Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Georgia Gabrielsen Natatorium, was an eventful first day of the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships for Tennessee’s squad. They finished with three medals, one gold and two silver, and also attained two new school records.
The Tennessee men took second in the men’s 200-yard medley relay and were in first place with 187 points through the first six events.
Matthew Garcia, Michael Houlie, Braga Verhage and Kyle DeCoursey finished with a time of 1:22.79 during their silver performance. Their time also set a new program record for the men’s team.
The Lady Vols won the 200-yard medley relay and finished the women’s 800-yard freestyle relay in second place. They were in sixth place, with 123 points, after the first day.
The relay team of Meghan Small, Nikol Popov, Madeline Banic and Erika Brown set a new school record, SEC Championship meet record and swam the event’s fastest time in the nation this season on their way to winning the gold in the 200-yard medley relay. Tennessee has won this event seven times, dating back to 2010.
Soon after, Small, Brown, Tess Cieplucha and Stanzi Moseley won silver in the 800-yard freestyle after posting a time of 6:55.15. This was the team’s third medal of the evening.
On Wednesday, the second day of the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, Tennessee earned five more medals, breaking more school records and an NCAA record.
After two days of competing, Tennessee has eight medals: four gold, three silver and one bronze. The Lady Vols won gold in the women’s 200 IM, women’s freestyle and women’s 200 free relay. They are currently in second place for the SEC crown with 393.5 points after 15 events. They trail the Texas A&M women, who have 441.5 points.
The men grabbed silver in the 50 free and bronze in the 200 free relay. Tennessee’s men are in fifth place with 312 points. Missouri is currently in first place with 378 points.
Brown set a new NCAA record in the women’s 50-yard freestyle by posting a time of 21.15, while also capturing the gold in her second consecutive year. Simone Manuel was the previous record holder with a time of 21.17.
Brown has also tied Nicole DeMan and Michele King for the most gold medals in Lady Vol history in the 50 free. Her performance also granted her automatic qualification for the NCAA Championships.
Small beat out Texas A&M’s Sydney Pickrem for the gold in the women’s 200-yard IM. The junior’s time of 1:51.62 is a new Tennessee school record and an NCAA season best.
Decoursey competed in the 50 free for the men and set a new personal best and school record with a time of 18.95. He won the silver and became the first Tennessee swimmer to swim a sub-19 time in the 50 freestyle.
The men and women’s 200-yard freestyle stood as the final events of the night. The Lady Vols’ Brown, Banic, Moseley and Bailey Grinter achieved great heights as they won the gold, set a new school record and set an SEC record.
Decoursey, Joey Reilman, Verhage and Alec Connolly won bronze for the men with a time of 1:16.52, which also stood as the second fastest time in school history.
Tennessee’s next events include the 400 IM, 100 Butterfly and 200 free on Thursday, Feb. 21, while men’s diving will compete in the 3-meter.