SEC Championships, Night 2: Jordan Crooks Goes Sub-18 Again in 50 Free Domination


SEC Championships, Night 2: Jordan Crooks Goes Sub-18 Again in 50 Free Domination

Only two men in history have ever broken 18 seconds from a flat-start in the 50 freestyle: one, of course, is former Florida star Caeleb Dressel, who went 17.81 and 17.63 at the 2018 NCAA Championships. The other is Jordan Crooks, a junior at the University of Tennessee who represents the Cayman Islands in international competition. Crooks joined the exclusive club with a mark of 17.93 at last year’s SEC Championships, and he achieved the time once again Wednesday night in Auburn, Ala.

Crooks was out in 8.63 and back in 9.36 as he swam a time of 17.99 for the fourth-fastest performance ever. Crooks previously held the top time in the country in the splash-and-dash by more than a quarter-second at 18.30, which he recorded in the morning prelims, before he annihilated that time twice at night, first by leading off Tennessee’s 200 free relay in 18.06, a mark which is now the fifth-fastest performance in history, and then with his 17-second blast in the individual race.

Crooks defeated the field by more than seven tenths, with Tennessee teammate Gui Caribe taking second in 18.70, leaving Florida’s Josh Liendo in third at 18.83.

The field was a swift one for a conference championship meet, with Florida’s Adam Chaney (18.91), Auburn’s Logan Tirheimer (18.95) and Florida’s Macguire McDuff (18.98) all breaking 19, but no one was on the same level as Crooks, who will go to the NCAA Championships next month heavily favored for a title defense in his signature event, although we would not be surprised if Liendo or others in the field could close the gap on Crooks by that point.

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