SEC Championships: Texas A&M, Florida Win Team Titles on Final Night (Finals Recap)

Photos Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics/Peter H. Bick

The Texas A&M women and Florida men each wrapped up SEC team championships on the final night of the SEC championships in Knoxville, Tenn. It was a second-consecutive conference title for the A&M women, while Florida’s men finished on top for the fifth year running.

The Aggies finished with 1304 points, almost 200 ahead of Georgia, which finished with 1113. Kentucky was third with 938 points, while Kentucky (938) and Auburn (849) rounded out the top five.

Florida, meanwhile, scored 1271.5 to easily outpace the Georgia Bulldogs, who took second with 985 points. Auburn was third with 925.5, Alabama took fourth with 897, and Missouri finished fifth with 771.

Women’s 1650 free

Auburn’s Ashley Neidigh faced some early challenges, particularly from Arkansas freshman Ayumi Macias, but Neidigh took over the lead around the 500-yard mark and then pulled away from the field. She ended up touching first in the final heat by more than 15 yards, and she punched the water in excitement upon seeing her final time of 15:56.95, the sixth-fastest time in the country this season.

On the other side of the pool in adjacent lanes Florida’s Autumn Finke battled Georgia’s Rachel Zilinskas for second place for much of the race. Finke ended up pulling away to finish second in 16:06.54, and Zilinskas took third in 16:10.72.

Kentucky’s Kendal Casey held the top time coming out of the afternoon heats at 16:11.90, and that ended up being good enough for a fourth-place finish. Missouri’s Kira Zubar finished fifth in 16:13.60, and Alabama’s Mia Nonnenberg (16:16.42), Auburn’s Zoe Thatcher (16:17.22) and Florida’s Kahra Williams (16:21.42) ended up finishing out the top eight.

  1 Neidigh, Ashley  SR Auburn-SE        16:13.59   15:56.95 B       32  
             27.00        56.68 (29.68)
        1:26.01 (29.33)     1:55.51 (29.50)
        2:24.90 (29.39)     2:54.06 (29.16)
        3:23.27 (29.21)     3:52.68 (29.41)
        4:21.94 (29.26)     4:51.19 (29.25)
        5:20.51 (29.32)     5:49.88 (29.37)
        6:19.25 (29.37)     6:48.49 (29.24)
        7:17.54 (29.05)     7:46.69 (29.15)
        8:15.86 (29.17)     8:44.83 (28.97)
        9:13.63 (28.80)     9:42.67 (29.04)
       10:11.64 (28.97)    10:40.48 (28.84)
       11:09.27 (28.79)    11:37.98 (28.71)
       12:06.75 (28.77)    12:35.65 (28.90)
       13:04.63 (28.98)    13:33.51 (28.88)
       14:02.28 (28.77)    14:31.31 (29.03)
       15:00.20 (28.89)    15:28.99 (28.79)    15:56.95 (27.96)

Men’s 1650 free

South Carolina’s Akaram Mahmoud pulled away from the top heat of swimmers in the 1650 and ended up touching the wall first by more than 12 seconds. Mahmoud, the reigning conference champion in the 1650 and last year’s second-place finisher at the NCAA championships in the event, finished in 14:38.91 for the third-fastest time in the country this season behind Clark Smith and True Sweetser.

As it turned out, Mahmoud’s three closest competitors came out of the afternoon heats. Florida’s Mitch D’Arrigo ended up finishing second in 14:45.96, and South Carolina ended up putting two on the podium as Cody Bekemeyer, also swimming in the afternoon heats, ended up third in 14:49.09.

Florida’s Andrew Brady, another adfternoon swimmer, finished fourth in 14:50.05, and his teammate Ben Lawless, who touched second behind Mahmoud in the final heat, was fifth in 14:51.03. The Tennessee duo of David Heron (14:54.35) and Taylor Abbott (14:55.41) finished sixth and seventh, respectively, and another Gamecock slipped into the top eight as Tom Peribonio finished in 14:56.77.

  1 Mahmoud, Akaram  JR South Carolina-S 14:55.31   14:38.91PA       32  
             24.27        51.19 (26.92)
        1:18.45 (27.26)     1:45.70 (27.25)
        2:12.88 (27.18)     2:40.08 (27.20)
        3:07.10 (27.02)     3:33.88 (26.78)
        4:00.74 (26.86)     4:27.65 (26.91)
        4:54.67 (27.02)     5:21.64 (26.97)
        5:48.20 (26.56)     6:14.75 (26.55)
        6:41.58 (26.83)     7:08.26 (26.68)
        7:34.97 (26.71)     8:01.76 (26.79)
        8:28.47 (26.71)     8:55.17 (26.70)
        9:21.85 (26.68)     9:48.63 (26.78)
       10:15.21 (26.58)    10:41.86 (26.65)
       11:08.47 (26.61)    11:35.00 (26.53)
       12:01.58 (26.58)    12:28.26 (26.68)
       12:54.75 (26.49)    13:21.18 (26.43)
       13:47.60 (26.42)    14:13.89 (26.29)    14:38.91 (25.02)

Women’s 200 back

Kentucky freshman Asia Seidt faced a tough heat that included the reigning NCAA champion (and fellow Kentucky Wildcat) Danielle Galyer, but Seidt led wire-to-wire to win her first conference championship. Seidt, after finishing fourth in the 200 IM and third in the 100 back, exploded on the back half to finish in 1:50.22, the fourth-fastest time in the country this season.

Kentucky scored a whopping 107 points in the event as Galyer finished second in 1:51.17, while Ali Galyer was sixth in 1:52.14 and Bridgette Alexander seventh in 1:53.73. That put the Wildcats 84 points ahead of Tennessee for third place with only three events to go.

Finishing third was Missouri’s Hannah Stevens in 1:51.41, and fourth went to Tennessee’s Meghan Small in 1:51.91. Texas A&M’s Lisa Bratton, the SEC champion in the event last season, finished fifth in 1:52.08, and Tennessee’s Micah Bohon touched eighth in 1:54.51.

  1 Seidt, Asia M    FR Kentucky-KY       1:51.52    1:50.22 A       32  
             26.33        54.58 (28.25)
        1:22.62 (28.04)     1:50.22 (27.60)
  2 Galyer, Daniell  SR Kentucky-KY       1:51.81    1:51.17 A       28  
             26.59        54.98 (28.39)
        1:23.45 (28.47)     1:51.17 (27.72)
  3 Stevens, Hannah  JR Missouri-MV       1:53.55    1:51.41 A       27  
             26.87        55.24 (28.37)
        1:23.86 (28.62)     1:51.41 (27.55)

Men’s 200 back

Alabama had a huge performance in the men’s 200 back as junior Christopher Reid pulled ahead on the back half and touched first in 1:39.64, and teammate Connor Oslin finished second in 1:40.35. That finish comes less than 24 hours after Oslin, Luke Kaliszak and Reid finished first, second and fourth, respectively, in the 100 back. Reid joins Ryan Murphy as the only two men who have swum under 1:40 so far this season.

Auburn’s Joe Patching took third in 1:40.46, just touching out Missouri’s Carter Griffin. Griffin, the fastest qualifier in the event, touched in 1:40.51. Georgia’s Jay Litherland finished sixth in 1:40.95.

Texas A&M’s Brock Bonetti led the way through the first 100 yards but ended up fading to sixth in 1:41.77. Rounding out the field were Tennessee’s Joey Reilman (1:42.39) and Auburn’s Petter Fredriksson (1:43.07).

  1 Reid, Christoph  JR Alabama-SE        1:41.49    1:39.64 A       32  
             23.48        49.47 (25.99)
        1:14.68 (25.21)     1:39.64 (24.96)
  2 Oslin, Connor J  SR Alabama-SE        1:40.94    1:40.35 B       28  
             23.73        49.36 (25.63)
        1:14.98 (25.62)     1:40.35 (25.37)
  3 Patching, Joe J  SR Auburn-SE         1:41.04    1:40.46 B       27  
             23.82        49.45 (25.63)
        1:15.07 (25.62)     1:40.46 (25.39)

Women’s 100 free

Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga used her strong underwaters to pull ahead of the field and touch first in the 100 free final. The reigning NCAA champion in the event, Smoliga finished in 47.37, a few tenths short of her season best, a 46.95 that ranks second in the country this season.

The Georgia Bulldogs trailed Texas A&M 1006-912 in the team race going into the 100 free, but they made the battle a bit more interesting as Chantal Van Landeghem finished second in 47.74 and Veronica Burchill finished third in 47.99. But A&M responded, picking up fourth-place points from Beryl Gastadello (48.02) and seventh-place points from Kristin Malone (48.82)

Swimming in lane one, LSU’s Leah Troskot touched fifth in 48.53, and Auburn’s Julie Meynen finished sixth in 48.65. Tennessee’s Maddy Banic touched eighth in 48.94.

  1 Smoliga, Olivia  SR Georgia-GA          47.74      47.37 A       32  
             10.69        22.64 (11.95)
          35.23 (12.59)       47.37 (12.14)
  2 Van Landeghem,   SR Georgia-GA          48.40      47.74 B       28  
             11.02        23.16 (12.14)
          35.54 (12.38)       47.74 (12.20)
  3 Burchill, Veron  FR Georgia-GA          48.20      47.99 B       27  
             11.03        23.11 (12.08)
          35.69 (12.58)       47.99 (12.30)

Men’s 100 free

Florida’s Caeleb Dressel picked up his third individual win of the meet in the 100 free. The reigning NCAA champion in the event pulled away off the start and off each turn. He flipped in 198.1 at the 50 and finished in 41.24. The time ranks tops in the country this season, and although it’s well off his American record-time of 40.46, only five other men (Vladimir MorozovCesar CieloNathan AdrianSimonas Bilis and Ryan Hoffer) have ever swum faster.

Missouri’s Michael Chadwick finished second in 41.95, just off his second-ranked season best of 41.80, and Tennessee’s Kyle Decoursey was just behind in third with his time of 42.07.

Alabama’s Laurent Bams finished fourth in 42.75, while Auburn’s teammates Peter Holoda and Zach Apple tied for fifth in 42.78. Alabama’s Robert Howard (42.96) and Texas A&M’s Cory Bolleter (43.28) rounded out the final.

Notably, Alabama freshman Zane Waddell crushed the field in the consolation final, finishing in a strong time of 42.30 that would have placed fourth in the championship final.

  1 Dressel, Caeleb  JR Florida-FL          41.51      41.24PA       32  
              9.24        19.81 (10.57)
          30.61 (10.80)       41.24 (10.63)
  2 Chadwick, Micha  SR Missouri-MV         42.32      41.95 A       28  
              9.54        20.09 (10.55)
          31.01 (10.92)       41.95 (10.94)
  3 Decoursey, Kyle  SO Tennessee-SE        42.23      42.07 A       27  
              9.67        20.26 (10.59)
          31.28 (11.02)       42.07 (10.79)

Women’s 200 breast

Texas A&M’s Sydney Pickrem won her second event of the meet as she pulled away from teammates Ashley McGregor and Bethany Galat to finish first in the 200 breast. But more importantly in the team competition, Texas A&M swimmers finished first, second, third, fifth and sixth.

Pickrem touched in 2:06.65, the fourth-fastest time in the nation this season, while McGregor finished second in 2:07.54. Galat, the defending champion in the event, had the lead at the halfway point but faded to third in 2:08.09. Also for the Aggies, Franko Jonker finished fifth in 2:10.02, and Esther Gonzalez was sixth in 2:10.11.

South Carolina’s Kersten Dirrane split up the Aggies, finishing fourth in 2:08.58 after leading at the 50-yard mark, and Georgia teammates Meaghan Raab (2:10.74) and Emily Cameron (2:11.22) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

The huge points for A&M helped put a second straight conference championship firmly within the Aggies’ grasp. Heading into the final relay, the Aggies had 1248 points, well ahead of Georgia’s 1049.

  1 Pickrem, Sydney  SO Texas A&M-GU      2:07.93    2:06.65 A       32  
             29.28      1:01.67 (32.39)
        1:34.43 (32.76)     2:06.65 (32.22)
  2 McGregor, Ashle  SR Texas A&M-GU      2:09.10    2:07.54 B       28  
             29.19      1:01.25 (32.06)
        1:34.05 (32.80)     2:07.54 (33.49)
  3 Galat, Bethany   JR Texas A&M-GU      2:10.81    2:08.09 B       27  
             29.17      1:01.65 (32.48)
        1:34.64 (32.99)     2:08.09 (33.45)

Men’s 200 breast

A classic four-man race in the men’s 200 breast final ended up going to Alabama’s Anton McKee. Auburn’s Michael Duderstadt, swimming out of lane two, led for most of the race, but he got a challenge over the second half from South Carolina’s Nils Wich-Glasen and from McKee. On the last 50, Missouri’s Fabien Schwingenschlogl decided to get into the mix, closing in a blistering split of 29.04.

But McKee got his hand on the wall in 1:52.22, two tenths ahead of Wich-Glasen, who touched in 1:52.41. Schwingenschlogl touched next in 1:52.61, and Duderstadt faded to fourth, finishing in 1:53.22.

Georgia’s James Guest finished fifth in 1:54.52, followed by LSU’s Silas Dejean (1:54.76), Florida’s Chandler Bray (1:54.78) and Texas A&M’s Jonathan Tybur (1:56.43).

  1 McKee, Anton S   SR Alabama-SE        1:53.99    1:52.22PA       32  
             25.31        53.89 (28.58)
        1:22.94 (29.05)     1:52.22 (29.28)
  2 Wich-Glasen, Ni  JR South Carolina-S  1:53.61    1:52.41PA       28  
             25.01        53.56 (28.55)
        1:22.69 (29.13)     1:52.41 (29.72)
  3 Schwingenschloe  SR Missouri-MV       1:54.88    1:52.61PA       27  
             25.68        54.30 (28.62)
        1:23.57 (29.27)     1:52.61 (29.04)

Men’s platform diving

LSU’s Juan Hernandez scored an insane 97.20 on his final dive, and that was enough to vault him ahead of Auburn’s Scott Lazeroff to pick up the SEC title. Hernandez’ final score was an SEC-record total of 496.55, while Lazeroff finished in second with 461.00. Texas A&M’s Tyler Henschel finished third with 435.40.

Also competing in the A-final were Kentucky’s Sebastian Masterton (423.05), LSU’s Matthew Phillip (412.75), Florida’s Sam Smith (390.90), South Carolina’s Jordan Gotro (386.05) and Alabama’s Brent Sagert (374.60).

Women’s 400 free relay

Georgia could not catch Texas A&M for the team championship, but the Bulldogs had enough to hold off the Aggies in the final relay. The team of Olivia Smoliga (47.93), Veronica Burchill (48.10), Meaghan Raab (48.90) and Chantal Van Landeghem (47.26) finished in 3:12.19, while Texas A&M finished a little over a second behind in 3:13.37. Sarah GibsonKristin MaloneAmy Miller and Beryl Gastadello competed for the Aggies.

Auburn’s Alyssa TetzloffJulie MeynenAllyx Purcell and Erin Falconer touched third in 3:14.84. LSU finished fourth in 3:16.52, followed by Kentucky (3:16.70), Missouri (3:16.91), Tennessee (3:16.93) and Alabama (3:17.98).

  1 Georgia-GA  'A'               3:11.19    3:12.19PA       64  
     1) Smoliga, Olivia M SR          2) r:NRT Burchill, Veronica FR  
     3) r:NRT Raab, Meaghan JR        4) r:NRT Van Landeghem, Cntal SR
             22.72        47.93 (47.93)
        1:10.61 (22.68)     1:36.03 (48.10)
        1:59.23 (23.20)     2:24.93 (48.90)
        2:47.45 (22.52)     3:12.19 (47.26)
  2 Texas A&M-GU  'A'             3:16.05    3:13.37 A       56  
     1) Gibson, Sarah E SR            2) r:NRT Malone, Kristin JR     
     3) r:NRT Miller, Amy FR          4) r:NRT Gastaldello, Beryl JR  
             23.16        48.40 (48.40)
        1:11.53 (23.13)     1:36.86 (48.46)
        1:59.84 (22.98)     2:25.30 (48.44)
        2:48.35 (23.05)     3:13.37 (48.07)
  3 Auburn-SE  'A'                3:17.01    3:14.84 A       54  
     1) Tetzloff, Alyssa P SO         2) r:NRT Meynen, Julie FR       
     3) r:NRT Purcell, Allyx SR       4) r:NRT Falconer, Erin SO      
             22.98        48.69 (48.69)
        1:11.99 (23.30)     1:37.00 (48.31)
        2:00.06 (23.06)     2:25.90 (48.90)
        2:49.26 (23.36)     3:14.84 (48.94)

Men’s 400 free relay

Caeleb Dressel went into the water for the third leg of Florida’s 400 free relay with a lead, and he extended it to two bodylengths with his 40.20 split as the Gators capped off their SEC team championship with a relay win. The team of Maxime Rooney (42.45), Mark Szaranek (42.29), Dressel and Jan Switkowski (42.15) finished in 2:47.09.

Alabama finished second with Zane WaddellRobert HowardChristopher Reid and Laurent Bams combining to finish in 2:49.68, and Auburn’s Zach ApplePeter HolodaZiv Kalontarov and Kyle Darmody touched third in 2:50.54.

Missouri finished fourth in 2:51.74 as Michael Chadwick split 41.54 on the second leg, and Georgia was fifth in 2:52.65. Tennessee (2:52.94), LSU (2:54.88) and Texas A&M (2:54.88) rounded out the top eight.

  1 Florida-FL  'A'               2:51.10    2:47.09PA       64  
     1) Rooney, Maxime P FR           2) r:NRT Szaranek, Mark JR      
     3) r:NRT Dressel, Caeleb JR      4) r:NRT Switkowski, Jan JR     
             20.29        42.45 (42.45)
        1:02.48 (20.03)     1:24.74 (42.29)
        1:43.79 (19.05)     2:04.94 (40.20)
        2:25.01 (20.07)     2:47.09 (42.15)
  2 Alabama-SE  'A'               2:51.06    2:49.68PA       56  
     1) Waddell, Zane FR              2) r:NRT Howard, Robert SO      
     3) r:NRT Reid, Christopher JR    4) r:NRT Bams, Laurent SO       
             20.35        42.86 (42.86)
        1:02.72 (19.86)     1:25.17 (42.31)
        1:45.08 (19.91)     2:07.42 (42.25)
        2:27.63 (20.21)     2:49.68 (42.26)
  3 Auburn-SE  'A'                2:53.67    2:50.54PA       54  
     1) Apple, Zach SO                2) r:NRT Holoda, Peter JR       
     3) r:NRT Kalontarov, Ziv SO      4) r:NRT Darmody, Kyle SR       
             20.22        42.41 (42.41)
        1:02.65 (20.24)     1:25.40 (42.99)
        1:45.90 (20.50)     2:08.51 (43.11)
        2:28.44 (19.93)     2:50.54 (42.03)

Results

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is the host of Swimming World TV and a staff writer. A contributor to Swimming World since 2009, he has covered NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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