Sophomore Nic Fink defended his title in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke and the Georgia women maintained their team lead at the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday at Texas A&M.
The Lady Bulldogs finished the night with 1,058 points, leading host Texas A&M’s 985 and Florida’s 852.5. The Lady Bulldogs have won the SEC title each of the past three seasons and will be seeking the program’s 10th overall crown on Saturday.
“It’s dead even,” Georgia coach Jack Bauerle said, factoring in Saturday’s events. “It’s going to be really, really tough. We’ve got to have a heck of a good morning. A&M has a great team. We’ll see. It’s just us and them.”
Behind Fink, the Bulldogs maintained their third-place position with 679 points. Florida (1,038) and Auburn (823.5) are the top two teams in the men’s race.
Fink won the SEC crown in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 52.34. Fink’s closest competitor was Igor Kozlovskij of Missouri (52.89). Fink lowered his second-fastest time in school history; only 2009 SEC champion Neil Versfeld (52.23) has gone faster for the Bulldogs. Fink won the event at the SECs a year ago in 52.81.
“There are a bunch of great breaststrokers in the SEC,” Fink said. “I knew I had to come back and work harder than last year just to make it back to the finals. It feels great to win again. All of these guys are really good, and it was a good race. That was a great swim by Nic,” Bauerle said. “He’s a great young guy and I love coaching him. He’s a competitor and he stands up every time. They were coming after him, but he swam a great race. Hat’s off to him.”
Also on Friday:
• Megan Romano finished second in the women’s 100-yard backstroke for the third straight year, touching the wall in 51.82. Kelsey Gaid placed 11th in 53.14.
• The women’s 400-yard medley relay of Romano, Melanie Margalis, Lauren Harrington and Allison Schmitt finished second in 3:31.34, which is the second-fastest time in school history.
• In women’s platform diving, Laura Ryan placed third with 319.95 points, shattering the previous school mark for a championship of 264.20 set by Emily Hunter in 2007. Ann-Perry Blank came in ninth with 251.00 points and Darcie O’Brien took 16th with 231.50 points.
• Hali Flickinger paced the Lady Bulldogs in the women’s 200-yard butterfly as she took fourth in 1:55.65. Harrington followed in fifth with a time of 1:56.33
• Margalis claimed fourth in the women’s 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 59.73. Shannon O’Malley was 13th in 1:00.72, followed by Megan Molnar in 14th at 1:00.78 and Olivia Boggs in 19th at 1:01.85.
• The men’s 400-yard medley relay of Ty Stewart, Fink, Doug Reynolds and Matt Ellis touched in 3:09.77 to come in fourth. That is the third-fastest time in Georgia annals.
• Anival Rodriguez placed eighth in the men’s 100-yard backstroke as he stopped the clock in 48.06.
• In the men’s 200-yard butterfly, Will Freeman came in 12th with a time of 1:46.71.
• Spencer Rowe (55.04) and Brett Roberson (55.73) placed 20th and 21st, respectively, in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke.
The SEC’s will conclude on Saturday with the 100-yard freestyle, the 200-yard backstroke, the 200-yard breaststroke, the 1,650-yard freestyle, the 400-yard freestyle relay and men’s platform diving.