The last time the University of Florida swim team did not claim an SEC Championships title was 2012. The 2020 rendition of the finals, which marks the beginning of the postseason, begins Tuesday in Auburn, Alabama. The Gators are on the hunt for their eighth straight first-place finish.
A Crowded Competition Field
Florida wrapped up the regular season at the beginning of February when the team lost to No. 12 Tennessee. The Gators accumulated a 7-2 record, good enough to be the No. 9-ranked team in the country headed into the postseason.
Many teams around the SEC, though, have similar tales. Four of the nation’s top ten teams hail from the conference, and Texas A&M, Missouri and Georgia are all higher-ranked than the Gators and all will be vying for the title in Auburn beginning tomorrow.
Anthony Nesty is in his second season as the head swim coach. He guided the Gators to a top finish at the championships in his first try last year, and he had this to say about the 2020 five-day finals:
Florida Regular Season Standouts
Sophomore Kieran Smith built on his impressive freshman campaign by proving he is one of the best on the Gators’ squad this year. He leads the team with 24 event victories, including 16 individual events and took home three SEC Swimmer of the Week honors during the season.
Smith holds the best 100 free, 200 free and 500 free times on the team. He had this to say about staying confident ahead of the conference championships:
Fellow sophomore Robert Finke is also improving. He set career-bests in two events and has the top 1,000 free and 1,650 free times on the team. German-born freshman Eric Friese claimed an SEC Freshman of the Week honor in October, and he recorded the 48th best 50-free time in the nation.
On the diving front, senior Alex Farrow has put in plenty of strong performances. He leads the team with his 3-meter (370.28) and 1-meter (328.08) scores, which are both good enough for the top 15 in the SEC.
🔹 CSCAA Top 25 Poll ➡️ No. 9 🔹
— Gators Swimming & Diving (@GatorsSwimDv) December 11, 2019