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SEC Finals Day 2: Aggie Ladies Lead, Gator Men Continue To Dominate Relays

SEC Finals Day 2: Aggie Ladies Lead, Gator Men Continue To Dominate Relays
That is a wrap from day two at the 2017 Southeastern Conference Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee. After two days of competition, the Texas A&M Aggies lead on the women's side with 488 points ahead of second-place Georgia's 410 points. On the men's side, Florida has a commanding lead with 486.5 points and is pulling away from second-place Auburn, which has 346 points. 

Texas A&M is leading the women's meet through its supreme depth. With stars such as ​Bethany Galat, Sydney Pickrem, Beryl Gastaldello, Lisa Bratton, ​and more it is going to be tough for the Georgia Bulldogs, who trail be 78 points, to catch up. Meanwhile, Florida is dominating the men's meet through a clean sweep of the relays. The Gators have won each relay that has been contested behind strong performances from ​Caeleb Dressel ​and ​Maxime Rooney​. It will be interesting to see how the meet plays out heading into its final two days. Stay tuned.

​500-Yard Freestyle

SEC Meet Record: 4:34.63 (Brittany MacLean - UGA, 2014)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 4:36.30
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 4:47.79

​It was never a runaway, but ​Sarah Gibson​ of Texas A&M was in control of the race the entire time, winning with a 4:38.92. Nipping at her heels throughout the race was Auburn senior ​Ashley Neidigh​,​ who finished second in 4:39.91. Gibson's time is the 10th fastest in the country this season and is a bit of redemption as she finished in third place at last year's SEC Championships. A pair of Kentucky swimmers, ​Kendal Casey ​and ​Geena Freriks​, fought hard throughout the race and finished in third and fourth, respectively, with a 4:40.81 and 4:40.85. 

Top 8 Results

1.) Sarah Gibson (Texas A&M): 4:38.92
2.) Ashley Neidigh (Auburn): 4:39.91
3.) Kendal Casey (Kentucky): 4:40.81
4.) Geena Freriks (Kentucky): 4:40.85
5.) Rachel Zilinskas (Georgia) 4:42.22
6.) Kira Zubar (Mizzou): 4:42.79
7.) Ayumi Macias (Arkansas): 4:43.28
8.) Sycerika McMahon (Texas A&M): 4:46.38

SEC Meet Record: 4:10.73 (Dan Wallace - Florida, 2014)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 4:13.22
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 4:24.99

​Fynn Minuth​ of South Carolina took this race wire to wire with a winning time of 4:11.07, just short of ​Dan Wallace's ​​SEC meet record time of 4:10.73. Minuth was out in a blazing 2:03 at the 250 and faded a bit as Florida's ​Mitch D'Arrigo​ made up some ground. However, it was too little too late as Minuth had developed enough of a lead to take the SEC title. D'Arrigo, the NCAA runner-up in this event, finished in second with a 4:12.71. Georgia's ​Kevin Litherland ​rounded out the podium in third with a 4:15.98.

Top 8 Results

1.) Fynn Minuth (South Carolina): 4:11.07 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Mitch D'Arrigo (Florida): 4:12.71 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Kevin Litherland (Georgia): 4:15.98
4.) Jay Litherland (Georgia): 4:16.41
5.) Walker Higgins (Georgia): 4:16.54
6.) Ben Lawless (Florida): 4:16.94
7.) Isaac Jones (Kentucky): 4:17.52
8.) Akaram Mahmoud (South Carolina): 4:17.57

200 IM

SEC Meet Record: 1:52.87 (Melanie Margalis - UGA, 2014)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 1:55.35
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 2:01.59

The freshman sensation from Tennessee, ​Meghan Small​, took the SEC title with a blistering-fast time of 1:53.31, just shy of ​Melanie Margalis' ​meet record of 1:52.87. ​Asia Seidt ​of Kentucky was out front at the 100 thanks to a swift backstroke leg but could not hang on as the field made up ground. ​Sydney Pickrem ​of Texas A&M made an effort to take the lead from Small on the freestyle leg, but she ran out of space and finished in second with a 1:53.64. Pickrem's teammate ​Bethany Galat​, the runner-up from last year's meet, finished in third with a 1:54.86.

Top 8 Results

1.) Meghan Small (Tennessee): 1:53.31 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Sydney Pickrem (Texas A&M): 1:53.64 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Bethany Galat (Texas A&M): 1:54.86 (NCAA 'A')
4.) Asia Seidt (Kentucky): 1:55.02 (NCAA 'A')
5.) Lisa Bratton (Texas A&M): 1:56.30
6.) Monika Gonzalez-Hermosillo (Texas A&M): 1:56.50
7.) Emma Barksdale (South Carolina): 1:56.65
8.) Meaghan Raab (Georgia): 1:59.44

SEC Meet Record: 1:41.76 (Ryan Lochte - Florida, 2005)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 1:42.15
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 1:49.09

At the halfway mark, this was anybody's race. Enter ​Chase Kalisz.​ The Georgia senior and Olympic silver medalist dropped a blazing-fast 28.39 breaststroke split to take over at the 150. Florida's ​Mark Szaranek​ came home charging on the freestyle leg but could not overcome Kalisz and finished second with a 1:41.30 to Kalisz's winning time of 1:41.28. Of note, Kalisz's time was a new SEC meet record, breaking ​Ryan Lochte's ​mark of 1:41.76 from 2005. Florida's ​Jan Switkowski​ finished in third with a 1:42.35.

Top 8 Results

1.) Chase Kalisz (Georgia): 1:41.28 (SEC MEET RECORD)
2.) Mark Szaranek (Florida): 1:41.30 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Jan Switkowski (Florida): 1:42.35
4.) Joe Patching (Auburn): 1:42.63
5.) Gunnar Bentz (Georgia): 1:43.81
6.) Anton McKee (Alabama): 1:44.55
7.) Alex Lebed (Florida): 1:44.89
8.) Michael Duderstadt (Auburn): 1:45.45

50 Freestyle

SEC Meet Record: 21.34 (Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace - Auburn, 2011)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 21.80
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 22.99

​"Back to back. Yeah, we're going back to back." -Drake (probably) about the Tennessee ladies. After ​Meghan Small's​ victorious 200 IM, her teammate ​Madeline Banic ​followed up with an SEC title of her own in the 50 freestyle with a smoking fast 21.54. The Sophomore out-touched Georgia senior and reigning NCAA Champion in this event ​Olivia Smoliga ​,​who finished second in 21.56. Alabama's Bailey Scott surprised the field by touching third in 21.84.​

Top 8 Results

1.) Madeline Banic (Tennessee): 21.54 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Olivia Smoliga (Georgia) 21.56 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Bailey Scott (Alabama) 21.84
4.) Beryl Gastaldello (Texas A&M): 21.95
5.) Chantal Van Landeghem (Georgia): 22.07
6.) Kira Toussaint (Tennessee): 22.22
7.) Haylee Knight (LSU): 22.28
8.) Leah Troskot (LSU): 22.37

SEC Meet Record: 18.23 (Caeleb Dressel - Florida, 2016)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 19.09
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 20.19

​This one was ​Caeleb Dressel​ from the start. He's the fastest man in history in this race. What else did you expect? Dressel was the only sub-19-second swim, winning with a 18.46, which is pedestrian by his standards. In second place was Alabama's ​Zane Waddell​ with a 19.17. The freshman from South Africa showed a lot of emotion after that swim, and his Crimson Tide teammates celebrated with equal enthusiasm. Third place was Missouri's ​Michael Chadwick​ with a 19.21.

Top 8 Results​

1.) Caeleb Dressel (Florida): 18.46 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Zane Waddell (Alabama): 19.17
3.) Michael Chadwick (Mizzou): 19.21
4.) Cory Bolleter (Texas A&M): 19.22
5.) Zach Apple (Auburn): 19.23
6.) Kyle Decoursey (Tennessee): 19.25
7.) Peter Holoda (Tennessee): 19.43
8.) Enzo Martinez Scarpe (Florida): 19.67

200 Freestyle Relay

SEC Meet Record: 1:26.89 (Georgia, 2013)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 1:28.98
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 1:29.75

​It was a nail-biter between the top three teams -- Georgia, Auburn, and Tennessee -- but the Bulldogs went wire to wire to capture the sprint freestyle relay with a 1:27.57 behind ​Olivia Smoliga's​ 21.83 leadoff split. Smoliga was the only swimmer in field to leadoff with a sub-22-second split. Auburn finished in second place with a 1:27.86, led by freshman ​Julie Meynen​,​ who threw down a 21.59 on the third leg. This was just enough to out-touch SEC champion ​Madeline Banic​ and the Tennessee Volunteers, who claimed the third spot with a 1:27.96. Banic had the fastest split in the entire race with a smoking-fast 21.53 to anchor Tennessee's relay.

Full Results

1.) Georgia: 1:27.57 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Auburn: 1:27.86 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Tennessee: 1:27.96 (NCAA 'A')
4.) Texas A&M: 1:28.85 (NCAA 'A')
5.) LSU: 1:29.20
6.) Alabama: 1:29.28
7.) Mizzou: 1:30.03
8.) Florida: 1:30.98
9.) South Carolina: 1:31.27
10.) Kentucky: 1:32.00
11.) Arkansas: 1:32.56
12.) Vanderbilt: 1:33.14

SEC Meet Record: 1:15.47 (Auburn, 2009)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 1:17.77
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 1:18.46

​It's a bird. It's a plane. Nope, it's just ​Caeleb Dressel​ doing Caeleb Dressel things. The junior sprint sensation proved that lightning can strike twice as he tied USC's ​Vladimir Morozov​ for the fastest 50-yard freestyle split in history with a mind-numbing 17.86. Dressel vaulted the Gators into first place after his second leg, and they never looked back, taking the SEC title with a 1:15.67, which is just shy of Auburn's meet record from 2009. The Tigers finished in second place with a 1:16.03 behind a pair of 18s from ​Peter Holoda ​and ​Kyle Darmody​. Alabama rounded out the podium in third with a 1:16.40 from a very consistent relay. Freshman standout ​Zane Waddell​, who finished second in the individual 50, led off with a 19.26, and his teammates followed suit with three 19.0s.

Full Results

1.) Florida: 1:15.67 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Auburn: 1:16.03 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Alabama: 1:16.40 (NCAA 'A')
4.) Mizzou: 1:17.45 (NCAA 'A')
5.) Texas A&M: 1:17.52 (NCAA 'A')
6.) Tennessee: 1:17.64 (NCAA 'A')
7.) South Carolina: 1:18.69 
8.) Georgia: 1:18.88
9.) Kentucky: 1:18.91
10.) LSU: 1:19.08

Team Scores​

1.) Texas A&M: 488
2.) Georgia: 410
3.) Auburn: 371
4.) Mizzou: 349
5.) Tennessee: 344
6.) Kentucky: 310
7.) Florida: 238
8.) LSU: 231
9.) South Carolina: 203
10.) Alabama: 187
11.) Arkansas: 133
12.) Vanderbilt: 30

1.)​ Florida: 486.5
2.)​ Auburn: 346
3.)​ Texas A&M: 324
4.)​ Georgia: 314
5.)​ Alabama: 287
6.)​ South Carolina: 278
7.)​ Tennessee: 261.5
8.)​ LSU: 199
​ Kentucky: 196
10.) Mizzou: 186
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