Finally, Florida broke through to snap the Auburn men’s swimming and diving squad’s 16-year reign of SEC championships Saturday at the Texas A&M Student Natatorium.
The Gators, who had finished runner-up to the Tigers each of the past 11 years, compiled 1,408 points for their 34th league championship. Auburn’s 1,196 points were good for second, followed by Georgia, Tennessee and newcomer Missouri.
Auburn won five of the six individual championship Saturday night, including junior Zane Grothe (1650 freestyle in 14 minutes, 41.45 seconds), junior Marcelo Chierighini (100 freestyle, 41.60 seconds), senior Kyle Owens (200 backstroke, 1:39.69) and junior diver John Santeiu (426.06 points). The Tigers’ 400 freestyle relay squad of Chierighini, Arthur Mendes, James Disney-May and Owens also won a title.
The Tigers’ 10 individual and relay titles (out of 21 events) led all squads over the five-day duals. However, the Gators’ depth was able to hold off powerhouse Auburn, which will look to make amends at the NCAA championships March 28-30 in Indianapolis.
Chierighini was named SEC men’s swimmer of the year
Auburn’s women finished in fifth place as a team, as Georgia won its fourth consecutive crown over Texas A&M and Florida.