The Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams returned home on Monday after a successful showing at the SEC Championships.
The men’s team won its sixth straight SEC title and its 39th total conference championship in program history. That is the most of any SEC team in any sport other than Kentucky’s 50 men’s basketball titles.
Senior Caeleb Dressel stole the show for the Gators as he broke two U.S. records. The first was on Thursday when he swam the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:38:13. That shattered the original record by over a second. That was followed by finishing the 100-yard breaststroke on Saturday with a time of 50:03. With those accomplishments, he was well-deserving of the SEC Male Swimmer of the Meet award, which he received for the third consecutive year.
The men had a total of four different swimmers win events, which contributed to the 1,237 points they scored to win the championships. Dressel had three (100-yard free, 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard IM), senior Mark Szaranek had one (200-yard breaststroke), senior Jan Switkowski had one (100-yard butterfly) and sophomore Khader Baqlah had one (200-yard freestyle).
The men’s team also won the 400-yard freestyle relay, the 400-yard medley relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay. It set a new SEC record in the 800 free relay with a time of 6:12:06.
Coach Gregg Troy said he was pleased with the men’s performance.
"This one was really special,” he said. “We have a great blend of older guys and younger guys to complete us.”
The UF women’s swimming and diving team ended in seventh place with a total of 619 points. The highest-placing female swimmer was freshman Taylor Ault, who finished second in the 1,650-yard freestyle on Sunday. Her time of 16:03:66 was good for her first SEC silver medal, and the only medal the women’s team received.
Troy said he was still optimistic about the women’s team’s future following its solid showing in the championships.
“The women were tremendously better than last year, and we are only going to get better because we are a young team," Troy said.
The Gators next upcoming meet is the Last Chance Meet at the O’Connell Center that will begin Friday and last through Sunday. The Gators will then gear up for the NCAA Championships on March 21 in Minnesota.
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Senior Caeleb Dressel's two record-breaking performances highlighted the men's swimming and diving team's sixth consecutive SEC Championship.