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By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Florida men and the University of Georgia women captured the 2014 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday in front of a capacity crowd of 1,430 fans at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens.
The Florida men won their 35th all-time SEC title and second consecutive, scoring 1440 total team points. Auburn was second with 1280.5 points and Georgia was third with 1095. Alabama placed fourth with 798 points, while Missouri was fifth with 742.5.
“It was just such a tremendous swim meet,” Florida head coach Gregg Troy said. “It’s like the NCAAs used to be, at least from a time standpoint tonight. Winning the title the first time was really great, but coming back and having the opportunity to repeat really speaks a lot about our team and what a great group of guys we have. In this climate in here, it’s a great racing atmosphere and everyone just swam fast. I’ve got a great staff, and they’ve just done a tremendous job.”
The Georgia women won their 11th all-time SEC title and fifth consecutive, leading from start to finish, and tallying 1589 total team points. Texas A&M was second with 1204 team points and Florida was third with 1130 points. Auburn placed fourth with 804 points, while Tennessee was fifth with 780.
"We could not be happier for our young ladies,” Georgia senior associate head coach Harvey Humphries said. “This is a team that has so much pride. They set their goals at the beginning of the season, and everything they've done so far has helped them reach this point. We still have a lot of things we want to do as a team, but we're going to let ourselves enjoy this one. This is something these swimmers and divers should be proud of because winning a title in this league isn't easy."
Florida’s Sebastien Rousseau scored 96 points and earned the SEC Men’s Commissioner’s Trophy, while Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel and Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga shared the SEC Women’s Commissioner’s Trophy with 92 points.
Georgia’s Brittany MacLean won the women’s 1,650 freestyle in an SEC-record time of 15:40.77. That gives Georgia five SEC women’s 1,650 free titles in the last six years as Wendy Trott won four in a row from 2009-12. MacLean broke the previous SEC record of 15:45.79 set by Texas A&M’s Sarah Henry last season. Georgia’s Amber McDermott was second in 15:50.45, while Henry was third in 15:52.74.
Arthur Frayler broke Florida’s oldest school record en route to winning the men’s 1,650 freestyle in a nation-leading time of 14:38.06. The title was Florida’s first in the event since 2003, when Ryan Lochte took home the event. Florida’s Mitch D’Arrigo was second in 14:43.15, while Georgia’s Andrew Gemmell was third in 14:45.77.
Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga captured the women’s 100 freestyle in a time of 47.51, giving her team three consecutive titles in the event. Teammate Shannon Vreeland was second in 47.64, while Florida’s Natalie Hinds was third in 47.71.
Auburn’s Marcelo Chierighini won his third consecutive SEC men’s 100 freestyle title in 41.90. He became the first three-time winner in that event since Auburn’s Cesar Cielo won three in a row from 2006-08. Tennessee’s Luke Percy was second in 42.22, while Auburn’s Kyle Darmody was third in 42.40.
Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel won her fourth consecutive women’s 200 backstroke title in a time of 1:50.62. She is the first four-time winner in the event since Georgia’s Keegan Walkley won four in a row from 1998-2001. Florida’s Sinead Russell was second in 1:51.84, while Georgia’s Rachel Zilinskas was third in 1:52.74.
Tennessee’s Sean Lehane won his school’s first SEC men’s 200 backstroke title since 1993, doing so in a time of 1:39.64. Florida’s Corey Main was second in 1:40.99, while Georgia’s Ty Stewart was third in 1:41.81.
After shattering the SEC women’s 200 breaststroke record during Saturday morning’s prelims with a time of 2:04.92, Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson claimed the event in the evening session in a time of 2:05.19. Georgia’s Melanie Margalis was second in 2:06.23, while teammate Annie Zhu was third in 2:07.01.
Alabama’s Anton McKee became the first Alabama athlete since 2006 to win the SEC men’s 200 breaststroke title, doing so in an SEC-record time of 1:51.59. He broke the previous SEC record of 1:52.07, set by Georgia’s Neil Versfeld in 2009. Georgia’s Nic Fink was second in 1:51.95, while Florida’s Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez was third in 1:52.77.
Tennessee’s Tori Lamp broke her own SEC women’s platform diving record to win the event with a score of 356.10. It shattered her previous SEC platform record of 341.90 and marked her third consecutive SEC crown in that event. Georgia’s Laura Ryan was second with a score of 339.65, while LSU’s Cassie Weil was third at 310.75.
The Georgia women took home the 400 freestyle relay, just barely missing the SEC meet record, and logging a time of 3:11.29. The quartet consisted of Shannon Vreeland, Maddie Locus, Chantal Van Landeghem and Smoliga. It was Georgia’s second consecutive title in the event.Tennessee was second in 3:12.76, while Florida was third in 3:14.11.
Auburn won the men’s 400 freestyle relay for the ninth consecutive year in a time of 2:47.49, using the quartet of Marcelo Chierighini, James Disney-May, Arthur Mendes and Kyle Darmody. Florida was second in 2:50.51, while Alabama was third in 2:50.78.
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2014 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships: Day Five (February 22, 2014 – Athens, Ga.)
Men’s Commissioner’s Trophy (high-points): Sebastien Rousseau, Florida (96 points)
Women’s Commissioner’s Trophy (high-points): Elizabeth Beisel, Florida and Olivia Smoliga, Georgia (92 points)
Men’s Swimmer of the Meet: Sebastien Rousseau, Florida
Women’s Swimmer of the Meet: Breeja Larson, Texas A&M
Men’s Diver of the Meet: Ford McLiney, Texas A&M
Women’s Diver of the Meet: Laura Ryan, Georgia
Saturday Finals Results
Men’s Team Standings (final): 1. Florida 1440; 2. Auburn 1280.5; 3. Georgia 1095; 4. Alabama 798; 5. Missouri 742.5; 6. Tennessee 713; 7. Texas A&M 609; 8. Kentucky 532; 9. LSU 531; 10. South Carolina 491.
Women’s Team Standings (final): 1. Georgia 1589; 2. Texas A&M 1204; 3. Florida 1130; 4. Auburn 804; 5. Tennessee 780; 6. Arkansas 572; 7. LSU 548; 8. Alabama 526; 9. Missouri 475.5; 10. Kentucky 426; 11. South Carolina 260; 12. Vanderbilt 186.5.
Women’s 1650 Freestyle (Top-eight finishers)
1. Brittany MacLean, UG (15:40.77); 2. Amber McDermott, UG (15:50.45); 3. Sarah Henry, AM (15:52.74); 4. Danielle Valley, UF (15:53.94); 5. Alicia Mathieu, UF (15:58.64); 6. Rachel Zilinskas, UG (15:59.51); 7. Jessica Thielmann, UF (16:05.10); 8. Nicole Menzel, AR (16:15.14).
Men’s 1650 Freestyle (Top-eight finishers)
1. Arthur Frayler, UF (14:38.06); 2. Mitch D’Arrigo, UF (14:43.15); 3. Andrew Gemmell, UG (14:45.77); 4. Matias Koski, UG (14:45.91); 5. Zane Grothe, AU (14:54.16); 6. Will Freeman, UG (14:54.22); 7. Garrett Powell, UG (15:02.95); 8. Brandon Flynn, UK (15:03.42).
Women’s 100 Freestyle (A final)
1. Olivia Smoliga, UG (47.51); 2. Shannon Vreeland, UG (47.64); 3. Natalie Hinds, UF (47.71); 4. Maddie Locus, UG (47.90); 5. Liliana Ibanez Lopez, AM (48.18); 6. Anna Patterson, MU (48.21); 7. Faith Johnson, UT (48.49); 8. Lindsay Gendron, UT (48.64).
Men’s 100 Freestyle (A final)
1. Marcelo Chierighini, AU (41.90); 2. Luke Percy, UT (42.22); 3. Kyle Darmody, AU (42.40); 4. Bradley deBorde, UF (42.68); 5. BJ Hornikel, UA (42.81); 6. Arthur Mendes, AU (42.94); 7. Kristian Gkolomeev, UA (43.02); 8. Doug Reynolds, UG (43.12).
Women’s 200 Backstroke (A final)
1. Elizabeth Beisel, UF (1:50.62); 2. Sinead Russell, UF (1:51.84); 3. Rachel Zilinskas, UG (1:52.74); 4. Aubrey Peacock, AU (1:53.51); 5. Melanie McClure, AM (1:54.01); 6. Jordan Mattern, UG (1:54.06); 7. Anna Mayfield, AR (1:54.50); 8. Jillian Vitarius, AU (1:54.98).
Men’s 200 Backstroke (A final)
1. Sean Lehane, UT (1:39.64); 2. Corey Main, UF (1:40.99); 3. Ty Stewart, UG (1:41.81); 4. Connor Oslin, UA (1:42.46); 5. Connor Signorin, UF (1:43.06); 6. Carter Griffin, MU (1:43.60); 7. Carlos Omana, UF (1:43.71); 8. Garrett Powell, UG (1:43.88).
Women’s 200 Breaststroke (A final)
1. Breeja Larson, AM (2:05.19); 2. Melanie Margalis, UG (2:06.23); 3. Annie Zhu, UG (2:07.01); 4. Molly Hannis, UT (2:07.14); 5. Ashley McGregor, AM (2:07.38); 6. Bridget Blood, UA (2:08.13); 7. Kaylin Burchell, UA (2:08.43); 8. Shannon O’Malley, UG (2:10.66).
Men’s 200 Breaststroke (A final)
1. Anton McKee, UA (1:51.59); 2. Nic Fink, UG (1:51.95); 3. Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez, UF (1:52.77); 4. Igor Kozlovskij, MU (1:54.95); 5. Matthew Elliott, UF (1:55.01); 6. Pavel Romanov, UA (1:55.59); 6. Michael Duderstadt, AU (1:56.15); 8. Alex Vance, SC (1:56.47).
Women’s Platform Diving
1. Tori Lamp, UT (356.10); 2. Laura Ryan, UG (339.65); 3. Cassie Weil, LS (310.75); 4. Alex Bettridge, LS (300.25); 5. Ann-Perry Blank, UG (287.45); 6. Shanna Schuelein, AU (263.45); 7. Cinzia Calabretta, AU (262.85); 8. Patty Kranz, SC (244.25).
Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay
1. Georgia (3:11.29) – Vreeland, Locus, Van Landeghem, Smoliga; 2. Tennessee (3:12.76) – Johnson, Bruens, McNeilis, Gendron; 3. Florida (3:14.11) – Russell, Hinds, Linn, Beisel; 4. Texas A&M (3:14.77) – Bosma, Dittmer, Oliver, Ibanez Lopez; 5. Auburn (3:16.11) – Krakoski, Purcell, Merritt, Bos; 6. Arkansas (3:16.16) – White, Drolc, Mayfield, Monroe; 7. Missouri (3:18.34) – Patterson, Barbiea, Hammond, Trost; 8. LSU (3:19.19) – Troskot, Carter, Cox, Kopcso; 9. Alabama (3:20.70) – Vourna, Scott, Kinsey, Saunders; 10. Kentucky (3:21.91) – Bechtel, Wilson, Myers, Galyer; 11. Vanderbilt (3:25.16) – Moran, Roberts, Thomas, Martin; 12. South Carolina (3:26.34) – Raczkowski, Worrell, Elliott, Brown.
Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay
1. Auburn (2:47.49) – Chierighini, Disney-May, Mendes, Darmody; 2. Florida (2:50.51) – Rousseau, deBorde, Main, Cieslak; 3. Alabama (2:50.78) – Gkolomeev, Hornikel, Caciuc, Walsh; 4. Tennessee (2:51.14) – Percy, Rairden, Tillman, Lehane; 5. Texas A&M (2:52.90) – Troskot, Bolleter, Lindau, Schweitzer; 6. Georgia (2:53.04) – Reynolds, Fink, Trice, Kalisz; 7. LSU (2:54.76) – Linge, Gonzalez, Crosson, Greeff; 8. Missouri (2:54.96) – Chadwick, Mosley, Glogoza, Witte; 9. South Carolina (2:55.62) – El Kamash, Leithold, Warner, Flach; 10. Kentucky (2:56.81) – Lott, Bruck, Christian, Crosthwaite.
University of Georgia
Women’s 1650y Freestyle Champion
“"I have just been having fun all week with my teammates. They've been really supportive and everyone is motivating everyone to do better. This morning was a fantastic morning for our team and I just wanted to keep the momentum rolling tonight so I just went for it. We've had a great training group this year and I couldn't be happier with where we're at."
University of Georgia
Men’s 1650y Freestyle Champion
“It felt pretty good. The back half definitely hurt. I saw Mitch there the whole time with me. I knew I had to break at the end because he’s got a little more speed than me but when you win there really is no pain at the end.
University of Georgia
Women’s 100y Freestyle Champion
"I knew it was going to be close. With the 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle, you never really know what the outcome is going to be because people swim it so differently, but I knew it was going to be a tight competition because there were so many fast people in the heat. I'm just so happy about the turnout."
Men’s 100y Freestyle Champion
“I just wanted to help my teammates score as many points as possible. I didn't really care about the time, I just wanted to defend my title."
University of Florida
Women’s 200y Backstroke Champion
“It's not an easy conference to win in and I showed a little bit more emotion than I thought I was going to just because it's not easy to win four years in a row. It's a lot of relief. I'm glad it's over now.”
University of Tennessee
Men’s 200y Backstroke Champion
“I saw some thing I could improve [in prelims] and I was just really focusing on that during warm-ups and it felt really good during my finals swim.”
Texas A&M University
Women’s 200y Breaststroke Champion
“It’s a huge confidence boost. A lot of us aren’t fully tapered and shaved so to get times like that, it makes you really excited to see what you can do when you finally do get tapered and shaved.”
University of Alabama
Men’s 200y Breaststroke Champion
“I swam my whole race the way I planned it. I knew I had the confidence and I knew I had the speed. I just had to go for it.”
University of Tennessee
Women’s Platform Champion
“I love the thrill of the platform. It’s anybody’s game that day and you just have to step up. I haven’t had the training that I’ve wanted lately so I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go but I just had to rely on what I knew and go for it.
University of Georgia
Women’s 4x400y Freestyle Relay Champion Member
“It was a really exciting relay. Going into the last day we knew that we pretty much had the meet on lock, but it’s always exciting to get out there and swim a really good relay. Everyone put up four fantastic times, and all of them swam before, so it was just really exciting to see.”
Men’s 4x400y Freestyle Relay Champion Member
“We just wanted to get the victory and try to score points and do the best that we could, so I’m really happy. I just wanted to win so badly. In the dual meet against Florida, they beat us so we just knew that we wanted to win so badly. I was swimming kind of angry, and I wanted to have as much of a lead as possible. It was great. I’m really proud of this team, and we did our best.”
University of Georgia - Coach
2014 SEC Women’s Champions
"We could not be happier for our young ladies. This is a team that has so much pride. They set their goals at the beginning of the season, and everything they've done so far has helped them reach this point. We still have a lot of things we want to do as a team, but we're going to let ourselves enjoy this one. This is something these swimmers and divers should be proud of because winning a title in this league isn't easy."
University of Florida - Coach
2014 SEC Men’s Champions
“It was just such a tremendous swim meet. It’s like the NCAA’s used to be, at least from a time standpoint tonight. Winning the title the first time was really great, but coming back and having the opportunity to repeat really speaks a lot about our team and what a great group of guys we have. In this climate in here, it’s a great racing atmosphere and everyone just swam fast. I’ve got a great staff, and they’ve just done a tremendous job.”