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Craig, DeRocco Lead Vols on Day Two of SEC Championships
Junior Brad Craig

Junior Brad Craig

Feb. 18, 2010

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Drew Rutherford
UTsports.com

ATHENS, Ga.--On the second day of the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, the Tennessee Volunteers saw two upperclassmen step up and lead the team with strong performances.

The day's slate of competition did not highlight the Vols' best events, but thanks to the leadership of juniors Brad Craig and Michael DeRocco, the UT team enters day three with a more spirited step.

"We showed some life tonight," head coach John Trembley said. "Brad Craig swam the best thus far with a great 200 I.M. and Michael DeRocco hit his start better and continues to be one of our leaders."

Craig swam his best 200 I.M. of the year Thursday night. His 10th place 1:46.40 B-cut time was more than a second faster than his preliminary mark.

In the next event, DeRocco stepped up with another 10th place finish for the Big Orange. The Niskayuna, N.Y., native swam a B-cut 19.90 time.

Sophomore diver Ryan Helms also lifted the Vols with his second bronze finish of the meet. Helms placed third on the one-meter springboard behind a career-best 392.25 score. That mark moves Helms to second all-time in the Big Orange record books.

"Our divers had a better day today," Trembley said. "It was great for Ryan to hit his career best tonight."

The Vols enter day three with a better lineup of events that should showcase the team's strengths.

"Tomorrow can be a great day for us," Trembley said. "The event slate offers our strongest opportunities."

After day two, Tennessee is fifth with 160.5 points behind first-place Auburn (291), Florida (282), Georgia (205) and Alabama (171). Kentucky is sixth (146), LSU is in seventh (116.5) and South Carolina rounds out the field in eighth (111).

Other Vols scoring on Thursday included co-captain Geoff Sanders in the 500 freestyle. Sanders swam a season-best 4:23.93 time to a 13th place finish. That mark is also an NCAA B-cut. Ryan Harrison also scored in the 500 free with a 15th place 4:25.16 B-cut mark.

Senior co-captain Michael Muscari placed ninth in the one-meter behind a 309.50 mark. Freshman Jordan Mauney scored in 13th place at 286.55.

Tennessee tied for fifth in the 200 freestyle relay with LSU at 1:18.88. The team of DeRocco, Anders Storvik, Giles Smith and Ricky Henahan swam to Tennessee's first B-cut in the event this season.

"Our 200 free relay was OK," Trembley said. "That 1:18.8 mark shows continued improvement."

The Vols aim to excel on the third day of the championship meet. Friday's slate of events includes the 400 I.M., 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, platform diving and the 400 medley relay.

For full coverage of the 2010 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, log onto UTsports.com.

 

 

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