Feb. 18, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -
Alabama had 18 swimmers and divers score points on the final day of the Southeastern Conference Championships held at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center on the University of Tennessee campus this week, including eight who scored in individual championship finals.
"We had a lot of tremendous performances out there on the final day of the meet," UA head coach Eric McIlquham said. "We had eight swimmers and divers finish in the top eight tonight, making it one of our best days at this meet in a long time. Overall it was a very good meet for us with everyone swimming career-best times. Now we're going to head back and see how many we can advance to the NCAA Championship meet."
Sophomore BJ Hornikel posted his second SEC Championships runner-up finish in as many days, earning a silver medal in the 100 freestyle with a career-best time of 42.98, just 24 hours after taking second in the 200 freestyle. He is only the second UA swimmer to break the 43-second barrier, joining school record holder and Olympic gold medalist Jon Olsen in that regard.
Alabama put three swimmers in the championship final of the 200 butterfly. Sophomore Alex Coci took fifth place with a career-best time of 1:45.10. Junior Anestis Arampatzis, who posted a career-best 1:45.50 in prelims, was sixth with a 1:45.87 in finals. Senior Oliver Basse, in his first career SEC final, took seventh with a time of 1:46.39. In prelims he touched the wall with a career-best 1:46.14.
Senior Joe Ziegler grabbed his highest career individual finish at the SEC Championships, taking fifth in the 200 backstroke with a 1:44.73. Junior Reese Shirey, making his first appearance in the championship finals at SECs, took seventh in the 200 backstroke with a career-best 1:45.43.
Sophomores Devan Terry and Cameron Conners both scored in the 200 breaststroke with career-best times. Terry touched the wall with a 1:58.58, taking ninth place, while Conners went 2:00.11 to take 14th. Junior John Ellis was 14th in the 1650 freestyle after turning in a 15:33.96.
The Tide men closed out the meet with a third place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. Coci, Hornikel, Ziegler and sophomore Vlad Caciuc combined to turn in a time of 2:54.11.
On the women's side of the meet, sophomore Alex Popa recorded a career-best 2:10.54 to take sixth place in the 200 breaststroke while freshman Kaylin Burchell posted a career-best mark of her own, touching at 2:12.20 to take 11th place. Diver Angley Martinez was the top freshman off the platform, earning 251.70 points to take fifth place.
For the fourth year in a row, senior Suzanne Schwee finished in the top-10 of the 200 butterfly at the SEC Championships, finishing with a 2:00.73 to take 10th place. Sophomore Lauren Piper touched the wall with a 2:00.62 in the 200 backstroke to take 15th place. Junior Jenna Gallo scored in the 1650 freestyle, taking 16th place with a time of 16:54.77.
Popa, senior Ida Persson, sophomore Anna Rae Gwarjanski and Burchell combined to post a 3:22.83 in the 400 freestyle relay. Popa led things off with a career-best time of 49.93.
On the men's side of the championships, the Tide finished in sixth place with 304 points. Auburn was first with 730.5 points while second-place Florida was just behind with 700 points. The Tide women finished seventh with 249 points. Georgia won the women's meet with 781 points while Tennessee was second with 629.5 points.