SEC Swimming and Diving Championships -- Day 2

Here are the order of events for this morning:

Men's 500 Freestyle
Women's 500 Freestyle
Men's 200 IM
Women's 200 IM
Men's 50 Freestyle
Women's 50 Freestyle

On the women's side, we have the top seed in the 500 and the 50. It's going to be a great day of tough racing-- and we should move up from yesterday by the end of tonight.

Already this morning Senior John McClure had a great 500, winning the second heat from lane 8 in a time of 4:25.86, which was 15 seconds faster than his seed time. Hopefully that will get him a second swim but there are still 5 more heats to go. Stay posted!
15 seconds over 500. Wow.
Unlike last year in the Big XII, there will be an “A”, “B”, and “C” final tonight, all of which can score points. That being said, if you are new to swimming you need to know that the “A” final is first place through eighth, the “B” is 9-16 and the “C” is 17-24. Someone in the “C” final could potentially post the fastest time of the meet tonight, but the best they can end up is seventeenth. The same goes for in the “B” final (except they will stay at 9th). So, a potential SEC Champion has a bad morning swim and ends up 9th, it can be extremely detrimental to a team’s points. And take it from me: no swimmer ever wants to come 9th.

Men’s 500 Freestyle

There was a big surprise in the second fastest heat when two seniors from Georgia struggled and ended up slower than their seed times, putting them into the dreaded 9th and 10th positions. Junior Zane Grothe from Auburn is seeded first, and there will be lots of pressure on him to win that tonight since he is the only swimmer from Auburn to qualify for the “A” final. Even with their two seniors missing the “A” final, Georgia still managed to qualify two in the top heat for this evening. Texas A&M school record holder in the 500 free Omar Enriquez was 15th in 4:22.60; his school record is 4:20.66 and it took 4:20.19 to qualify for the “A” final. Paul-Marc Schweitzer was 19th and will swim in the “C” final, so we will score some points in that event this evening.

Women’s 500 Freestyle

The Aggies did not disappoint here, and we are going to make some serious ground on points this evening. Sarah Henry won the final heat of the morning in 4:37.25, ahead of Georgia’s Allison Schmitt. Schmitt goes out extremely fast in her races and Henry is going to have to keep her head tonight if she wants to win this: Steve Bultman’s program is all about back half speed and the girls are trained to mow down swimmers who went out really fast. Henry already swam beside Schmitt this morning, so she now has a better idea of how she will have to pace the race this evening: Schmitt lead until about the 300 mark and then Henry took over. Lindsay Gendron from Tennessee is seeded first going into the final, and after their great showing last night, she can’t be counted out to win this one either: the 500 freestyle will probably be one of the best races of the weekend! We also have two other Aggies in the race, 2012 US Olympian Cammille Adams (currently seeded third, also ahead of Schmitt) and Senior Captain Maureen McLaine. Our points won’t stop there, however, because we had two women qualify for the “C” final: Melanie McClure was 18th and Senior Liz Nelson sneaked in at 24th. The best part? We have three Aggies in the A final and Georgia only has two: they have girls in the 9th, 10th, and 11th positions.

Men’s 200 IM

In the third heat of the 200 IM, freshman Chase Kalisz from Georgia posted the fastest time in the nation so far this year at 1:43.78. A few minutes later, Sebastien Rousseau responded with a 1:43.58 to win heat five; this should be a great race to watch tonight! Simon Frank from Texas A&M was 15th in 1:46. 17 and will be swimming in the “B” final this evening; John Wagner just missed the “B” final when he placed 17th in a 1:46.83 and will be joined in the “C” final by his Aggie teammate Hayden Duplechain. These were great swims for the Aggie men, significantly faster than their seed times all around.

Women’s 200 IM

Finally, time to talk about an event that I know lots about! The 200 IM was the only event I swam at every Conference and NCAA’s during my collegiate career, and it is fun because since you swim all four strokes (Butterfly-Backstroke-Breaststroke-Freestyle) the lead can change multiple times, the strategy is different for every swimmer, and it is very hard to predict. Obviously the energy from the successful 500-yard freestyle rubbed off on our IM-ers, because we had some fantastic swims this morning. Junior Caroline McElhany is headed to the “A” final seeded third with a time of 1:57.10 behind Melanie Margalis from Georgia and Elizabeth Beisel from Florida. Here’s a fun fact about Caroline: she actually transferred from the University of Texas to Texas A&M after her freshman year and then lived in my old room after I’d graduated (so I clearly have a soft spot for her). Joining her in the “A” final are Canadian Junior Paige Miller (4th) and Junior Erica Dittmer (8th). We also have two in the “B” final, Senior Jordan King is 11th and Freshman Paige Oliver is 14th. Freshman Ashley McGregor, recruited as a breaststroker, will add some points as well from the “C” final tonight.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

The Aggies finished the morning on a very encouraging note with school record holder John Dalton securing a spot in the “A” final along with teammate Henrik Lindau who snuck in for 8th. The Aggies are the only team with two swimmers qualified for the “A” final tonight! If Dalton drops a few tenths he could break his school record and hopefully land himself on the podium in the process, but the first place seed was a blazing 18.92 from Marcelo Chierighini of Auburn. Kyle Troskot was 11th and will swim in the “B” tonight, freshman Cory Bolleter was 22nd and will swim in the “C” final.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

Luck was on our side this morning, with an 8th-place and 16th-place finish by Lili Ibanez (22.40) and Sammie Bosma (22.93) respectively. Lili will no doubt be better tonight, she had a very slow start this morning and in a race this short, that can definitely make or break you. Breaststroke American record-holder Breeja Larson also showed off her freestyle skills and qualified for the “C” final along with freshman Claire Brandt. A freshman from Tennessee is seeded first in the “A” final with a time of 22.02, but with a better start tonight Lili will definitely be in the race for the title.

I will try to keep every-one updated during the finals session as much as possible this evening. I will also be tweeting, so for the scoop inside the Natatorium, follow me @juliah2o.
I love the expert commentary. Interesting insight into how Schmitt swims her 500 vs. the Aggies. Both Cammmille and Henry out-split Schmitt over the last 200. McLain always has the fastest last 50.

Both Cammille and Henry have the 400 IM tomorrow. Some seriously tough races ahead for them.
Good thing they're tough girls. 500-400IM is nothing compared to wha they've faced in workout.
Wednesday Finals

Men’s 500 Freestyle

Paul-Marc Schweitzer started off the racing for Texas A&M with a 4th place finish in the “C” final in a time of 4:22.55. Omar Enriquez, our school record holder, ended up 8th in the “B” final with a time of 4:24.39, almost two seconds slower than he had been this morning. He really went out after it in the beginning, which was a chance worth taking, but it really hurt him in the last 100 yards of the race. I definitely commend this kind of guts though, because sometimes the only way to move up is to take a big risk, and that risk can sometimes land you on the rocks. Unfortunately for Omar, he slid down one place and added a bit of time from his morning swim. Last year’s NCAA champion in the 500 freestyle failed to qualify for the “A” final this morning: he won the “B” final but that just is a perfect example of how deep this SEC field really is.

Women’s 500 Freestyle

In the “C” final, our girls went 6th and 7th. Melanie McClure, our second transfer from Texas in three years, was a bit slower tonight in 4:49.74 and slid down a few spots. Senior Liz Nelson was faster and moved up from 24th to 23rd place with a best time of 4:49.79, almost a three second improvement on her morning swim. Liz was a freshman when I was a senior and is a tough and dedicated trainer. It’s awesome to see her swimming fast! The “A” final was incredibly exciting, and was incredibly close until about the 300 yard mark when Sarah Henry of Texas A&M made a move away from the pack. What always impresses me about the 500 is the amount of strategy involved: break away too early and you won’t be able to finish well. Break away too late and, well, it’s simply too late. Henry secured the first ever SEC win for the Aggies with a time of 4:35.25. Her Aggie teammates Cammile Adams (4:37.04) and Maureen McLaine (4:39.21) were 4th and 6th respectively. This was huge for us both in terms of points and team mentality. Fast swimming breeds fast swimming.

Men’s 200 IM

John Wagner won the “C” final for the Aggies in a time of 1:46.54. I talked to him after and, although happy with his race, was aghast at how fast the meet is: “everyone is swimming out of their minds!” In the “B” final, Simon Frank scored 15 points for the Aggies placing 12th in a time of 1:45.82. Freshman Chase Kalisz won the event for Georgia in a time of 1:43.04, the fastest time in the nation so far this year.

Women’s 200 IM

This was another big point scoring event for the women. In the “C” final, freshman Ashley McGregor came roaring back on the breaststroke leg to put her into second place (for a final placing of 18th). We also had a runner-up finish in the “B” final, with a personal best 1:58.56 from senior Jordan King. Fellow Aggie teammate Meredith Oliver was 14th. In the “A” final, Junior Caroline McElhany posted a podium performance: she was 3rd in 1:55.97 thanks to an incredible freestyle split of 26.10. The next fastest freestyle split in the field was 27.00! With a bit more rest and the excitement of the NCAA meet, she will definitely be able to make a run for my school record of 1:54.45. But our points didn’t stop there: Mexican Olympian Erica Dittmer was 5th in 1:57.24 and junior Paige Miller was 7th in 1:58.03.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

In the “C” final, freshman Cory Bolleter scored 3 points for the Aggies with a 22nd place finish and time of 20.19. Kyle Troskot was 12th in 20.03, a tad slower than his swim in prelims. In the “A” final, Texas A&M was the only team with two swimmers, and the Aggies were led by John Dalton who finished 3rd in 19.56, just off his school record but the fifth-fastest time in the nation this year nonetheless! Henrik Lindau tied for 5th in a time of 19.76.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

On the women’s side, the 50 freestyle started off with a 1-2 punch for the Aggies in the “C” final. Freshman Claire Brandt was 17th in 22.74 followed by U.S. Olympic breaststroker Breeja Larson in 22.85. In the “B” final, Sammie Bosma moved up her ranking by placing 14th in 22.66. And Lili Ibanez was 6th in the “A” final, two tenths faster than this morning. Our sprint freestyle is definitely moving in the right direction, and having sprint freestylers is imperative to winning a national championship because of the importance of relays (they are worth double the points).

Men’s 200 Freestyle Relay

The Aggie men had a great relay, placing third in 1:17.95, an NCAA cut and only three-tenths off the 12-year-old school record of 1:17.63. John Dalton had a great split of 19.16, and Kyle Troskot redeemed himself from his individual 50 freestyle earlier in the night by anchoring in 19.29. Auburn took the title, with Marcelo Chierighini leading off in 18.85, posting the fastest time in the nation yet again here in Aggieland. He will definitely be a favorite to win the national title in the 50 yard freestyle.

Women’s 200 Freestyle Relay

This was a historic race tonight. The Georgia Bulldogs won their second relay of the weekend, broke the SEC record, but even more impressive was the split by anchor leg Megan Romano: 20.99. Only two other women in NCAA history have ever split under 21 seconds on a relay. The Texas A&M Aggies were 4th in 1:29.04 behind Georgia, Tennessee and Florida, with a great third leg split of 21.96 by Junior Caroline McElhany.

Here are the scores after Day 2:

1. Auburn 417
2. Florida 412.5
3. Georgia 372
4. Tennessee 300.5
5. Texas A&M 288.5
6. LSU 272.5
7. Missouri 252
8. South Carolina 201
9. Alabama 187
10. Kentucky 153

1. Georgia 500
2. Texas A&M 464
3. Florida 443
4. Tennessee 429
5. LSU 277
6. Missouri 274
7. Auburn 263
8. Arkansas 234
9. Kentucky 194
10. Alabama 161
11. South Carolina 129
12. Vanderbilt 92

So, as I mentioned earlier, 6th after Day 1 for the women was nothing to fret about. We are now in second, still have three days to go, and although Georgia is swimming very, very well, so are we. And, we still haven’t even had our American record holder (Breeja Larson) swim her events yet! We are definitely in this race for the SEC title, so stay tuned.
Julia, Keep up the good work! Appreciate your insights.

Thanks for all of your hard work on this! Gig em!!

[This message has been edited by Adam87inSA (edited 2/20/2013 10:59p).]
Thanks for the update!
Thanks Julia! I never swam myself, but have been a Swim Dad for about 15 years...and have grown to love the sport. I've seen so many of our swimmers since They were at TAGS, Sectionals and's a blast to follow them now. Keep up the good work.
Thanks Julia! Great stuff!
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