SwimmingJordan Crooks, Maggie MacNeil Open SEC Champs with Historic Splits

Jordan Crooks, Maggie MacNeil Open SEC Champs with Historic Splits

Jordan Crooks, Maggie MacNeil Open SEC Championships with Historic Splits

The divers had barely shammied themselves off for the final time at the SEC Championships Tuesday night before the swimmers turned up the heat at Texas A&M.

Jordan Crooks and Maggie MacNeil delivered the fastest fly split and fastest backstroke split, respectively, to get the meet underway at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium.

Crooks’ swim was slightly more conventional, as it came on the winning relay. The sophomore from Cayman Islands split 18.90 on butterfly. It helped the Volunteers set the SEC, SEC Championships and pool record. The conference record had held since 2017 in Alabama’s possession. The Texas A&M pool mark dated to the 2009 NCAA Championships, belonging to a Matt Targett-led Auburn squad.

The Vols hacked a second off that latter record in 1:21.43 and needed all of it, with Florida also under all three records in second place.

The Tennessee splits:

  • Bjoern Kamman, 21.07
  • Michael Houlie 23.03
  • Jordan Crooks 18.90
  • Gui Caribe 18.43
  • Time: 1:21.43

Kamman’s split was the third-fastest in the race (Adam Chaney of Florida went 20.26, A&M’s Ethan Gogulski 20.92). Two breaststrokers were quicker than Houlie (Reid Mikuta 22.87, Ben Patton 22.93). Caribe was third-fastest among freestylers (fourth had Brooks Curry’s 18.34 stood without LSU being disqualified).

That left Crooks to separate the group. He was a second faster than Eric Friese of Florida, who is an excellent butterflier. The second-fastest butterfly leg was Clement Secchi of Missouri, who went 19.83; Crooks was almost a second ahead of that.

Perhaps the scariest aspect is the youth: Tennessee’s relay is two sophomores and a freshman. Friese is Florida’s only senior. Third-place Auburn had one of each class.

Then there’s the women’s 200 medley relay. Arkansas had the dream start to the relay, Andrea Sansores putting the Razorbacks in great position with a split of 23.53 seconds, on the way to what nearly was an NCAA A cut.

And her swim found her a second back of MacNeil, who continues to swim out of this world for the Tigers. MacNeil went out in 22.52. That’s 1.01 seconds quicker than the field. It’s 1.24 seconds quicker than Rhyan White, of the winning Alabama squad, who is maybe not a sprinter in the way MacNeil is but a backstroke Olympian for the United States. MacNeil’s backstroke was also quicker than any of the butterfly legs despite them having a relay pickup (Bama’s Emily Jones went 22.88 to lead the way there.)

It’s perhaps more amazing that MacNeil’s historic effort was only good for eighth place in the race. She teamed with Hannah Womer, Hannah Bellina and Michaela de Villiers to go 1:36.59, downing a school record that had held since 2009. It could get them to NCAAs – 1:36.85 was invited last year, though seven SEC teams ahead of them won’t help.

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