Florida’s men’s swimming and diving team cleaned up on Saturday night at the SEC Championships, finishing a sweep of the relay events to win a fifth consecutive SEC title in the sport.
Caeleb Dressel, Maxime Rooney, Mark Szaranek, and Jan Switkowski combined to win the 400 free relay on Saturday, giving the Gators gold in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle and medley relays and the 800-yard freestyle relay, the first sweep of the five events in program history.
Dressel, a junior, was part of the 200- and 400-yard freestyle and medley relay teams, also won the 100-yard freestyle in 41.24 seconds, the nation’s best time this collegiate season, and added that victory to ones in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. His three individual wins tallied 96 points for Florida’s men — who put up 1,271.15 points in total, nearly 300 more than second-place Georgia — and earned him SEC Male Swimmer of the Meet honors, and he had a hand in 352 of Florida’s points, counting both individal and relay events.
And that was despite Dressel not quite matching his record-shattering 2016 performance in the pool, despite blazing two sub-18 second legs in the 200 relays in preliminary and final action, winning the 50 and 100 free finals by nearly a full second and the 100 fly final by more than that, and slicing through two 100-yard legs of the 400 free and medley relays in unearthly times under 40.5 seconds.
To put that in perspective: No other swimmer managed a time of under 41 seconds over 100 yards in the pool even once this week.
Dressel was one of two male Gators to win individual gold in Knoxville, with freshman Maxime Rooney topping the podium in the 200-yard freestyle. Mitch D’Arrigo, Jan Switkowski, and Mark Szaranek all joined Dressel in taking multiple individual medals, though none of that trio’s performances earned gold.
The SEC championship is the 38th in program history, and just the latest in a dynastic reign over the SEC in the water by Florida’s men. The Gators now own as many conference crowns as every other SEC school — including former SEC member Georgia Tech — has won combined, and more than twice as many as second-place Auburn’s 18.
It is also the second SEC title of the 2016-17 academic year for the Gators, who also won the SEC Tournament in soccer in the fall.
Florida’s women, meanwhile, finished seventh, with senior Autumn Finke — just one of three seniors on the Gators roster — scoring the only individual medal of the week by placing second in the 1,650-yard freestyle on Saturday.