College Station, TX – The Florida men usurped Auburn for a commanding hold of first as the Georgia women held tight to their first-place lead in day three of the SEC Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships Thursday at the Texas A&M Student Recreation Natatorium.
The Gators’ men’s and women’s teams combined for four victories out of Thursday’s seven events. The men would finish with 748 points, 117.5 points ahead of second-place and defending SEC men’s champion Auburn.
Florida’s first victory would come in the women’s 400-yard individual medley as junior Elizabeth Beisel touched the wall with a time of 3:59.53. Texas A&M placed two of the top three as junior Cammile Adams and sophomore Sarah Henry finished second and third, respectively, with times of 4:02.12 and 4:03.75.
Junior Marcin Cieslak of Florida continued the Gators’ victory streak, claiming victory in the men’s 100-yard butterfly with a time of 46.02. Two Florida freshmen, Natalie Hinds and Pawel Werner, would clinch wins in the next two events by winning the women’s 100-yard butterfly and men’s 200-yard freestyle. Hinds edged Auburn junior Olivia Scott with a time of 51.70. Werner would then beat out fellow teammate Sebastien Rousseau, posting a time of 1:33.82.
Georgia freshman Chase Kalisz picked up where he left off after winning Wednesday’s 200-yard individual medley. Kalisz would beat out Florida’s Dan Wallace, the only other swimmer to make an NCAA “A” cut in the event, in the men’s 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:39.82.
After picking up its first SEC individual diving championship Wednesday, Missouri junior David Bonuchi picked up the Tigers’ second consecutive SEC diving win after scoring 441.95 points in the men’s three-meter dive.
Tennessee junior Lindsay Gendron would win Thursday’s final event, concluding with a time of 1:43.22 in the women’s 200-yard freestyle. Georgia seniors Megan Romano and Allison Schmitt would finish second and third, respectively, with times of 1:43.38 and 1:43.46.
Florida Head Coach Gregg Troy
“It was a great evening for the Gators. I thought we raced really well tonight. Marcin had a small set-back last night, but he bounced back well to get the win in the 100 fly. I thought the whole team did a great job and competed really well tonight.”
Elizabeth Beisel on 400 IM win (UF)
“I go every meet trying to swim my best and any time you swim under four minutes it’s a great feeling. I’m definitely pleased with the swim.”
Marcin Cieslak on close finish to take the win
“It was a really good swim, wasn’t the fastest but I am really happy with the win and to score some points for the Gators.”
Natalie Hinds on first SEC title (UF)
“I was scared at the finish that I wasn’t going to make it, but I am really happy with the swim and glad that I could get my first SEC title.”
Pawel Werner on race (UF)
“It was a really good race. I was happy to get my first win at the SEC Championships.”
Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich
(on Gendron’s victory in the 200 freestyle)
“Winning it in the way she did was just a huge step forward for her and I think for our program. She raced some really high-level competition. In the last 50, she took stock of where she was and she just decided she was going to get her hand on the wall. That was so powerful. It was a very loud and emphatic message to the rest of our team about how to present yourself during a race.”
“Sam’s only swam the 100 fly, I think, six times, so that’s still a really young event for him. That was a monster swim too. And the cool part about it for us is that we know he can be a lot better. That was a really selfless move by him to move from the 200 free to the 100 fly just to experiment. Now we’ve got some information on what he should be doing at NCAAs. We know he can be great in a lot of events."
Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle
“We did a good job. We were a little disappointed because we had a shot to win that 200 (freestyle), Lindsay Gendron swam a great race. I thought we got a little lost as to where we were in the pool and Linsday swam a great race but we were very fortunate to get five of the top 8 in the 400 IM. I think we did enough today to give ourselves a chance to win. I’m really proud of Chase Kalisz today, it was his second win as a freshman so it’s a big deal. It was a good Georgia day.”
Texas A&M head coach Steve Bultman
“I’m very pleased. We got up and raced well. We had a number of people who got to swim again. Camille Adams and Sarah Henry in the 400 IM placed second and third. They’re both right at their best times, in shape and I’m really proud of that.”