By Sharon Robb
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., February 20, 2022—University of Florida men’s team won its tenth consecutive Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championship Saturday night at Jones Aquatics Center.
The Gators won with 1,414 points, a 476-point cushion over Tennessee and Alabama. It was the fourth time in team history the Gators cracked 1,400 points.
And the Gators did it without defending SEC champions Bobby Finke and Dillon Hillis, both scratched from the meet because of COVID-19 protocols.
The Gators swept all the men’s relays. In individual events, Olympian and senior Kieran Smith led the Gators’ winning the 400-yard individual medley. Sophomore Adam Chaney won the 100-yard backstroke, breaking Ryan Lochte’s school record in 44.51.
The Gators dominated the final day of competition taking seven of the top nine spots in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
Winning for the Gators were:
200-yard medley relay: Adam Chaney, Dillon Hillis, Eric Friese, Alberto Mester, 1:22.06, SEC record.
800-yard freestyle relay: Kieran Smith, Trey Freeman, Oskar Lindholm, Alfonso Mestre, 6:08.00, SEC record.
200-yard freestyle relay: Adam Chaney, Eric Friese, Kieran Smith, Macguire McDuff, 1:15.18, SEC record.
400-yard individual medley: Kieran Smith, Senior, 3:39.33.
400-yard medley relay: Adam Chaney, Amro Al-Wir, Eric Friese, Kieran Smith, 3:02.61.
1650-yard freestyle: Trey Freeman, Junior, 14:39.74.
200-yard backstroke: Kieran Smith, Senior, 1:39.51.
400-yard freestyle relay: Macguire McDuff, Adam Chaney, Eric Friese, Kieran Smith, 2:46.91.
It was the 43rd overall title for the Gators. Florida is now primed for the March 23-26 NCAA Men’s Championships in Atlanta.
In the women’s competition, Tennessee won its second women’s title in three years. The Volunteers won with 1,313.5 points ahead of Kentucky with 1,043 and Alabama, 1,038. The Gators were fifth with 905 points. It was Tennessee’s highest point total in team history.
Freshman Ellen Walshe became the third woman in the team’s history to win three individual events in a single SEC Championships.
Walshe won the 400-yard individual medley in 4:01.53, second fastest in NCAA history this season, and 100-yard butterfly in 50.34. She also won the 200 IM in 1:52.97. She was a member of the winning 800-yard freestyle relay.
The Vols also picked up a win from freshman Julia Mrozinski in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:35.95, third fastest in the NCAA this season.
The Volunteers won the 800-yard freestyle relay and finished runner-up in the remaining relays. All five relays were under NCAA A cuts.
Other Tennessee winners were:
800-yard freestyle relay: Julia Mrozinski, Ellen Walshe, Trude Rothrock, Tjasa Pintar – 6:56.81, pool record.
100-yard breaststroke: Mona McSharry, 57.50.
1650-yard freestyle: Kristen Stege, 15:42.37.
Among Florida Gold Coast swimmer results:
South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding, a junior at University of Florida, competed in three events. She was 18th in the 200 IM in a best time 1:57.63, seventh in the 400 IM in 4:11.14 and 21st in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 16:27.95. She dropped 1.32 second off her previous 1:58.95 200 IM.
Florida freshman Anna Auld was 33rd in the 500 freestyle in 4:48.87; 11th in the 400 IM in a best time 4:11.02 and 10th in the 1,650-yard freestyle in a best time 16:16.87, dropping 10.25 seconds.
SOFLO’s Molly Golding and Miguel Cancel did not compete.
In his SEC debut for University of South Carolina, Aruba’s Patrick Groters competed in three events. The former NSU University School and Pine Crest swimmer broke the school record in the 200 IM C-final with a best time of 1:43.77. The previous school record was 1:44.00 by Tomas Peribonio in 2018. Groters finished first in the C-final and was bumped up from 17th to 15th place after two swimmers were disqualified from the A-final. He was 18th in the 400 IM in a best time 3:47.17, dropping 1.12 and 13th in the 200 backstroke in 1:43.24, also a best time dropping 1.93.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com