Gators win SEC Men's Swimming & Diving Championship for 9th consecutive time

Special to Gatorsports.com
The No. 5 Florida men's swimming and diving team were crowned the 2021 Southeastern Conference Champions.

When it comes to the SEC Men's Swimming & Diving Championships, the Florida Gators rule the pool.

The Gators earned their ninth consecutive and 42nd overall SEC title with 1,401 points Friday night at the Mizzou Aquatic Center. Georgia finished second in the team standings with 1,324.50 points. Tennessee was third with 850.50 points.

"They fought hard to pull off the win this week," Florida coach Anthony Nesty said. "This championship is like a marathon. It is a hard fought battle always.

"Each performance was integral to our success and the contributions made by our divers the week before certainly helped to put some points on the board."

That is the longest third longest streak in conference history (Auburn-16 from 1997-2012, Florida-13 from 1956-68).

The Commissioner's Trophy, which is presented to the student-athletes who score the most individual points at the championships, was awarded to Florida's Kieran Smith and Shaine Casas of Texas A&M. Smith was also named the SEC Men's Swimmer of the Meet.

Bobby Finke of Florida won the 1650 free for the third consecutive year Friday, recording the second fastest time in history of 14:12.18. 

Also garnering a medal on the fifth and final day of competition for the Gators were Smith with a third-place finish in the 100 Free (42.11), Clark Beach with third in the 200 back (1:40.83) and the team of Smith, Adam Chaney, Trey Freeman and Eric Friese for second (2:48.85) in the 400 free relay.

The Gators won the championship with 15 medals — eight gold, four silver and three bronze, as well as eight event titles, eight individual and three relay.

15 medals

Gold- 200 Medley Relay, 500 Free- Kieran Smith , 50 Back- Adam Chaney, 200 Free Relay, 400 IM- Kieran Smith, 100 Breast- Dillon Hillis, 400 Medley Relay, 1650 Free- Robert Finke

Silver- 800 Free Relay, 400 IM- Robert Finke, 100 Back- Adam Chaney, 400 Free Relay

Bronze- 500 Free- Trey Freeman, 200 Back- Clark Beach, 100 Free- Kieran Smith

Florida swimmers will get a full month off before their next competition — the NCAA Championships. The meet will take place from March 24-27 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The divers will be back in action at NCAA Diving Zones, beginning on March 8-10.

SEC, SEC, SEC!

Florida has picked up at least one SEC team title for 43 consecutive seasons — the league's longest current streak.

This is the 248th in SEC Championship school history, more than any other school in the conference.

Florida now has 257 conference titles in school history overall (UF has won nine Lacrosse conference championships, which have not been sponsored by the SEC).

Shaine Casas of Texas A&M, left, and Florida's Kieran Smith hold the Commissioner's Trophy, which is presented to the student-athletes who score the most individual points at the championships. Smith was also named the SEC Men's Swimmer of the Meet.