KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Standing on the springboard as the last diver in the 1-meter final Tuesday evening, junior Liam Stone knew he needed a big dive to secure the win.
With the experience of pulling through in title moments before, Stone hit his final dive for nines to break the conference and school record with 468.30 points to capture gold to start the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.
He narrowly beat out LSU freshman Juan Hernandez, who led the event by six points heading into the final round and finished with 467.05 points.
Stone, the reigning NCAA 1-meter champion, won his second career SEC title and first on the 1-meter springboard. Tennessee has now won the last three SEC 1-meter titles and 20 overall in the event.
Fittingly, the 2015 and 2016 SEC champion and former teammate Mauricio Robles, was the first to congratulate Stone has he climbed out of the pool. Robles finished his decorated UT career last season as a three-time SEC Diver of the Year and set the SEC 1-meter meet record as a senior in 2016.
After day one of competition the UT women's team sits in sixth place with 132 points while the men are in fourth place with 144.5 points.
The Tennessee women made their first podium appearance in the first event, as the team of Kira Toussaint, Colleen Callahan, Madeline Banic and Erika Brown took third in the 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute, 35.45 seconds.
MEN'S 1-METER SPRINGBOARD: Liam Stone was not the only Vol to score points in the event. Sophomore Nick Rusek was 15th in 309.05, and senior Michael Howell was 22nd in 270.35. Stone now has two SEC titles, having also won the 3-meter title as a freshman in 2015. He did not compete in the conference meet last year because of his participation at the FINA World Championships.
WOMEN'S 200 MEDLEY RELAY: The team of Kira Toussaint, Colleen Callahan, Madeline Banic and Erika Brown recorded a season-best, NCAA A-cut time in 1:35.45 to take third. It is the fifth-fastest time in program history.
MEN'S 200 MEDLEY RELAY: The team of Braga Verhage, Peter John Stevens, Ryan Coetzee and Kyle DeCoursey narrowly missed the podium in their first race of the meet, taking fourth in 1:24.08. It was an NCAA automatic qualifying time. Stevens notably blazed a 50 breaststroke leg of 23.05, fastest overall.
WOMEN'S 3-METER SPRINGBOARD: Sophomore Emily Pelletier had a career-best 313.45 points -- breaking 300 for the first time -- to finish 11th overall. Sophomore Rachel Rubadue also picked up points with a 13th-place finish in 301.90.
WOMEN'S 800 FREE RELAY: The Tennessee team of Colleen Callahan, Meghan Small, Erika Brown and Micah Bohon finished sixth overall in 7:05.48, the sixth-fastest time in program history and fastest of the season.
DAY 1 SUPERLATIVES:In addition to Stone's record-breaking performance, two more SEC Records and three additional pool records fell on the first day of competition:
Florida Men's 800 Freestyle Relay, 6:12.18 (SEC & Pool)
Florida Men's 200 Medley Relay, 1:23.44 (SEC)
Georgia Women's 200 Medley Relay, 1:35.28 (Pool)
Julia Vincent, South Carolina 3 Meter Springboard, 400.50 (Pool)