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Monday, June 24, 2024
<p>The UF swimming teams will compete in Athens, Georgia, at the SEC Championships this week.&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-627cbe7d-7fff-74a7-ffb9-5cc1fcadcaa4"><span>The men’s team heads into the championships ranked No. 6 in the nation.</span></span></p>

The UF swimming teams will compete in Athens, Georgia, at the SEC Championships this week. The men’s team heads into the championships ranked No. 6 in the nation.

The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams return to Athens, Georgia, for the first time since their seemingly effortless victories over the Bulldogs last October.

Only the stakes are significantly higher at this point in the season.

The 2019 SEC Championships take place from Feb. 19-23 at the University of Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium, with both prelims and finals occurring on each day of competition through Sunday. The Gators are searching for continued excellence in what has already been a successful year for both teams.

The Gators arrived ready to continue their historical SEC dominance at this event.

The men’s team, heading into this week ranked No. 6 in the nation, look to rack up its seventh conference title in as many years.

Florida has 17 swimmers and five relay teams with top-20 times in the SEC, highlighted by SEC-best times in the 200 and 500-meter freestyle, both held by junior Khader Baqlah.

Also competing for the men is two-time SEC Swimmer of the Week Maxime Rooney, as well as freshmen Kacper Stokowski, Robert Finke and Trey Freeman, who all have at least one SEC Freshman of the Week honor this season (Freeman is a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week, and also has an SEC Swimmer of the Week honor).

The women’s team looks to claim its first SEC Championship since 2009 and add to the legacy of a program that won 11 consecutive conference titles from 1986 through 1996.

The No. 8 women’s squad consists of 19 swimmers and four relay teams with top-20 times in the SEC. The women are highlighted by six-time SEC Freshman of the Week Vanessa Pearl, who has swam well in the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke all season, as well as freshman Mabel Zavaros and junior Sherridon Dressel, who have each earned an SEC Swimmer of the Week nod.

When the Gators jumped into the pool two weeks ago at the Auburn Invitational, victories and personal bests were accomplished in abundance among some of the nation’s top swimmers and teams. With equally strong competition to be faced this week, expect UF to challenged all week as it attempts to leave Athens with the SEC titles on both sides.

Follow Jack Braverman on Twitter @jackbraverman and contact him at jackbraverman@alligator.org.

The UF swimming teams will compete in Athens, Georgia, at the SEC Championships this week. The men’s team heads into the championships ranked No. 6 in the nation.

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