentucky fare in an intense meet with so much hype surrounding their team?

Alabama’s Star Power

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Kensey McMahon, last year’s SEC champ in the 1650. Photo Courtesy: Jeff Hanson / Alabama Athletics

Last year, Alabama won three of the five individual events on the last night of the women’s meet with Rhyan White winning the 200 back, Kensey McMahon winning the 1650, and Tanesha Lucoe winning platform diving. They had a lot of star power but didn’t possess the depth to compete for the title. There has been some shake up with the Alabama staff with head coach Coley Stickels announcing his resignation in December, but the Crimson Tide still have White and McMahon, as well as junior sprinter Morgan Scott, who all have a chance to win an individual title this week. With the team battle likely coming between Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, where will Alabama fit in with those three?

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Swimfan

    IMO the SEC women are down this year at the top end! Remember when Auburn and Georgia women would lose SEC and then still win NCAA? No more!

    Bigger question: will Georgia men win SEC for the first time in decades, since ????? I say they do win it! They are deep and good at top end!

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