McCaffreyCap: Feb. 24th, 2011

This week in the rundown, SE must Cs, the taper beard challenge, and a meet that's older than your grandma! Take your Mark!

Nothing kicks off championship swimming season here in the states quite like SECs. Only at SECs can a woman challenge your manhood. Guys, raise your hand if Arianna Vanderpool Wallace's 46.8 is getting uncomfortably close to your best time in the100 free.? I know there's a lot of us out there. Ok let's try another one, raise your hand if you are a college coach and you could use a 21.0 freestyle split on your men's relay at conference? Scary huh? But seriously congratulations to Arianna on an amazing weekend for the Auburn junior, and here's to missing your NCAA taper in order to keep us guys feeling ok about ourselves, hmm?

There's no doubt that Ariana was the female swimmer of the meet last weekend in Gainesville, but we witnessed a coming out party, the likes of which we haven't seen since a guy named Lochte did it in 2005. Conor Dwyer was just off the American Record in the 200 Free, posted the fastest time in 400 IM this year, and almost lead his guys to an upset over Auburn. Does anyone else get the feeling that this guy is going to be even faster at NCAAs? Couple reasons, 1) Gregg Troy's swimmers always seem to be on their A game for the A meet. 2) Same Kendricks is calling NCAAs.

American records, NCAA Records, US Open records, most of the fastest times in the country this year, and an awesome team race to boot? Phew, its tough to top SECs.

Don't get me wrong, each championship meet has their own story lines. There's great team races at PAC 10s, Big 10s, Big 12s, and ACCs. Other things to watch for are the swimmers trying to make their NCAA cuts. Some of the best parts of conference championships are the team traditions that always take place this time of year. Once of the most common traditions amongst the men is the taper beard. This year, the Colonial Athletic Association kicked off their competition this year with an Beard Off. Taper time is dangerous in the CAA, because these guys have more time on their hands to geek out. The winners:
But in true CAA fashion, this stuff is funny. Now I know this is a tradition amongst a lot of teams across the country, and if you think you've got a taper beard worthy of the Cap, email it to me at I know you guys have photos of some pretty knarly beard. Send them in. We may even pass out some awards

This weekend I'll be at La Salle University to broadcast the 111th Easterns Championships, hosted by Germantown Academy. That's right the one hundred and 11th annual Easterns Championship. Some of the oldest High School rivalries in swimming will be live on both nights from the six lane mad house at the Kirk Natatorium. No other high school meet in the country has tradition like this. Some of the best Olympians in history have swum in the meet including BJ Bedford, Nelson Deible, and Mattie Crippen just to name a few. It's loud, it's fast, and it's fun to watch. I know because I covered the meet in 2009. We're going to stop the clock on today's show and leave you with some of the outtakes from that coverage with my good friend Chris DeSantis. Be looking for this year's coverage right here on Friday and Saturday.

Remember, that's just one man's recap.