COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- Led by Coach of the Year Jack Bauerle, Georgia won the women's team title at the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships for the fourth straight year on Saturday at Texas A&M.
Georgia held off SEC newcomer and meet host Texas A&M for the team crown, which is the 10th in program history -- all under Bauerle. The four straight titles is the second-longest streak in school history. The Lady Bulldogs won five consecutive crowns from 1997 through 2001.
Georgia rolled up 1,420 points to Texas A&M's 1,296.
"You're always proud when you win the SEC, but I am especially proud this year," Bauerle said. "This was a rugged meet, and our ladies showed a lot of character in winning it. We believed it was going to be a battle for five days and it was. We said coming in that we wanted to give it our best shot in every event and let the points take care of themselves. I think our ladies did just that. The end result is something we all can be happy about."
Bauerle was chosen as the SEC Women's Coach of the Year for the 14th time in his career. He also has been selected as the SEC Men's Coach of the Year twice.
The Bulldogs came in third in the men's race. Florida claimed team honors.
The Bulldogs' Chase Kalisz was selected as the SEC Male Freshman of the Year.
ESPNU will air highlights of the SECs on Monday, March 4, at 4 p.m. for the women and 5:30 p.m. for the men.
Megan Romano successfully defended her title in the women's 100-yard freestyle as she stopped the clock in 47.40 Allison Schmitt, who redshirted last season while training for the Olympics, followed in second with a time of 47.95. Chantal Van Landeghem was sixth in 48.39, Shannon Vreeland took seventh in 48.65, Jessica Graber placed 21st in 49.37 and Maddie Locus was 24th in 50.35.
"Last year, this meet was really fun, but having Allison back makes this year more special," Romano said. "Going 1-2 in this race is really great."
The Lady Bulldogs punctuated their title by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay in record-setting fashion. The relay of Schmitt, Van Landeghem, Vreeland and Romano touched in 3:11.23, shattering the SEC mark of 3:12.00 set by Auburn in 2009.
Annie Zhu claimed second in the women's 200-yard breaststroke, posting a time of 2:05.99 and eclipsing her own school mark of 2:07.62. Melanie Margalis came in fourth in 2:09.15, while Shannon O'Malley was 11th in 2:10.46, Megan Molnar placed 14th in 2:13.27 and Olivia Boggs took 18th in 2:12.30.
In the women's 200-yard backstroke, Kelsey Gaid touched in 1:53.64 to come in fourth. Nicole Vernon placed 13th in 1:56.57 and Jordan Mattern was 17th in 1:54.89.
Amber McDermott came in fifth in the women's 1,650-yard freestyle as she touched in 16:01.66. Brittany MacLean finished seventh in 16:02.35.
Will Freeman paced the Bulldogs in the men's 1,650-yard freestyle as he placed second in 14:44.38. Martin Grodzki came in sixth in 14:59.66, followed by Matias Koski in seventh in 15:00.03, Andrew Gemmell in ninth in 15:04.34, Ediz Yildrimer in 10th in 15:08.10 and Garrett Powell in 14th in 15:12.53.
Nic Fink placed second in the men's 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:54.48. During prelims, he went 1:54.48 for the second-fastest time in school history. Kalisz came in sixth in 1:55.68, followed by Brett Roberson in eighth at 1:57.92 and Spencer Rowe in 17th at 1:57.88.
Ty Stewart led the way for the Bulldogs in the men's 200-yard backstroke, coming in fourth with a time of 1:42.71, matching the second-fastest time in Georgia annals. Jared Markham followed in fifth in 1:43.73 and Garrett Powell was 16th in 1:45.79.
In the men's 100-yard freestyle, Matt Ellis checked in fifth in 43.08. Ellis went 43.00 in prelims, breaking the school record of 43.26 set by Michael Arnold last season.
The Bulldogs' 400-yard freestyle relay of Ellis, Fink, Stewart and Koski placed fifth in 2:54.95.
Georgia will host its annual Bulldog Last Chance Meet on Saturday and Sunday at Gabrielsen Natatorium.
The Florida men’s swimming and diving team won the 2013 SEC Championship Saturday night in College Station, Texas. The Gators broke Auburn’s streak of 16-straight SEC Championships, the third-longest streak for a single program in SEC sports history. The UF men finished first with 1,408 points and had four individual championships and one relay championship.
“It’s great for the guys,” Head Coach Gregg Troy said. “We have been chasing Auburn and nipping at their heels every year and we’ve been close a couple of them. I think this kind of takes us over the top from the standpoint that it gets the monkey off our back. It’s a good building point towards the NCAA meet and it’s not an end in itself but it certainly is a good conference win.”
This is the 34th SEC title for the men’s team, the most of any school in the conference as Auburn is the next closest with 18. Florida last won the SEC Championship in 1993, breaking a 20-year streak and having finished runner-up for 11 years. The Gators collected four titles, had 10 top three finishers and 27 top eight finishes. Junior Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) led the team with two titles as he won in both the 100 and 200 fly.
“The SEC is always competitive,” said Troy. “When you add two good teams like Missouri and Texas A&M this meet was actually very comparable with the NCAA meet a couple of years ago in a lot of events.”
UF’s women finished third with 1,190.5 points. The Georgia women on their fourth-straight SEC Championship and Texas A&M finished second. The Gator women had three individual titles, as junior Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) won the 400 IM and 200 back for the third-straight year and freshman Natalie Hinds (Midland, Texas) won the 100 fly in the nation’s best time.
“We are really fortunate to have the great staff we do here at Florida,” added Troy. “The other coaches, the kids came from every different training group and did a great job. Martyn Wilby, Anthony Nesty, Leah Stancil, Donnie Craine with the divers and Steve Jungbluth with the sprinters they all did a great job with the swimmers.”
The Gators finished the final night of competition at the SEC Swimming & Diving Championships adding two more titles to their collection to give them eight total. Beisel won the women’s 200 back and sophomore Matt Elliott (Peoria, Ill.) won his first SEC Championship finishing first in the men’s 200 breast. It concluded a stellar meet for the Gators who saw numerous personal-bests and all-time UF top times over the five days.
Starting off the final session was the men’s 1,650 free. Freshman Arthur Frayler (Fort Washington, Pa.) swam a solid 14:49.88 in the men’s 1,650 free to finish third. That time ranks him second all-time in Florida history. Sophomore Carlos Omana (Miami, Fla.) swam a 14:55.53 to finish fifth and move into ninth in school history.
Adding an eighth place finish for the Gators was senior Jason Taylor (Plant City, Fla.) with a time of 15:02.78, a personal-best. Freshman Ryan Rosenbaum (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) took 31st in 15:42.37.
In the women’s 1,650 free the Gators had another freshman on the podium as Jessica Thielmann (Newcastle, England) swam a 15:53.93 to finish second. Also in the A-Final was junior Alicia Mathieu (Marlborough, Conn.) finished fourth in a 15:59.11.
Sophomore Molly Dubrasky (Estero, Fla.) swam a personal-best 16:22.96 to finish11th, sophomore Jordan Smith (Longwood, Fla.) was 12th with a personal-best 16:26.99, freshman Taylor Roy (Atlanta, Ga.) swam the event for the first time this season touching in 16:33.13 for a 13th place finish and sophomore Lauren Neidigh (Orange Park, Fla.) was 21st in 16:54.16.
Finishing seventh in the men’s 100 free was sophomore Matt Curby (Oviedo, Fla.) in a time of 43.43. Junior Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.) won the B-Final with his season-best time of 43.35 and freshman Pawel Werner (Warsaw, Poland) took 10th in 43.82.
Sprinting to the podium once again was freshman Natalie Hinds (Midland, Texas) with her 3rd place finish and the second fastest time in school history of 48.03.Junior Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia) was fifth with a time of 48.37.
Three Gator men swam in the men’s 200 back A-Final. Freshman Corey Main (Auckland, New Zealand) swam a personal-best 1:41.69 to finish second. Senior Cameron Martin (Clearwater, Fla.) finished sixth in 1:44.56 and junior Connor Signorin (East Windsor, Conn.) was seventh with a time of 1:44.98.
Successfully defending and becoming a three-time SEC Champion in the 200 back was Beisel. She swam the second fastest time in the country of 1:50.40 to get the win. Freshman Sinead Russell (Burlington, Ontario) was right with Beisel the whole race and she took second with a personal-best and NCAA “A” time of 1:50.84.
Also with a NCAA “A” time was fellow freshman Ashlee Linn (Southfield, Mich.) who finished fourth with a personal-best 1:52.70. In the C-Final, freshman Sierra Kuhn (Verona, Wis.) swam a NCAA “B” time of 1:57.40 to finish 23rd.
Making it a one-three finish in the men’s 200 breast, Elliott won his first SEC title in a NCAA “A” time of 1:54.13. It was also the second-best time in school history behind Clark Burckle’s 1:53.89. Sophomore Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (Madrid, Spain) took third with a personal-best 1:54.74.
Sophomore Richard Munch (Clifton, Va.) also swam a personal-best on his way to a ninth place finish to win the B-Final and freshman Luke Torres (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) recorded a personal-best 2:00.87 to finish 22nd.
On the women’s side, junior Hilda Luthersdottir (Harfnarfjordur, Iceland) finished seventh with a NCAA “B” time of 2:10.88. Senior Sarra Lajnef (Tunis, Tunisia) was 16th with a time of 2:14.16 and sophomore Rebecca Rainer (Richmond, Va.) took 20th with a time of 2:13.64.
The men capped off their win with a second place finish in the 400 free relay. The group of deBorde, redshirt junior Sebastien Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa), Cieslak and Curby clocked a NCAA “A” time of 2:50.83. deBorde swam a blistering lead-off split of 42.90 for a new personal-best. The Gators caught Auburn on the third leg, but the Tigers were able to hold them off.
Florida’s group of Russell, Hinds, Zalewski and Beisel combined for a second place finish in a time of 3:13.21 setting a new school record.
In men’s platform diving, junior Christopher Jones (Palm City, Fla.) finished 14th for the Gators with his score of 298.00. Redshirt freshman Zach Hernandez (Johns Creek, Ga.) took 17th, scoring a 273.90 and senior Sean Saley (Pompano Beach, Fla.) posted a 217.60 to finish 24th.
Gator fans are encouraged to follow the swimming and diving program via Twitter or Facebook. For all of the latest information on Florida swimming, please log on to www.Gatorzone.com.
Florida 2013 SEC Champions
Marcin Cieslak – 100 fly, 200 fly
Pawel Werner – 200 free
Matt Elliott – 200 breast
Werner, Rousseau, Solaeche-Gomez, Cieslak – 800 free relay
Elizabeth Beisel – 400 IM, 200 back
Natalie Hinds – 100 fly
SEC Yearly Awards
Natalie Hinds - SEC Female Freshman Swimmer of the Year
Elizabeth Beisel – Commissioner’s Trophy Award (High Point Winner)
Gregg Troy – SEC Male Swimming Coach of the Year
Final Team Standings
1. Florida – 1,408
2. Auburn – 1,196
3. Georgia – 1,024
4. Tennessee – 787.5
5. Missouri – 779.5
6. LSU – 753.5
7. Texas A&M – 709.5
8. South Carolina – 540.5
9. Kentucky – 452.5
10. Alabama – 451
1. Georgia – 1,420
2. Texas A&M – 1,296
3. Florida – 1,190.5
4. Tennessee – 1,018
5. Auburn – 860
6. Arkansas – 594
7. LSU – 494
8. Missouri – 487
9. Kentucky – 368.5
10. Alabama – 353
11. South Carolina – 248
12. Vanderbilt – 183