The No. 9 Gators men’s swimming and diving team earned its seventh SEC Championship title in as many years on Saturday, its 1,233 total points placing it comfortably over next-best Missouri.
Not only is it the seventh consecutive conference title for the men, but it is the 40th in program history, an unprecedented mark among SEC schools.
The performance by the Gators continues a UF streak of at least one SEC title across all sports to 42 years, and is the 250th conference title in school history.
Throughout the week at Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium, the Gators performed strongly enough to leave Athens with yet another trophy, the first for first-year head coach Anthony Nesty, who replaced longtime coach Gregg Troy last spring.
Entering the final day in first-place, the men were led by freshman Robert Finke, who won the 1650-meter freestyle with a UF record, SEC Championship record and Georgia pool record time (14:23.01).
Also for UF, sophomore Clark Beach took third in the 200-meter backstroke final (1:39.95) on, junior Maxime Rooney captured third in the 100-meter freestyle final (41.74), and junior Grant Sanders notched a third-place finish in the 200-meter breaststroke final (1:53.36), all on personal-best swims.
The women’s team came up just short in its bid to win its first conference title since 2009.
The No. 11 ranked squad entered the final day in second-place, needing a mini-miracle to overtake first-place Texas A&M.
Despite efforts by junior Sherridon Dressel, who finished third in the 100-meter backstroke final (51.17), and senior Georgia Marris, who took eighth in the 200-meter butterfly final (1:56.15), the women’s team ultimately was never able to salvage a last-minute comeback.
Finishing a close second-place behind a strong Aggies team, and notching its best SEC Championship finish since 2011 is an ample consolation prize, however.
It has been quite the campaign this season for both the men’s and women’s teams, culminating in quality finishes at the SEC Championships. With the year-end NCAA Championships looming on the near horizon, dominance is a humble characterization of the Gators’ current performance in the pool.
Follow Jack Braverman on Twitter @jack_braverman and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Georgia Marris took eighth in the 200-meter butterfly final as the women took second in the SEC Championships.