Brits boost Gators at SEC Championships

It’s getting towards the business end of the collegiate swimming season over in the US, with conference meets going on around the country. At the SEC championships, held in Auburn, the contingent of British swimmers based at the University of Florida, helped their team to an impressive set of results, winning the men’s championship and taking third in the ladies’ competition.

Leading the way were the women, with Jessica Thielmann and Amelia Maughan both taking individual titles. Thielmann has shown good form in the dual meet season and repeated that in Alabama, taking the gold over 1650 yards free and silver in the 500 yard free, adding 6th in the 400 IM for good measure.

“It was a good race. I had a plan and for probably the first time ever, I stuck to my own plan, as I waited and bided my time.” She said of the mile. “Then I made my move at the right time. I didn’t know I won until I touched the wall. I knew those girls had a very fast backend, so once I made my move, I knew I had to keep going.”

Her winning time of 15:47.95 secured her an NCAA A cut for the forthcoming national championships, and is roughly equivalent to a 16:07 for the 1500 in long course metres – well below her current PB and high in the world top 10 for last season. That bodes well for her chances later in the year at trials.

Maughan, is a recent recruit to Florida, only joining mid-season, and bounced back from disappointment in the shorter sprints to take a clear win in the 200y free after a strong closing second half. “It was great. I feel great but it was definitely a surprise with me coming from lane two” she said afterwards, noting that she’d qualified in 5th from the heats.

Florida’s score was also boosted by an 8th placed finish from Georgia Hohmann in the 200y backstroke.

On the victorious men’s team, Dan Wallace wasn’t right at his very best but still took a silver over 500y free, 5th in the 400IM 6th in the 200y Fly and was on the victorious 800 free relay team. He recorded NCAA cuts in all his individual outings.

Finishing ahead of Wallace in the 400IM was fellow scot Mark Szaranek, who took silver on his SEC debut, also gaining an NCAA A cut in his freshman year. He added a 7th placed finish in the 200IM for good measure.

Other British representation came from Tristan Slater, once of Millfield, but now at Tennessee, who finished 5th in the 200IM, 8th in the 200m breaststroke and won the B final of the 400IM. Swimming for Louisiana, Harry Ackland, of Plymouth Leander, made C finals in the 100 and 200m breaststroke in his debut NCAA season. On the Louisiana ladies’ team Danielle Stirrat made B finals in the 200 free and 200 back

Auburn’s Joe Patching, another Plymouth Leander product, took bronze and an NCAA A cut in the 200 back and 4th in the 100 back and Emma Saunders took B final wins in the 100 and 200 back swimming for Alabama State.