Texas A&M’s Pickrem & Castillo Top 200 Breast Prelims on Last Day at SECs

Photo Courtesy: Thomas Campbell/Texas A&M Athletics

The final morning of preliminary action at the 2018 SEC swimming and diving championships included qualifying action in the 200 back, 100 free and 200 breast. Florida’s Caeleb Dressel set himself up for another win in the men’s 100 free, while Tennessee’s Erika Brown and Texas A&M’s Sydney Pickrem also look for their third individual wins, and the Texas A&M men look ready to claim their first individual title of the meet.

Kentucky will have significant points coming from the women’s 200 back final as sophomores Asia Seidt and Ali Galyer qualified first and second, respectively, with teammate Bridgette Alexander fifth. Seidt, the defending SEC champion in the event and 100 back champion from Saturday night, touched in 1:50.81, while Galyer was a second back in 1:51.81. Alexander finished in 1:52.07.

The other five qualifiers for the championship final all came from the seventh and final heat of qualifying. Texas A&M’s Lisa Bratton took third in 1:51.86, followed by Georgia’s Kylie Stewart (1:51.94). Finishing sixth through eighth, respectively, were Auburn’s Erin Falconer (1:52.43), Tennessee’s Micah Bohon (1:52.79) and Auburn’s Sonnele Oeztuerk (1:52.83).

Event 34  Women 200 Yard Backstroke
==================================================================
      US Open: O 1:47.84  3/21/2013 Elizabeth Pelton, California
         NCAA: N 1:47.84  3/21/2013 Elizabeth Pelton, California
     American: M 1:47.84  3/21/2013 Elizabeth Pelton, California
     SEC Meet: S 1:48.34  2/21/2009 Gemma Spofforth, Florida
  Pool Record: P 1:49.11  3/21/2009 Gemma Spofforth, UF
                 1:50.99  A
                 1:59.19  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Asia Seidt       SO Kentucky          1:50.67    1:50.81 qA     
             26.59        54.68 (28.09)
        1:22.86 (28.18)     1:50.81 (27.95)
  2 Ali Galyer       SO Kentucky          1:51.15    1:51.81 qB     
             26.82        55.08 (28.26)
        1:23.41 (28.33)     1:51.81 (28.40)
  3 Lisa Bratton     SR Texas A&M         1:50.10    1:51.86 qB     
             26.77        55.08 (28.31)
        1:23.79 (28.71)     1:51.86 (28.07)
  4 Kylie Stewart    SR Georgia           1:51.88    1:51.94 qB     
             26.74        55.16 (28.42)
        1:23.87 (28.71)     1:51.94 (28.07)
  5 Bridgette Alexa  SR Kentucky          1:51.92    1:52.07 qB     
             26.84        54.85 (28.01)
        1:23.32 (28.47)     1:52.07 (28.75)
  6 Erin Falconer    JR Auburn            1:54.44    1:52.43 qB     
             26.53        54.98 (28.45)
        1:23.91 (28.93)     1:52.43 (28.52)
  7 Micah Bohon      SR Tennessee         1:53.33    1:52.79 qB     
             26.90        55.23 (28.33)
        1:24.03 (28.80)     1:52.79 (28.76)
  8 Sonnele Oeztuer  FR Auburn            1:56.71    1:52.83 qB     
             26.86        55.46 (28.60)
        1:24.27 (28.81)     1:52.83 (28.56)

As with the women’s 200 back, the top seed in the men’s 100 back is a sophomore who claimed the win in the 100 back one night earlier. After posting a come-from-behind victory in that 100-yard event, Javier Acevedo topped prelims here in 1:40.51, with the man he beat out in the 100 back, Alabama’s Christopher Reid, qualifying second in 1:41.09.

Auburn’s Hugo Gonzalez, who became the second-fastest man ever in the 400 IM Friday night, took third in 1:41.43, just ahead of Texas A&M’s Anthony Kim (1:41.49) and Tennessee’s Joey Reilman (1:41.57). Florida’s Brennan Balogh (1:41.99), Missouri’s Nick Alexander (1:42.04) and Georgia’s Jay Litherland (1:42.14) also got into the final.

Event 35  Men 200 Yard Backstroke
==================================================================
      US Open: O 1:35.73  3/26/2016 Ryan Murphy, California
         NCAA: N 1:35.73  3/26/2016 Ryan Murphy, California
     American: M 1:35.73  3/26/2016 Ryan Murphy, California
     SEC Meet: S 1:38.29  2/17/2005 Ryan Lochte, Florida
  Pool Record: P 1:37.58  3/28/2009 Tyler Clary, MICH
                 1:39.66  A
                 1:46.39  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Javier Acevedo   SO Georgia           1:44.03    1:40.51 qB     
             23.90        49.14 (25.24)
        1:14.98 (25.84)     1:40.51 (25.53)
  2 Christopher Rei  SR Alabama           1:41.74    1:41.09 qB     
             23.96        49.59 (25.63)
        1:15.28 (25.69)     1:41.09 (25.81)
  3 Hugo Gonzalez    FR Auburn            1:39.05    1:41.43 qB     
             23.88        49.71 (25.83)
        1:15.83 (26.12)     1:41.43 (25.60)
  4 Anthony Kim      SO Texas A&M         1:43.42    1:41.49 qB     
             23.60        48.78 (25.18)
        1:15.15 (26.37)     1:41.49 (26.34)
  5 Joey Reilman     JR Tennessee         1:43.42    1:41.57 qB     
             23.93        49.63 (25.70)
        1:15.66 (26.03)     1:41.57 (25.91)
  6 Brennan Balogh   JR Florida           1:46.41    1:41.99 qB     
             23.84        49.73 (25.89)
        1:15.82 (26.09)     1:41.99 (26.17)
  7 Nick Alexander   SO Missouri          1:41.97    1:42.04 qB     
             24.14        50.10 (25.96)
        1:16.14 (26.04)     1:42.04 (25.90)
  8 Jay Litherland   SR Georgia           1:43.10    1:42.14 qB     
             24.00        49.71 (25.71)
        1:15.53 (25.82)     1:42.14 (26.61)

Brown already has two wins in the bag at the SEC championships, in the 50 free and 100 fly, and after only one relay swim on Saturday, she returned to the pool Sunday morning to post the top time in the women’s 100 free. She checked in at 47.36, more than seven tenths ahead of the rest of the field.

Georgia’s Veronica Burchill qualified second in 48.00, and Auburn’s Aly Tetzloff took third in 48.09. Just behind was Texas A&M’s Kristen Malone in 48.13.

Other finalists included Missouri’s Annie Ochitwa (48.22), Texas A&M’s Claire Rasmus (48.49), Auburn’s Julie Meynen (48.55) and Alabama’s Bailey Scott (48.79).

Event 36  Women 100 Yard Freestyle
==================================================================
      US Open: O 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
         NCAA: N 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
     American: M 45.56  3/18/2017 Simone Manuel, Stanford
     SEC Meet: S 46.61  2/18/2012 Ariana Vanderpool-Wallace, Auburn
  Pool Record: P 46.62  11/20/2014Simone Manuel, STAN
                 47.53  A
                 49.99  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Erika Brown      SO Tennessee           47.54      47.36 qA     
    r:+0.68  10.94        22.83 (11.89)
          35.14 (12.31)       47.36 (12.22)
  2 Veronica Burchi  SO Georgia             47.83      48.00 qB     
    r:+0.72  11.11        23.19 (12.08)
          35.68 (12.49)       48.00 (12.32)
  3 Alyssa Tetzloff  JR Auburn              48.01      48.09 qB     
    r:+0.68  10.66        22.79 (12.13)
          35.64 (12.85)       48.09 (12.45)
  4 Kristin Malone   SR Texas A&M           48.61      48.13 qB     
    r:+0.73  11.04        23.08 (12.04)
          35.61 (12.53)       48.13 (12.52)
  5 Ann Ochitwa      JR Missouri            47.58      48.22 qB     
    r:+0.74  11.01        23.02 (12.01)
          35.63 (12.61)       48.22 (12.59)
  6 Claire Rasmus    JR Texas A&M           48.41      48.49 qB     
    r:+0.71  11.41        23.71 (12.30)
          36.22 (12.51)       48.49 (12.27)
  7 Julie Meynen     SO Auburn              47.61      48.55 qB     
    r:+0.66  11.13        23.42 (12.29)
          36.02 (12.60)       48.55 (12.53)
  8 Bailey Scott     SR Alabama             48.95      48.79 qB     
    r:+0.73  11.04        23.33 (12.29)
          36.09 (12.76)       48.79 (12.70)

After deviating from his normal program to swim the 200 IM and 100 breast earlier in the meet, Dressel returned to his bread-and-butter event for the last day of the meet. He qualified first in the men’s 100 free in 41.50 after going out in a leisurely 20.32 and coming back in 21.18.

Finishing almost seven tenths back was Auburn’s Peter Holoda. After splitting 40.80 anchoring the Tigers’ 400 medley relay Saturday night, Holoda swam a time of 42.17 in prelims, just ahead of teammate Zach Apple (42.40).

It took a sub-43-second swim to make the A-final, with Alabama’s Robert Howard (42.67), Tennessee’s Kyle Decoursey (42.72), Missouri’s Mikel Schreuder (42.83), Florida’s Kader Baqlah (42.86) and Florida’s Maxime Rooney (42.94) all getting in.s

Event 37  Men 100 Yard Freestyle
==================================================================
      US Open: O 40.00  3/25/2017 Caeleb Dressel, Florida
         NCAA: N 40.00  3/25/2017 Caeleb Dressel, Florida
     American: M 40.00  3/25/2017 Caeleb Dressel, Florida
     SEC Meet: S 41.07  2/20/2016 Caeleb Dressel, Florida
  Pool Record: P 41.08  3/28/2009 Nathan Adrian, CAL
                 42.11  A
                 44.29  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Caeleb Dressel   SR Florida             43.36      41.50 qA     
     r:+0.68  9.22        20.32 (11.10)
          30.99 (10.67)       41.50 (10.51)
  2 Peter Holoda     SR Auburn              42.44      42.17 qB     
     r:+0.69  9.70        20.32 (10.62)
          31.28 (10.96)       42.17 (10.89)
  3 Zachary Apple    JR Auburn              42.74      42.40 qB     
     r:+0.70  9.65        20.33 (10.68)
          31.37 (11.04)       42.40 (11.03)
  4 Robert Howard    JR Alabama             41.99      42.64 qB     
     r:+0.71  9.61        20.22 (10.61)
          31.27 (11.05)       42.64 (11.37)
  5 Kyle Decoursey   JR Tennessee           42.30      42.72 qB     
     r:+0.72  9.74        20.43 (10.69)
          31.75 (11.32)       42.72 (10.97)
  6 Mikel Schreuder  JR Missouri            42.86      42.83 qB     
     r:+0.74  9.91        20.64 (10.73)
          31.82 (11.18)       42.83 (11.01)
  7 Khader Baqlah    SO Florida             43.45      42.86 qB     
    r:+0.72  10.17        20.91 (10.74)
          32.01 (11.10)       42.86 (10.85)
  8 Maxime Rooney    SO Florida             43.02      42.94 qB     
     r:+0.67  9.71        20.69 (10.98)
          32.01 (11.32)       42.94 (10.93)

Texas A&M traditionaly excels in the women’s 200 breast, and this day was no different. Five Aggies qualified for the championship final, including the top three seeds. Pickrem, already the winner of both IMs in College Station, qualified first in 2:06.10.

Teammates Esther Gonzalez Medina and Anna Belousova swam on either side of Pickrem in the final heat and qualified second and third, respectively. Gonzalez touched in 2:07.43 and Belousova in 2:07.48. A&M’s Bethany Galat, the World Championships silver medalist in the 200-meter breast, took fifth in 2:08.87, andthe fifth Aggie, Jorie Caneta, was seventh in 2:09.24.

Kentucky’s Bailey Bonnett put up a quick time of 2:07.69 to finish fourth, while South Carolina teammates Kersten Dirrane (2:08.98) and Albury Higgs (2:09.46) were sixth and eighth, respectively.

Event 38  Women 200 Yard Breaststroke
==================================================================
      US Open: O 2:03.18  3/18/2017 Lilly King, Indiana
         NCAA: N 2:03.18  3/18/2017 Lilly King, Indiana
     American: M 2:03.18  3/18/2017 Lilly King, Indiana
     SEC Meet: S 2:04.92  2/22/2014 Breeja Larson, Texas A&M
  Pool Record: P 2:05.17  2/20/2016 Breeja Larson, NYAC
                 2:07.18  A
                 2:15.99  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Sydney Pickrem   JR Texas A&M         2:05.96    2:06.10 qA     
    r:+0.78  29.12      1:01.16 (32.04)
        1:33.85 (32.69)     2:06.10 (32.25)
  2 Esther Gonzalez  SR Texas A&M         2:08.32    2:07.43 qB     
    r:+0.73  29.75      1:01.92 (32.17)
        1:34.58 (32.66)     2:07.43 (32.85)
  3 Anna Belousova   SO Texas A&M         2:08.97    2:07.48 qB     
    r:+0.72  29.16      1:01.64 (32.48)
        1:34.47 (32.83)     2:07.48 (33.01)
  4 Bailey Bonnett   FR Kentucky          2:07.83    2:07.69 qB     
    r:+0.68  29.11      1:01.68 (32.57)
        1:34.42 (32.74)     2:07.69 (33.27)
  5 Bethany Galat    SR Texas A&M         2:06.52    2:08.87 qB     
    r:+0.68  29.66      1:02.13 (32.47)
        1:35.00 (32.87)     2:08.87 (33.87)
  6 Kersten Dirrane  SR South Carolina    2:12.67    2:08.98 qB     
    r:+0.71  29.53      1:01.98 (32.45)
        1:35.21 (33.23)     2:08.98 (33.77)
  7 Jorie Caneta     SR Texas A&M         2:08.91    2:09.24 qB     
    r:+0.72  28.97      1:01.53 (32.56)
        1:34.87 (33.34)     2:09.24 (34.37)
  8 Albury Higgs     SO South Carolina    2:14.33    2:09.46 qB     
    r:+0.77  29.33      1:02.29 (32.96)
        1:35.35 (33.06)     2:09.46 (34.11)

The Texas A&M men sit in second place in the team standings but have yet to record an individual victory. That could change in the final individual event of the meet as Mauro Castillo Luna posted the top time in the men’s 200 breast prelims at 1:52.84. That time is the fastest in the country this season.

Florida’s Mark Szaranek took second in 1:53.40, and Texas A&M’s Jonathan Tybur was third in 1:53.56. Both of those times also rank among the top five nationally.

Georgia’s James Guest took fourth in 1:54.21, ahead of Texas A&M’s Austin Van Overdam (1:54.45), South Carolina’s Nils WichGlasen (1:54.60), Florida’s Ross Palazzo (1:54.95) and Texas A&M’s Tanner Olson (1:54.98.

Event 39  Men 200 Yard Breaststroke
==================================================================
      US Open: O 1:47.91  3/25/2017 Will Licon, Texas
         NCAA: N 1:47.91  3/25/2017 Will Licon, Texas
     American: M 1:47.91  3/25/2017 Will Licon, Texas
     SEC Meet: S 1:51.58  2/21/2015 Nic Fink, Georgia
  Pool Record: P 1:51.40  3/28/2009 Neil Versfeld, UGA
                 1:52.94  A
                 1:59.79  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Mauro Castillo   SR Texas A&M         1:54.14    1:52.84 qA     
    r:+0.65  26.09        54.81 (28.72)
        1:23.49 (28.68)     1:52.84 (29.35)
  2 Mark Szaranek    SR Florida           1:55.75    1:53.40 qB     
    r:+0.73  25.54        54.08 (28.54)
        1:23.52 (29.44)     1:53.40 (29.88)
  3 Jonathan Tybur   SR Texas A&M         1:54.56    1:53.56 qB     
    r:+0.73  25.81        54.89 (29.08)
        1:24.01 (29.12)     1:53.56 (29.55)
  4 James Guest      JR Georgia           1:53.46    1:54.21 qB     
    r:+0.67  25.74        54.59 (28.85)
        1:24.15 (29.56)     1:54.21 (30.06)
  5 Austin Van Over  JR Texas A&M         1:56.60    1:54.45 qB     
    r:+0.66  25.86        54.63 (28.77)
        1:24.00 (29.37)     1:54.45 (30.45)
  6 Nils Wich-Glase  SR South Carolina    1:54.84    1:54.60 qB     
    r:+0.69  25.42        54.22 (28.80)
        1:24.01 (29.79)     1:54.60 (30.59)
  7 Ross Palazzo     JR Florida           1:59.87    1:54.95 qB     
    r:+0.73  26.05        55.05 (29.00)
        1:24.81 (29.76)     1:54.95 (30.14)
  8 Tanner Olson     FR Texas A&M         1:55.65    1:54.98 qB     
    r:+0.71  26.03        55.11 (29.08)
        1:24.89 (29.78)     1:54.98 (30.09)

Full results

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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