AUBURN, Ala. – Diver Kurtis Mathews and the 200 medley relay squad highlighted the first day of the 2020 SEC Championships, as the Texas A&M men's swimming & diving team took the podium three times Tuesday night at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center on Auburn's campus. The men's team finished the day on top of the leaderboard with 178 points, 18 points ahead of Tennessee, which sits in second with 160 points.
The 200 medley relay team of Shaine Casas, Benjamin Walker, Adam Koster and Mike Thibert touched the wall first, setting a school record as they recorded a time of 1:23.49. On the 3-meter springboard, Mathews won the gold with a score of 438.55, 16.45 points in front of his closest competition. In Victor Povzner's post-season debut, he switched his final dive to a higher degree of difficulty and nailed it to place fourth with a score of 379.60.
The 800 free relay foursome of Casas, Mark Theall, Clayton Bobo and Kaloyan Bratanov placed second and shattered the school record by 3.72 seconds with a time of 6:11.87. Casas' 200 free leadoff split (1:32.29) set a new program record and personal best for the sophomore, as he put the squad in position for victory.
The Maroon & White aim to keep the momentum going at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center for the second day of the SEC Championships. Prelims are set for 9:30 a.m., with finals to follow at 5:30 p.m.
Men's head coach Jay Holmes
On the 200 medley relay championship…
"Anything can happen in the 200 medley relay. Look at the times and how close the times were from first through 10th place. To get a win in the 200 medley relay, as squirrely as that event can be, is really exciting. There's so many things that can go wrong on that short of a race. That was a great way to get this meet started."
On Kurtis Mathews' and Victor Povzner's performances…
"They scored a lot of points for us tonight. Kurtis [Mathews] getting that victory and the way he won was incredible. Victor [Povzner] on that last dive, he knew he had to make his dive harder. He knew he had nothing to lose. He put a much harder dive up there and nailed it. He passed a few people by doing that. That was great for Victor."
On the 800 free relay…
"We just got second with a 6:11[.87]. Give credit to Florida. They've only lost that relay in the SEC Championships like two times in this century. They pretty much own that relay. We knew that they would not go down easily. We broke our school record by nearly four seconds. Shaine [Casas] broke our school record in the 200 free, leading it off. It was a great race."
Follow the Action
Check 12thman.com and follow @AggieSwimDive on Twitter for results.