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SEC Finals Day 1: Dressel & Gator Men Shine, Aggie Women Take Lead

SEC Finals Day 1: Dressel & Gator Men Shine, Aggie Women Take Lead
The Florida men's and Texas A&M women's swim teams began their Southeastern Conference title defenses in record-breaking fashion on Tuesday night at Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Seeking their fifth straight championship, the Gator men swept both of the opening day's swimming events, including a nation-best and SEC-record time in the 200-yard medley relay. Florida sits in second in the men's team standings behind Texas A&M, which is also atop the women's leaderboard. 

The defending champion Aggies women also got off to a strong start by winning the 800-yard freestyle relay in a school-record time. Texas A&M also broke its previous all-time mark in the 200 medley relay but finished second to Georgia.

200 Medley Relay

SEC Meet Record: 1:35.08 (Tennessee, 2013)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 1:37.21
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 1:37.71

After some intense waiting time where it was determined four teams were disqualified for early exchanges, the water finally became clear and the Georgia squad consisting of ​Olivia Smoliga, ​Emily Cameron​, ​Chelsea Britt​, and ​Chantal Van Landeghem reigned victorious with a blistering 1:35.28. Georgia went into the anchor leg behind A&M, but Van Landeghem blazed a 21.18 freestyle split finishing just 0.05 ahead of A&M. The Aggies finished second with a final time of 1:35.33. Tennessee rounded out the podium in 1:35.45. 

Full Results:

1.) Georgia: 1:35.28 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Texas A&M: 1:35.33 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Tennessee: 1:35.45 (NCAA 'A')
4.) Kentucky: 1:36.76 (NCAA 'A')
5.) Missouri: 1:36.98 (NCAA 'A')
6.) Alabama: 1:37.02 (NCAA 'A')
7.) Auburn: 1:37.11 (NCAA 'A')
8.) Florida: 1:39.03
9.) South Carolina: *DISQUALIFIED*
10.) Arkansas: *DISQUALIFIED*
11.) Vanderbilt: *DISQUALIFIED*

SEC Meet Record: 1:23.69 (Auburn, 2009)​ 1:23.44 (Florida, 2017)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 1:25.05
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 1:25.86

​CAELEB. DRESSEL. 17.90. Let that sink in... Dressel just became the second man in history to drop a sub-18-second 50 freestyle from a relay start behind USC's ​Vladimir Morozov, who did it in 2013. ​Dressel dove in with the Gators in sixth place and absolutely demolished the field, leading Florida to victory in 1:23.44 -- a new SEC meet record. Alabama finished second with a 1:23.52, and Texas A&M claimed third with a 1:23.91.

​Full Results:

1.) Florida: 1:23.44 (SEC MEET RECORD)
2.) Alabama: 1:23.52 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Texas A&M: 1:23.91 (NCAA 'A')
4.) Tennessee: 1:24.08 (NCAA 'A')
5.) Missouri: 1:24.11 (NCAA 'A')
6.) Auburn: 1:24.19 (NCAA 'A')
7.) South Carolina: 1:25.18
8.) Kentucky: 1:25.78
9.) Georgia: 1:25.79
10.) LSU: 1:26.30

800 Freestyle Relay

SEC Meet Record: 6:52.54 (Georgia, 2013)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 7:05.68
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 7:08.93

​This ​was a three-team race the entire way. Texas A&M, Kentucky, and Georgia battled for seven minutes with the Aggies coming out on top in a 6:57.90 behind a pair of 1:43 splits on the bookends from ​Sarah Gibson​ and ​Claire Rasmus​. The Kentucky women got back into the race with a solid 1:43 from freshman sensation ​Asia Seidt​, but it was not enough to overcome the Aggies. Georgia finished in third with a 7:00.44.

​​Full Results:

​1.)​ Texas A&M: 6:57.90 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Kentucky: 6:59.33 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Georgia: 7:00.44 (NCAA 'A')
4.) Missouri: 7:04.22 (NCAA 'A')
5.) Auburn: 7:04.29 (NCAA 'A')
6.) Tennessee: 7:05.48 (NCAA 'A')
7.) LSU: 7:06.21
8.) Florida: 7:06.87
9.) South Carolina: 7:07.52
10.) Arkansas: 7:10.12
11.) Alabama: 7:11.24
12.) Vanderbilt: *DISQUALIFIED*

SEC Meet Record: 6:12.85 (Florida, 2015)​ 6:12.18 
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 6:20.67
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 6:24.50

​Thanks to a smoking-fast 1:31.54 from freshman standout ​Maxime Rooney, ​the Gators claimed their second relay title of the night. Florida's time of 6:12.18 was good for another SEC meet record, also their second of the night. Georgia took the lead after the first leg with a 1:33.83 from ​Jay Litherland​, but Chase Kalisz could not hang on to the lead as Rooney out-split the Georgia senior by almost 2 1/2 seconds. From there, the Gators never looked back, taking the win by over four seconds. Auburn finished in second with a 6:16.78, and Georgia rounded out the podium in third with a 6:17.17.

Full Results:

​1.)​ Florida: 6:12.18 (SEC MEET RECORD)
2.)​ Auburn: 6:16.78 (NCAA 'A')
3.)​ Georgia: 6:17.17 (NCAA 'A')
4.)​ South Carolina: 6:20.45 (NCAA 'A')
5.)​ Alabama: 6:22.41
6.)​ Kentucky: 6:23.51
7.)​ Tennessee: 6:25.75
8.)​ LSU: 6:30.20
9.)​ Texas A&M: 6:30.71
10.) Missouri: *DISQUALIFIED*

Team Standings

1. Texas A&M (188 points)
2. Florida (165.5 points)
3. LSU (154 points)
4. Tennessee (144.5 points)
5. Auburn (128 points)
6. South Carolina (120 points)
7. Alabama (119 points)
8. Kentucky (111 points)
9. Georgia (104 points)
10. Missouri (70 points)
1. Texas A&M (158 points)
2. Georgia (155 points)
3. Missouri (146 points)
4. Auburn (141 points)
5. Kentucky (139 points)
6. Tennessee (132 points)
7. Florida (116 points)
8. South Carolina (90 points)
9. Alabama (87 points)
10. LSU (74 points)
11. Arkansas (58 points)
12. Vanderbilt
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