SEC Championships: Caeleb Dressel Posts Top Time in Nation in 100 Free During Day Five Prelims

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Florida’s Caeleb Dressel continued his run through the SEC championships as he posted the top time in the country in the men’s 100 free, posting an easy-looking swim of 41.51.

Meanwhile, Dressel’s Gators and the women from Texas A&M look to be in position to lock up the team titles during the final evening of competition, which begins at 6 p.m. ET in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Kentucky Wildcats are in fourth place in the women’s competition going into the final day of competition, but they figure to score big points in the 200 back. UK possesses the services of defending NCAA champion Danielle Galyer and U.S. Winter National Champion Bridgette Alexander, but it was actually a freshman Wildcat taking the top seed as Asia Seidt posted a time of 1:51.52.

Texas A&M’s Lisa Bratton qualified second in 1:51.68, and Galyer was third in 1:51.82. One one-hundredth behind was Galyer’s younger sister Ali (1:51.82), and Alexander qualified seventh in 1:53.78.

Missouri’s Hannah Stevens picked up the fifth seed in 1:53.55, just ahead of Tennessee’s Meghan Small (1:53.57). Another Volunteer, Micah Bohon, dropped four seconds from her personal best time to qualify eighth for the final, touching in 1:54.04.

Missouri’s Carter Griffin paced the field heading into the final of the men’s 200 back, touching in 1:40.68. Alabama’s Connor Oslin, the winner of the 100 back Friday night, qualified second in 1:40.94, and Auburn’s Joe Patching picked up the third seed with his 1:41.04.

Alabama’s Christopher Reid finished fourth in prelims in 1:41.49, and a half-second back was Auburn’s Petter Fredriksson in 1:41.99. Georgia’s Jay Litherland qualified sixth in 1:42.07, followed by Tennessee’s Joey Reilman (1:42.09) and Texas A&M’s Brock Bonetti (1:42.29).

Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga, the defending NCAA champion in the women’s 100 free, qualified first in the prelims of that event in 47.74. She ranks second in the country so far this season at 46.95. Qualifying second was Texas A&M’s Beryl Gastadello in 48.07, and two more Georgia Bulldogs, Veronica Burchill (48.07) and Chantal Van Landeghem (48.20), qualified third and fourth, respectively.

Texas A&M’s Kristin Malone finished fifth in 48.50, one one-hundredth ahead of Auburn’s Julie Meynen (48.51), while LSU’s Leah Troskot was seventh in 48.55. Tennessee’s Maddy Banic, the 50 free champion from Wednesday, qualified for the final in eighth place in 48.87.

In the men’s 100 free, Florida’s Caeleb Dressel was back in the water, and he blasted away from the field over the second half of the race before touching in 41.51, the fastest time in the country this season. Dressel will be seeded first for the final by seven tenths of a second, as Tennessee’s Kyle Decoursey touched out Missouri’s Michael Chadwick for the No. 2 seed, 42.23 to 42.32.

Auburn’s Peter Holoda was just behind in fourth with his time of 42.45, and Alabama teammates Laurent Bams (42.65) and Robert Howard (42.85) qualified fifth and sixth, respectively. Claiming the outside lanes for the final were Auburn’s Zach Apple (42.96) and Texas A&M’s Cory Bolleter (43.04).

The Texas A&M Aggies all but locked up the women’s team championship in the 200 breast when the Aggies swept the top four spots in prelims and put five swimmers into the A-final. Sydney Pickrem, already the winner of the 400 IM Thursday night, posted the top time overall with a 2:07.93, followed by teammate Ashley McGregor in 2:09.10. Franko Jonker qualified third in 2:09.68, and Esther Gonazalez took fourth in 2:09.99.

South Carolina’s Kersten Dirrane took fifth in 2:10.46, followed by Georgia Bulldogs Meghan Raab (2:10.54) and Emily Cameron (2:10.77). Another Aggie qualified eighth as Bethany Galat finished in 2:10.81.

In the meet’s final preliminary event, South Carolina’s Nils Wich-Glasen edged out Alabama’s Anton McKee for the top seed in the men’s 200 breast. Wich-Glasen checked in at 1:53.61, to McKee’s 1:53.99. Georgia’s James Guest (1:54.63) and Missouri’s Fabien Schwingenschlogl (1:54.88) were the only two others to get under 1:55 in the event.

Auburn’s Michael Duderstadt won the 100 breast Friday and will swim in lane two for the 200 breast final after qualifying fifth in 1:55.16. LSU’s Silas Dejean was sixth in 1:55.25, followed by followed by Texas A&M’s Jonathan Tybur (1:55.61) and Florida’s Chandler Bray (1:55.92).


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