Gators Set to Compete at 2015 SEC Championships
Watch FSN for SEC Updates this week
By Will Pantages
Photo Tim Casey
Pre SEC Video with Matt Elliott and Gregg Troy
Pre SEC Video with Jessica Thielmann and Gregg Troy
AUBURN, Ala. — The University of Florida No. 1 men’s and No. 7-ranked women’s swimming & diving teams will travel to Auburn, Ala. to compete at the Southeastern Conference Championships next week, beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 17 and concluding next Saturday, Feb. 21 at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center. The prelims will begin at 11 a.m. ET each day and the finals will begin at 7 p.m. Diving prelims will begin at 12 p.m. on Tuesday and then 2 p.m. every other day. In addition, finals will start at 6:30 p.m. on the first of competition.
Florida’s men’s team is looking for its third-straight SEC Championship and 36th in program history, while the Gator women are looking to win their 18th conference title and the program’s first since 2009. The program’s 35 SEC team championships ranks second amongst all sports in the history of the SEC (Kentucky Basketball, 45).
A season ago, Florida’s men won the program’s second consecutive and SEC, as the Gators earned the title behind nine SEC titles at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga. UF scored 1,440 points over the five day meet. On the women’s side, UF ended the conference championship in third place behind Georgia (1,589) and Texas A&M (1,204). Florida’s women won three SEC event championships for the second-consecutive year.
Both squads are coming off dual meet victories over Tennessee on Jan. 31 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium. Florida dominated the meet winning 23-of-32 events and downing the Volunteers by scores of 198.5-99.5 (men) and 187-105 (women).
On the SEC Championships…
“If you look on paper, it looks like it’s going to be a very closely contested meet. On paper, Georgia is probably the best team on both the men’s and the women’s side. Also on the women’s side, Texas A&M is a real good team, Tennessee is very good and then ourselves. Regarding the men, it should be really close, as there are four good teams with ourselves, Auburn, Texas A&M and Tennessee. We’ve had two good weeks of preparation and we are really looking forward to going to Auburn and competing.”
On the challenges of it being a five-day meet…
“The biggest thing is just to keep your head in it the whole time. The morning sessions are very important considering if you don’t swim well then you’re not going to be able to swim at night. And if you don’t swim at night, then you don’t score any points. The biggest is focus is that you have to come ready to go in the morning, but then you come back at night and it’s just head-to-head competition. So when you really look at it, it’s 10 sessions over five days and more than anything else, it’s just the mental preparation of staying on top of it and realizing that everyone is in this together and we’re all dealing with the same adversity. If we can do that than we raise our chances of being really good.”
Head Coach Gregg Troy
2014 SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS REWIND
Florida’s men won the program’s second consecutive and 35th overall SEC crown a season ago. The men’s squad earned the title behind nine SEC titles at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga., as UF scored 1,440 points over the five day meet.
Individually, the Gators were led by Sebastien Rousseau was awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy for totaling the most points in the meet and was named the SEC Swimmer of the Year. Rousseau won three individual SEC titles, touching first in the 200-yard freestyle, individual medley and butterfly. In addition, he set the SEC record in the 200 fly with a mark of 1:41.07. Rousseau became Florida’s 10th SEC Male Swimmer of the Year and the 12th recipient of the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Florida’s women ended its conference championship in third place behind Georgia (1,589) and Texas A&M (1,204). The Gators won three SEC event championships for the second-consecutive year.
Individually, the Gators were paced by Elizabeth Beisel who was awarded the Florida’s 16th Commissioner’s Trophy for scoring the most points the meet. She became only the second athlete ever to accomplish that feat (Florida’s Nicole Haislett – 1991-94). In addition, Beisel captured her fourth-straight conference titles in the 400-yard IM and the 200-yard backstroke. The North Kingstown, R.I., native became the fourth swimmer to win four individual SEC Championships in two different events.
LAST TIME CHAMPS
UF’s women’s squad is looking to snap a five-year SEC title drought, as the Gators last won a conference title in 2009. At that meet, Florida captured six event titles and was led by Gemma Spofforth as she was named the SEC Female Swimmer of the Year.
AMONG THE NATION’S BEST
This season, Florida’s men have had six individuals record a combined 11 NCAA top-10 times across eight events. For the women, UF has had two individuals record a combined five NCAA top-10 times across five events.
50 Free 50 Free
— Caeleb Dressel, 4th – 19.31 — Natalie Hinds, 8th – 22.07
100 Free 100 Free
— Caeleb Dressel, 4th – 42.91 — Natalie Hinds, 6th – 47.98
200 Free 500 Free
— Mitch D’Arrigo, 2nd – 1:33.10 — Jessica Thielmann, 6th – 4:37.82
500 Free 1,000 Free
— Mitch D’Arrigo, 3rd – 4:14.35 — Jessica Thielmann, 1st – 9:37.22
— Dan Wallace, 4th – 4:14.53 1,650 Free
1,000 Free — Jessica Thielmann, 3rd – 15:50.74
— Arthur Frayler, 4th – 8:58.53
— Ryan Rosenbaum, 6th – 9:01.92
— Blake Manganiello, 7th – 9:01.95
— Mitch D’Arrigo, 5th – 14:54.21
— Carlos Omana, 9th – 14:56.61
— Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez, 7th – 1:44.16
— Dan Wallace, 8th – 3:44.12
The Gators rank in the top-eight of six relays, including four on the men’s side and two on the women’s.
Florida notched numerous NCAA ‘B’ provisional marks throughout the season and has clocked five NCAA ‘A’ automatic times thus far, including:
- Women’s 200 FR (Russell, McKnight, Linn, Hinds – 1:28.94)
- Women’s 400 FR (McKnight, Russell, Hinds, Linn – 3:16.07)
- Caeleb Dressel (50 Free – 19.31)
- Jessica Thielmann (1,650 Free – 15:50.74)
- Dan Wallace (500 Free – 4:14.53)
Tickets are sold out. Standing Room only tickets will be available beginning Monday, Feb. 16 at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
Spectator parking will be in the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum Lot , McWhorter Center Lot and along Biggio Dr, south of Samford Ave. Auburn University Parking Permit regulations will not be enforced in those locations during the SEC Championships.
Disabled parking will be located in the Aquatics Center lot off of Biggio Drive. Please note that vehicles will be required to show disabled permit to gain access to Biggio Drive. Teams will be allowed to park along Biggio Drive with a permit.
The Auburn Athletics Department welcomes all fans to its campus for the SEC Championships.
Florida hosts a Last Chance Meet in the O’Dome from Feb. 28-Mar. 1. This will be the final time for any Gators to set qualifying times for the NCAA meet. The women’s meet will be held from Mar. 19-21 in Greensboro, N.C. and the men’s championships will be held a week later in Iowa City, Iowa (Mar. 26-28).
UF’s divers will look to qualify for the NCAA meet in Athens, Ga. from Mar. 9-11 at the NCAA Zone B Diving regional meet.
Florida Swim Network