SEC Weekly Recap: Alabama, LSU Win on Senior Days

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The Alabama swimming and diving teams picked up a pair of wins on Senior Day in the Alabama Aquatic Center Saturday, with the men downing Florida State, while the Crimson Tide women beat Miami and lost a close one to FSU.

“I was really pleased with the spirit and the intensity of the racing today,” UA head coach Dennis Pursley said.

Prior to the meet, Alabama celebrated its 14-member senior class.

“Our seniors competed hard and put up some great performances today,” Pursley said. “More than that though, they showed great leadership, which they’ve done all season.”

The No. 11-ranked Alabama men, led by the senior duo of Laurent Bams and Robert Howard, beat the No. 21 Seminoles, 183-117. Bams won the 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle, while Howard took the top spot in the 50 and 200 freestyles. The duo also swam legs on a pair of winning relays for good measure, giving them a clean sweep in their final home meet.

On the women’s side of the slate, No. 25 Alabama defeated Miami, 225-7, and fell to No. 21 Florida State, 159-141.

“I’m pleased with the job the women did,” Pursley said. “While we took a hit in the win-loss column, they were a lot more competitive with Florida State, and the score was closer than it was on paper coming into the weekend,.”

The women were led by freshman Kensey McMahon, who was dominant in the distance events, winning the 400 individual medley as well as the 500 and 1,650 freestyles. Fellow rookie Rhyan White picked up a pair of wins on the day, touching the wall first in the 100 and 200 backstrokes.

Also picking up wins for the Tide women were sophomore Flora Molnar (100 butterfly) and freshmen Morgan Liberto (200 butterfly) and Kalia Antoniou (50 freestyle).

Georgia edged by Texas

The Georgia women lost 169-129 to Texas. The Georgia men also lost 162-133.

Georgia’s Courtney Harnish won the 1,000 free (9:45.52) and the 200 free (1:46.73) in an NCAA provisional cut. She also won the 500 free (4:47.39). Veronica Burchill won the 100 free (49.25) in a B cut. Danielle Della Torre won the 200 breast (2:12.93) in a B cut.

On the men’s side, Georgia’s Greg Reed won the 1,000 free (8:59.90). Javier Acevedo won the 100 back (47.01) in a B cut. Camden Murphy won the 200 fly (1:46.03) and 100 fly (47.07) in B cuts. James Guest won the 200 breast (1:57.42) in a B cut. Clayton Forde won the 400 IM (3:49.62) in a B cut.

Auburn edged by Texas

Auburn’s swimming and diving teams gave Texas all it could handle in a pair of dual meets on Thursday afternoon at the Martin Aquatics Center. The No. 17-ranked Auburn women’s team won eight events but fell to the top-ranked Longhorns, 161-139, while the unranked men were first to the wall in five races in a 164-131 loss to No. 2-ranked Texas.

“We came out swinging,” Auburn head coach Gary Taylor said. “Our women did a fantastic job. Texas is number one in the country for a reason. They were fantastic and the meet came down to the end and I couldn’t be more prouder of the fight, energy and determination our women brought from start to finish.”

Erin Falconer led off the winning 200 medley relay (1:39.75) and took the top spot in the 200 free (1:46.36) just two events later, which bookended an Emily Hetzer win in the 1000 free (9:48.67), her sixth distance individual won of the season. Falconer added a second place finish in the 200 back (1:55.97) later in the meet.

Aly Tetzloff had a huge meet for Auburn, taking the top spot in the 50 free (22.54) as part of a 1-2 finish with Claire Fisch (22.57) and winning the 100 fly in 52.79. The senior’s biggest swim may have come in the 100 back, however, where she finished second with a lifetime-best 52.69.

“Aly’s performances were really out of this world,” Taylor said. “They were on a whole different level. We kept out of the relay up front and gave her three opportunities individually. She came out and hammers in the backstroke with a lifetime best, comes back in the 50 and goes 1-2 with Claire and then has her best performance of the season in the 100 fly. You really can’t ask for me.”

Carly Cummings continued her emergence in the breaststroke events, swimming on the winning medley relay as well as winning the 100 breast (1:02.16) and taking second behind teammate Val Tarazi (2:14.18) in the 200 (2:14.49). Tarazie was third in the 100 (1:03.17).

Senior Bailey Nero provided two runner-up finishes, touching second in the 200 fly in 1:59.31 and again in the 200 IM (1:59.74).

In the men’s race, Liam McCloskey swept the sprint freestyle events and Santiago Grassi was a top-2 finisher in both butterfly events as Auburn battled the four-time defending NCAA Champions to the end.

McCloskey won the 50 free in 20.20 and the 100 free in 44.20 to earn his second and third individual wins of the season.

Grassi won the 100 fly (47.47) as part of a 1-2 finish with McCloskey (47.81) and also was second to the wall in the 200 fly (1:48.26).

Distance specialist Josh Dannhauser also had a pair of top-two finishes, touching second in both the 1000 free (9:15.23) and the 500 free (4:27.60).

Tommy Brewer closed out the individual wins by taking the top spot in the 200 breaststroke (2:01.09), pairing it with a second-place finish in the 100 breast (54.99).

Missouri falls to Louisville

The No. 17/19 Mizzou men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams fell to the No. 8/6 Louisville Cardinals Thursday afternoon at the Mizzou Aquatic Center. On the women’s side, the Tigers suffered a 163-137 loss, while the Missouri men fell 178-122.

Senior Annie Ochitwa led the Tigers with two individual event wins on Thursday. Ochitwa earned top honors in the 100 free with a time of 49.74, and added a win in the 100 fly after touching in 53.97.

In the diving well, senior Kyle Goodwin and freshmen Ike Khamis and Sarah Rousseau all picked up victories. Khamis won the men’s platform with 363.68 points, a total that moved him up to fifth-place all-time on Mizzou’s all-time list. Goodwin won men’s 3-meter with 353.18 points, thanks to a 71.4 on his final dive, and Rousseau claimed first-place honors in the women’s 1-meter competition with a six-round total of 279.3.

Also winners on the day were senior Kylie Dahlgren, junior Nick Alexander and sophomore Sarah Thompson. Dahlgren won the women’s 200 IM with a time of 2:02.93, Alexander swam a 1:45.10 in the men’s 200 back for top honors, and Thompson claimed first in the women’s 50 free in 22.77.

Tennessee falls to Virginia

The Tennessee swimming and diving team lost both meets to Virginia on Friday to open the final month of dual meet competition.

Led by freshman Matthew Wade‘s sweep on springboard, the Tennessee men (4-3) won 8 of 16 events but lost to the Cavaliers 158-142. The Lady Vols were paced by a two-win day from sophomore Nikol Popov and won six total events in a 178-122 loss.

With senior NCAA champion Zhipeng (Colin) Zeng not competing while recovering from illness, Wade picked up the points for the Vols on the diving boards. He won the 1-meter springboard with a score of 350.78 and the 3-meter with 390.08. Both scores were career bests.

Friday notably marked the career debut of freshman newcomer Michael Houlie, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games record-setter in the 100-meter breaststroke. Houlie, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, won his first collegiate race — the 100-yard breaststroke — in 53.65.

Winners for the Tennessee men also included: junior Taylor Abbott in the 1650 freestyle (15:02.56), senior Kyle DeCoursey in the 50 freestyle (20.12), junior Alec Connolly in the 100 freestyle (44.36) and senior Joey Reilman in the 200 backstroke (1:45.57). The Vols also won the 200 freestyle relay to end the meet (1:20.03).

Popov continued her strong form in the breaststroke, reaching the wall first in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.58) and 200 breaststroke (2:13.48).

Sophomore Amanda Nunan won the 1650 freestyle (16:22.95), and junior Tess Cieplucha took the 400 IM (4:12.54).

Lady Vol winners also included junior Meghan Small in the 100 backstroke (53.40) and freshman Trude Rothrock in the 100 butterfly (53.51).

LSU wins on senior day

On Senior Day, the LSU Swimming and Diving team had a strong showing all across the board. On the men’s side, LSU defeated Incarnate Word 144.00-109.00 and Delta State 160.00-96.00. The women defeated Incarnate Word 181.00-69.00 and Delta State 179.00-76.00.

Lauren Thompson and Brittany Thompson won three times between the two as Lauren won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2.19.93 and Brittany won the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard individual medley with times of 2:00.36 and 2:05.24, respectively.

Seniors Gabrielle Pick and Summer Spradley both picked up wins as Spradley won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.11. Pick won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:01.05.

Kate Zimmer and Tennyson Henry also won on their Senior Day. Zimmer won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56.03. Henry won the 500-yard freestyle by seven seconds with a time of 5:02.78.

Seniors also showcased their dominance on the men’s side. Thomas Smith won the 200-yard backstroke and finished fourth in the 100-yard backstroke with times of 1:46.07 and 49.55, respectively.

Mitchell Petras touched the wall first in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 55.31 to set a new personal best. He followed that up by setting another personal mark, this time with a 2:01.05 in the 200-yard breaststroke.

On springboard, Juan Celaya-Hernandez set pool-records in the one-meter and the three-meter. On the one-meter, Celaya-Hernandez dove to a score of 438.35 which is a season best. On the three-meter, the junior scored a 460.00 over his six dives.

Seniors Matthew McClellan and Matthew Phillip both dove for the final time at the LSU Natatorium. McClellan finished second and third on the three-meter and one-meter, respectively with scores of 380.10 and 307.85. Phillip finished third and fourth on the same events with scores of 360.20 and 296.35.

On the women’s side, senior Lizzie Cui won the one-meter with a score of 315.65 and finished second on the three-meter with a score of 350.85.

Freshman Aimee Wilson also broke a pool-record as she set a new personal-best on the three-meter with a score of 373.85. This was Wilson’s first win in her collegiate career.

South Carolina beats ECU

South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving each picked up dual-meet wins over East Carolina on Saturday at the Carolina Natatorium/ Blatt PE Center. The Gamecock women prevailed 185-100 while the men came out on top 180-120.

“I’m really proud of what I saw today,” said head coach McGee Moody post-meet. “What they did today against a really good ECU team is pretty phenomenal given the training we’ve done over the past two weeks.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams swept the two relay events (200 medley relay & 400 free relay) as South Carolina won 24 total events between the two teams on Saturday

The Gamecocks swept all four diving events between the two genders as Anton Down-Jenkins won both events on the men’s side with Mikaela Lujan (1-meter) and Karlee Price (3-meter) splitting the two boards on the women’s side.

Emma Barksdale continued to wield her versatility, winning the women’s 100 breast (1:01.31) and the 400 IM (4:17.84) in addition to a 1:59.96 in the 200 back.

Fynn Minuth captured a pair of event wins before the first intermission, winning the 200 free (1:38.49) and the 200 fly (1:48.77).

Arkansas beats SMU, Rice

In its final road contest of the regular season, the Arkansas swimming and diving program earned wins over SMU and Rice in a double-dual hosted by the Mustangs. The Hogs posted a 171-124 win over SMU and a 163-124 win over Rice.

In the 16 events of the meet, the Razorbacks won seven and earned 18 podium finishes. Junior Anna Hopkin led the team with three first-place finishes, while sophomores Peyton Palsha and Maha Amer recorded two.

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