By Dan D’Addona.
The SEC has an intense schedule this week with several rivalry matchups. Here is what to watch for this week:
Meet of the Week: Florida at Georgia
The Georgia Bulldogs haven’t competed for two weeks, but the defending NCAA champions will dive back in with an SEC rivalry showdown this week, hosting the Florida Gators.
Georgia’s Megan Kingsley is coming off of perhaps the best in-season performance of her career.
Named the SEC Female Swimmer of the Week and national swimmer of the week, Kingsley led the way as the Lady Bulldogs opened the season with a win at North Carolina. She took first place in the 100 butterfly (53.07), the 200 butterfly (1:54.90) and the 200 individual medley (1:59.11). All three of her individual times ranked first nationally. Kingsley also helped the 200 medley relay touch first in 1:40.13.
On the men’s side, Olympian Chase Kalisz is coming off of an SEC Male Swimmer of the Week performance. He helped the Bulldogs dispatch the Tar Heels as he won the 200 freestyle (1:36.60) and the 200 breaststroke (1:56.08). Kalisz ranks first nationally in the 200 breaststroke and third in the 200 freestyle.
While the Bulldogs have been off for two weeks, the Gators have had two intense meets. Florida held off rival Florida State then was swept by Indiana and Texas in a battle of three of the nation’s best teams.
Auburn at LSU
The Auburn Tigers swept Kentucky last week and were rewarded with several weekly honors from the SEC.
Joe Patching was named the SEC’s Male Swimmer of the Week and Julie Meynen was named the SEC’s Female Freshman of the Week.
The elite quartet will be pivotal this week as the Tigers head to LSU for a rivalry showdown.
Patching, a senior from Ascot, England, helped Auburn to a 171-129 win over Kentucky last week with individual wins in the 200 free (1:37.65), 200 back (1:44.69) and the 200 IM (1:49.03).
Patching’s 200 back and 200 IM times from the Kentucky meet are both currently the fastest in the nation while his 100 back leadoff split from the 400 medley relay against Kentucky is currently fifth-fastest in the nation.
Through two dual meets, Patching has won all six individual events he has entered.
LSU has been off for two weeks after the women won the Florida Gulf Coast Classic and the men finished third.
The women’s 400 medley relay was a highlight of the meet with Makenna Wilson, Colleen O’Neil, Kara Kopcso and Leah Troskot taking first with a time of 3:42.50.
Busy week for Tennessee
It will be another busy week for the Tennessee Volunteers. On Thursday, Tennessee faces Louisville in a regional rivalry meet. The Volunteers then make the short trip to Kentucky for a double dual with the Wildcats and Indiana.
Tennessee is coming off of an impressive sweep of North Carolina.
Junior Sam McHugh led the way with four total individual victories. He won the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9 minutes, 5.54 seconds, and then took first in the 400 individual medley in an NCAA B-cut time of 3:51.69.
On the women’s side, senior Colleen Callahan was a three-race winner for Tennessee. After winning the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke Friday, she added a win in the 200 breaststroke in 2:18.15.
South Carolina at Texas A&M
The Texas A&M men and women swept Incarnate Word with both teams rolling to 182-105 victories over the Cardinals.
Now, the Aggies host South Carolina in an SEC battle.
The Aggies were led by newcomers Newcomers logging wins for the men’s team included redshirt freshman Jake Gibbons, who transferred from Yale, in the 1,000 free (9:44.50), freshman Anthony Kim in the 100 backstroke (49.78), freshman Adam Koster in the 100 free (45.69), freshman Mike Thibert in the 500 free (4:42.09), freshman Benjamin Walker in the 400 IM (4:01.60) and freshman Raiz Tjon-A-Joe in the 200 breast (2:06.61).
Women’s squad newcomers winning races were freshman Katie Portz in the 100-yard freestyle (51.46) and 200 free (1:49.73), redshirt freshman Raena Eldridge in the 50 free (23.72) and freshman Kaley Batten in the 3-meter dive (277.70).
South Carolina was swept by Kentucky last week.