Records Continue to Fall on Day Two of SEC Swimming and Diving Championships
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Day two of the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championship saw three more league records and eight pool records fall, as Florida’s women and Auburn’s men remained in first place in the team race.
Florida's Caroline Burckle, the previous SEC record holder in the women's 500 freestyle, set a new mark with a time of 4:34.87 to take the SEC title, less than half a second off from the NCAA record. The time was the fourth-fastest all-time and the second-fastest ever by a collegiate swimmer.
"I didn't really try to think about [the SEC record] too much," Burckle said. "I just tried to go in there with a positive attitude and do what I know I can do."
In the women's 200 individual medley, Auburn's Ava Ohlgren set a new SEC record with a time of 1:54.97, besting the previous mark of 1:55.34 set by the Tigers' Kirsty Coventry in 2005.
Finally, on the men's side, Auburn's Cesar Cielo set a new SEC record in the men's 50 freestyle with a time of 18.91, beating the previous mark by more than half a second. Auburn's George Bovell held the previous record of 19.33, set in 2004. The championship is Auburn's 10th in the event since 1997.
"It was a lot faster than I was expecting tonight," Cielo said. "It was the first time I went 18 this season. It was faster than last year. I'm very excited to go 18 again. It was a hardcore year for a lot of people. I'm really happy and I have to thank my coaches and teammates, they push me every time."
In addition to the SEC-best marks, five additional pool records were set at the Alabama Aquatic Center. Georgia's Sebastian Rouault won his fourth consecutive SEC title in the men's 500 freestyle with a mark of 4:13.75, shattering the previous pool record by three seconds.
"I'm very proud of this," Rouault said. "This very last year out of four years, three times we've been one and two. It represents a lot for our distance program and all the work we do together."
Other pool records were set in the men's 200 IM, by Florida's Bradley Ally (1:44.45); in the prelims of the women's 50 freestyle, by Kentucky's Jenny Bradford (22.00); in the women's 200 freestyle relay by Tennessee (1:29.07) and in the men's 200 freestyle relay by Auburn (1:16.92).
In the women's competition, Florida leads with a score of 272, while Auburn is second with a score of 230 and Tennessee is third at 200.5. The rest of the order is Georgia (187), Kentucky (169), LSU (139.5), South Carolina (118), Arkansas (105), Alabama (98) and Vanderbilt (46).
"The women have been outstanding," said Florida coach Gregg Troy. "We had a great day. Obviously Caroline Burckle was great, but across the board we had great swims. We had solid relays and our diving really helped. This was one of our better days. We have to continue to do what we are doing."
On the men's side, Auburn leads with a score of 322, with Florida second at 233 and Tennessee third at 208. The rest of the order is Georgia (169), LSU (160), Kentucky (150), Alabama (140) and South Carolina (101).
"We feel good about where we are right now," said Auburn head coach Richard Quick. "Tomorrow morning's preliminaries will be critical to our success and how the meet works out. On paper, tomorrow should be our best day, but we have got to step up tomorrow and win the preliminaries."
Other winners on the night included Auburn's Kelly Marx, who took the SEC Championship in the first event of the night in the men's one-meter dive, with a score of 352.20, while Alabama's Aaron Fleshner, the SEC Champion in Wednesday's three-meter event, took second with a score of 342.50.
"I just tried to stay focused, just like practice," Marx said. "Sometimes I get a little anxious, but I just stayed relaxed, kept my focus and made it just like practice."
In the women's 50 freestyle, Tennessee's Christine Manguson took the title with a time of 22.03. In the women's three-meter diving competition, the Lady Vols' Lauren LeRoy took the title on the last dive of the night with a score of 344.05.
"I'm just really excited and feel very blessed," LeRoy said. "It's just a lot, a lot of fun."
The action continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Alabama Aquatic Center, when prelims will be held in five events.