On the fourth day of the swimming and diving SEC championship meet, Georgia took home a mixed bag of results, including two first-place wins and several new personal records.
Sophomore Camden Murphy touched the wall first in one of his specialty races, the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:40.62, a full three seconds faster than his time in last year’s championships where he placed fifth. In an exciting last 50 yards during which he “kind of blacked out”, Murphy pulled ahead of Florida’s Maxime Rooney with long underwaters and strong finishing strokes.
“That’s been a part of my game plan for years and I do work on it on practice a lot,” said Murphy. “I work on underwaters and breath control and every day see what I can do a little better [technically] and all that.”
The first place win for Murphy cements him in the No. 5 spot on Georgia’s all-time list in the 200-yard butterfly.
“That’s one for the ages,” associate head coach Brian Smith said. “It looked like he had given [Rooney] a little bit too much leash...but Cam was able to chase him down on the last 25 and that’s what we train him for.”
Georgia also boasted three swimmers in the women’s 200-yard butterfly A-final Friday night as freshmen Olivia Carter and Dakota Luther and senior Caitlin Casazza mounted the blocks. Carter and Luther took spots side-by-side on the champions’ podium as Carter placed first and Luther finished third. Senior Caitlin Casazza followed finishing in fifth place. Carter’s time of 1:53.23 earned her a new career-best and the No. 5 time in the nation.
“I feel ecstatic, there aren’t words to describe the way I feel right now,” Carter said of her first SEC championship win. “To have SEC’s here my freshman year and be here with my Dawgs feels amazing.”
More A-Final contenders include defending champion Javier Acevedo in the 100-yard backstroke, who was barely edged out of the podium with a fourth place finish. Fellow junior Sofia Carnevale took third place in the women’s 100-yard backstroke, earning her a No. 4 spot on Georgia’s all-time list and a new career-best in the event.
The championship meet will conclude its five-day stretch in Athens on Saturday at Gabrielsen Natatorium. After Friday night, both the men’s and women’s teams are in fourth place overall in the competition.
“You gotta come in and put yourself in the right position for finals,” said Smith. “We have eyes on the big prize at the end with NCAA’s and tomorrow’s just another day in that chase and [we’re] getting ready for it.”