KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Haley Black, Erin Faloner and Joe Patching each scored a fourth-place finish as the 2017 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships passed the halfway point on Thursday night. With two days remaining, both of Auburn's teams stand in third place, the women with 493 points and the men with 495.5 points.
"We are swimming well and racing hard, we just not getting on the podium as much as we'd like," Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. "We are doing best times left and right, we just have to find that little bit extra. There are still two full days and some of our best events are still to come. People are still very engaged in the process and we're going to keep fighting."
Patching took fourth in the 400 IM in 3:42.60, the second straight season that he registered a top-four finish in the event after taking third last season, while Black took fourth in the 100 fly in 51.80 and Falconer did it in the 200 free in 1:45.96.
Black's swim moved her from fifth to third on Auburn's all-time performers 100 fly list, passing Margaret Hoelzer (52.03/2003) and Mimi Bowen (52.05/1997) in the process. Bailey Nero also placed her name on the 100 fly top-10 list, placing eighth in 52.36 on Thursday night, which makes her sixth all-time at Auburn. Aly Tetzloff took 14th in 52.94 and Ashton Ellzey took 24th in 54.74.
Luis Martinez tied for fifth in the 100 fly in 46.03, which was just one one-hundredth of a second slower than his prelims time. Liam McCloskey (4.35), Peter Holoda (46.64) and Santiago Grassi (46.72) all improved upon their personal-bests from prelims to finish 12th, 13th and 15th, respectively, while Foster Ballard checked in at 15th in 47.16.
Pete Turnham scored a 342.15 to finish 15th on the men's 3-meter, the second springboard event that he has been in the top 15 after taking 10th on the 1-meter on Tuesday. Scott Lazeroff placed 22nd with a 303.25.
"The one positive thing is we continue to contribute to the team score but obviously it was a little disappointing today and I didn't feel we dived up to our capabilities," head diving coach Jeff Shaffer said. "Pete was solid through three rounds and then under-rotated with his reverse two-and-a-half. He still finished strong but the way he was training coming into the meet I thought he had a real strong chance to final.
"We need to come out strong on Saturday (on platform), which is a strong event for us," Shaffer said. "We need to be more focused on getting the job done and dive to our capabilities."
Jessica Merritt (1:47.86) and Julie Meynen (1:47.90) rounded out the women's 200 free swims, placing 16th and 21st, respectively, while Joshua Booth (1:35.75) and Hugo Morris (1:36.83) placed 14th and 15th, respectively, in the men's race.
Texas A&M leads the women's team race with 729 points followed by Georgia with 601 points while Florida tops the men's team standings with 759.5 points followed by Georgia with 537 points.
Friday's prelim session begins at 9 a.m. CT and will include the 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and women's platform.
Thursday Auburn Finishes & SEC Champions
Women's 400 IM
1. Sydney Pickrem (TAMU) 4:05.98 / 4:02.25
15. Zoe Thatcher 4:13.59 / 4:12.34
18. Ashley Neidigh 4:15.75 / 4:12.49 (PR)
37. Jacqueline Hippi 4:25.07
Women's 100 Fly
1. Sarah Gibson (TAMU) 50.93 / 50.71
4. Haley Black 52.09 (PR) / 51.80 (PR)
8. Bailey Nero 52.39 (PR) / 52.36 (PR)
14. Aly Tetzloff 52.51 / 52.94
24. Ashton Ellzey 53.43 (PR) / 54.74
25. Maddie Martin 54.14
Men's 100 Fly
1. Caeleb Dressel (UF) 44.87 / 44.21
t5. Luis Martinez 46.02 / 46.03
10. Liam McCloskey 46.44 (PR) / 46.35 (PR)
12. Peter Holoda 46.95 (PR) / 46.64 (PR)
13. Santiago Grassi 46.80 (PR) / 46.72 (PR)
15. Foster Ballard 46.93 (PR) / 47.16
37. Taylor Copeland 48.56
Women's 200 Free
1. Geena Freriks (UK) 1:45.29 / 1:44.26
4. Erin Falconer 1:45.90 / 1:45.96
16. Jessica Merritt 1:47.25 (PR) / 1:47.86
21. Julie Meynen 1:47.95 (PR) / 1:47.90 (PR)
39. Allyx Purcell 1:50.02
Men's 200 Free
1. Maxime Rooney (UF) 1:33.05 / 1:32.18
14. Joshua Booth 1:35.59 (PR) / 1:35.75
15. Hugo Morris 1:35.47 / 1:36.83
27. Zach Apple 1:36.57
33. Ziv Kalontarov 1:37.40 (PR)
35. Colin Bone 1:37.68
51. Alec Morris 1:41.25
Women's Top-5 Team Scores
1. Texas A&M 729
2. Georgia 601
3. Auburn 493
4. Tennessee 454
5. Missouri 430
Men's Top-5 Team Scores
1. Florida 759.5
2. Georgia 537
3. Auburn 495.5
4. Alabama 415.5
5. Texas A&M 409.5