Feb. 16, 2011
The first day of the 2011 SEC Swimming Championships concluded at Florida's O'Connell Center Natatorium on Wednesday with one silver medal, one bronze medal and the second overall spot in the team standings for Tennessee.
The Vols entered the event trailing Auburn by 1.5 points, and the enter day two by the same margin.
To kick things off for UT, the 200 medley relay comprised of Ricky Henahan, Brad Craig, Michael DeRocco and Ed Walsh swam to a third-place finish on a B-cut time of one minute 26.07 seconds. DeRocco, a Niskayuna, N.Y., native, swam the second-fastest butterfly leg at the meet.
"Michael DeRocco's swim was impressive, and Ed Walsh finished with a great split, as well," head coach John Trembley said. "Our 200 medley is now qualified for the NCAA championships. Great job by those guys."
UT's most impressive performance came in the 800 freestyle relay. Freshman Samuel Rairden swam Tennessee's third-best-ever performance in the first 200 free to lead off the relay with a mark of one minute 34.45 seconds. Sophomore Ryan Harrison followed that with a stellar second leg of the relay. Junior Michael Christy and senior Geoff Sanders closed out the 800 free relay for Tennessee to earn a second-place finish with an A-cut mark of six minutes 21.00 seconds.
"We felt Samuel Rairden would be special when we began recruiting him, and his swim tonight showed that he is," Trembley said. "Ryan Harrison also swam smart and strategically. He set himself up nicely for tomorrow. For Michael Christy to get back out there competing after missing last year was very rewarding for him, and me. Geoff did a good job closing out our silver medal team."
With Auburn finishing in second in the 200 medley relay and third in the 800 free relay, Tennessee maintained its position in the team standings, trailing the first-place Tigers 201-199.5. Florida won both relays and caught up in the standings, sitting in third place with 129 points.
"There are not as many scoring opportunities for us tomorrow, so it will be a hang-in and be-strategic kind of day for us," Trembley said. "But it was nice to see so much Big Orange on the awards platform this evening and I look forward to hopefully seeing some more in the next few days."
Thursday's action begins at 10 a.m. and live results, as well as live streaming video can be found at www.UTsports.com.
1. Auburn 201; 2. Tennessee 199.5; 3. Florida 129; 4. LSU 99.5; 5. Alabama 93; 6. Kentucky 92; 7. Georgia 73; 8. South Carolina 50
200 Medley Relay: 1. Florida (Loughran, Dwyer, Cieslak, Fraser) 1:24.94; 2. Auburn (White, Klein, Brown, Norys) 1:25.52; 3. Tennessee (Henahan, Craig, DeRocco, Walsh) 1:26.07; 4. LSU (Meyers, Tuomola, Heyl, Zeller) 1:26.59; 5. Georgia (Bartlett, Kata, Reynolds, Arnold) 1:27.60; 6. Kentucky (Walton, Russell, Keltner, Aplin) 1:27.73; 7. Alabama (Axford, Armstrong, Coci, Caciuc) 1:28.01; 8. South Carolina (Heinze, Cave, Badillo, Seiler) 1:29.30; 800 Freestyle Relay: 1. Florida (Dwyer, Fraser, Gercsak, Rousseau) 6:13.74; 2. Tennessee (Rairden, Harrison, Christy, Sanders) 6:21.00; 3. Auburn (Owens, Grothe, Krug, Norys) 6:21.79; 4. Georgia (Hill, Bartlett, Dylla, Cregar) 6:22.13; 5. South Carolina (Flach, Fitton, Kelly, Rodriguez) 6:27.30; 6. Alabama (Zubcsek, Cosma, Hornikel, Ziegler) 6:27.92; 7. Kentucky (Green, Strijdom, Heidler, Faris) 6:45.29; 8. LSU (Hallum, Hamilton, Dasinger, Davis) 6:34.94