Tide Swimming Has Strong SEC Meet

Anton Mckee

ATHENS, Ga. – The Alabama men's swimming and diving team didn't win the Southeastern Conference championship. That would be Florida. But Bama is trending in the right direction. Sitting in sixth place going into the final day of the 2014 championships meet, the Alabama men's swimming and diving team capped an incredible week by surging into fourth place in the team standings on Saturday night.



Alabama freshman Anton Mckee was the big Saturday news for the Crimson Tide as he won the 200 breaststroke with a new SEC record.

The Alabama men's fourth place finish is its best since also taking fourth in 1995. The Crimson Tide's 2014 finish is six places better than its finish a year ago. The Alabama women also moved up from last season, which was the first with new SEC teams Texas A&M and Missouri in the mix, going from 10th to eighth.

Mckee's 1:51.59 in the 200 breaststroke was also a school record and was one of 17 different events in which an Alabama mark fell during the five days of the league championships, including some that changed hands more than once.

Alabama capped the championships with yet another school record when the men's 400 freestyle relay of freshman Kristian Gkolomeev, seniors BJ Hornikel and Vlad Caciuc along with sophomore Brett Walsh took third place with a 2:50.78, shaving more than two seconds off the previous mark set in 2011.

In addition to Mckee's win in the 200 breaststroke, freshman Pavel Romanov took sixth place with a 1:55.59, freshman Szymmy Day was 15th at 1:58.82 and senior Cameron Conners took 18th after touching the wall at 1:58.21.

Freshman Connor Oslin took fourth place in the 200 backstroke with a 1:42.46, breaking the school record that he set during prelims. Junior Phillip Deaton and sophomore Crews Wellford also scored in the 200 backstroke. Deaton posted a 1:44.92 to take 13th while Wellford swam a 1:45.13 to finish 15th.

In the 100 freestyle, Hornikel was fifth with a time of 42.81 while Gkolomeev was seventh at 43.02 and Walsh was 12th with a 43.56.

The Tide had five men score in the mile with sophomore Travis Kerner taking 12th with a 15:13.77, sophomore Brian Westlake finishing 13th at 15:13.77, freshman Carl Madden taking 16th with a 15:21.31, senior Brian Carr finishing 18th at 15:23.00 and junior Ian Decker taking 24th with a 15:41.33.

On the women's side of the meet, freshman Bridget Blood and junior Kaylin Burchell took sixth and seventh in the 200 breaststroke, with times of 2:08.13 and 2:08.43, respectively. Sophomores Stephanie Klotz and Morgan Presley also scored in the 200 breaststroke, taking 17th and 18th with times of 2:12.42 and 2:13.27.

Sophomore Emma Saunders took second in the C-final of the 200 backstroke and 18th overall with a school record of 1:55.64 while sophomore Brittany Gilbert, who broke the school record in the prelims of the 200 backstroke with a 1:56.03, was eight in the B-final and 16th overall.

Senior Paige McCleary was 16th in the platform event after score 243.45 points. Freshman Bonnie MacDonald took 24th in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:41.30.

MEN'S TEAM STANDINGS – 1 Florida 1,440; 2. Auburn 1,280.5; 3. Georgia 1,095; 4. Alabama 798; 5. Missouri 742.5; 6. Tennessee 713; 7. Texas A&M 609; 8. Kentucky 532; 9. LSU 531; 10 South Carolina 491.

WOMEN'S TEAM STANDINGS – 1. Georgia 1,589; 2. Texas A&M 1,204; 3. Florida 1,130; 4. Auburn 804; 5. Tennessee 780; 6. Arkansas 572; 7. LSU 548; 8. Alabama 526; 9. Missouri 475.5; 10. Kentucky 426; 11. South Carolina 260; 12. Vanderbilt 186.5.

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