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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Men fight to 5th in 5-day SEC Championships

The+Aggie+mens+team+finished+fifth+in+SEC+Championships.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

The Aggie men’s team finished fifth in SEC Championships.

Tight competition and the pressure to win made for an intense, five-day battle at the men’s swimming and diving SEC Championships in Knoxville, Tenn.
Starting Tuesday, Feb. 15, and ending strong Saturday, Feb. 19, the men’s team racked up eight medals, placing fifth overall with 865.5 points. The Aggies showed up to make program history with record times and top finishes for divers at the SEC Championships. Two divers finished 1-2 in the 1-meter diving, a program first. Swimmers earned NCAA Championship qualifications in all five relays and in numerous individual events, according to 12thMan.com. The NCAA Championship meet is scheduled for the end of March.
“This was an intense meet as usual, but the team scores were tighter than I remember being since we’ve been in the SEC,” coach Jay Holmes told 12thMan.com. “It was tight, and nothing was easy.”
On Day 1, senior Kurtis Mathews had a visit to the podium for second place in the 3-meter diving finals with a score of 437.80, earning his sixth SEC Championships medal. Mathews was accompanied by sophomore Victor Povzner, who finished seventh with a final score of 365.00. The 200-meter medley relay team of juniors Ethan Gogulski, Andres Puente and Jace Brown and freshman Seth Reno secured a spot in the NCAA Championship with an automatic qualifying time of 1:24.00. The medley relay team swam season-best splits with Puente splitting the 50-meter breaststroke with a 23.26 and Brown splitting the 50-meter butterfly with a 20.83, placing them among the top-three times in program history, according to 12thMan.com.
On Day 2, Mathews revisited the podium for the 1-meter diving with the fourth gold medal of his career and a score of 420.30. Povzner earned silver in the event with a score of 412.15. The two divers are the first in program history to finish 1-2 at the SEC Championships.
Senior Kaloyan Bratanov earned the first individual medal of his career, taking third in the 200-meter individual medley, or IM, with a time of 1:42.98, also the third-fastest ranked time in program history. Bratanov and his teammates Reno, Gogulski and senior Clayton Bobo placed sixth in the 200-meter freestyle relay with a time of 1:17.44.
A&M had to fight on Day 3 to keep points on the board with junior Anze Fers Erzen placing fifth in the 400-meter IM final with 3:45.42. Brown finished in the 100-meter fly’s top-15 with a 47.03, while Bratanov tied for 11th place in the 200-meter free with a 1:34.06.
The team held on to fifth overall on Day 4, finishing with 636.5 points as Gogulski medaled for the first time in his career with silver while breaking his personal record with a second-fastest time in program history in the 100-meter backstroke at 45.42. Puente added more points to the board with a sixth-place finish with 52.44 in the 100-meter breast, and finished eighth in the 400-meter medley relay at 3:08.28 with teammates Gogulski, Brown and Bratanov.
Closing out the SEC Championships with three medals on Day 5, both Gogulski and Fers Erzen made it to the podium stand in the 200-meter back, clocking in times of 1:39.58 and 1:40.31, respectively, bringing home silver and bronze for the Aggies. Puente finished off his last event of the meet with a bronze in the 200 breast with a 1:52.77. The team not letting up, Bratanov placed fifth in the 100-meter free final with a time of 42.39, while sophomore Alex Sanchez, 1:55.14, and senior Jacob Schababerle, 1:56.76, placing 11th and 15th, respectively, in the 200 breast. Freshman Trey Dickey added points for the team in the 1,650-meter free swimming at 15:19.43 to place 23rd. The 400-meter medley relay team of Bratanov, Gogulski, sophomore Collin Fuchs and Bobo topped off the team’s final score by placing fifth with a time of 2:52.05.
The swimmers get back to action March 3-6 at the American Short Course Championships in Austin, while the diving team is preparing to compete in the NCAA Zone D Championships March 7-9 in Madison, Wis. For more information and all final results, visit 12thMan.com.

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