Well swim fans, we now come to an end of the 2011 SEC Championships. Seven school records where broken over the course of four days and numerous girls set personal-best and lifetime-best marks.
A special thanks needs to go out to the seniors, Anna Fargo and Jennifer Molchan. This duo were the first girls to make it through all four years and both of them had great swims this week to go out on a positive note.
"It's great to see Jen swim well and see Anna have a good week," coach Organ said. "Finishing a career with lifetime-bests is a perfect way to go out."
So from Vanderbilt University, thank you Jen and Anna!
Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 - Day Four
400-yard Freestyle Relay
The Vandy swim team finished up the 2011 SEC Championships on a positive note, breaking a school record in the 400 free relay in a time of 3:29.98. The team of Jennifer Molchan, Melissa Roberts, Amy Salce and Jess Eccher moved past the previous record time of 3:30.66 set at the 2009 SEC Championships. Congrats on another school record!
Erika Deardorf helped rewrite the Vanderbilt record book by earning the top time in the 1650 freestyle in a time of 16.39.99, topping her previous best of 16:59.60. Deardorf set the record last season at the SEC Championships in Georgia. It was also an improvement over her previous season-best time of 17:11.71.
"I was really excited about the race," Deardorf said. "I thought I was capable of getting the record so it felt really good to get there. Going into it I felt that I was stuck in mediocrity so breaking through that barrier was great."
Her time made the B cut for the NCAA Championshihps which was set at 16:41.04.
"That was a great swim," said head coach Jeremy Organ. "She has worked hard all year and you like to see a girl like that do so well."
Deardorf also broke another record during her 1650 heat when she reached the 1000-yard mark in a time of 10:03.68. The sophomore set the 1000-yard record earlier this season when she finished in a time of 10:09.71 at Marshall. Prior to the meet against Marshall this season Deardorf held the previous record that she set against Marshall last season.
The seniors are ending their Vanderbilt swimming career this week and Anna Fargo went out this morning with a lifetime-best in her event. The St. Louis native finished the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 53.31, topping her previous lifetime-best of 53.35 set at the 2009 SEC Championships. Fargo's time this morning was an improvement of her previous season-best of 55.03.
"It felt really great out there," Fargo said. "It was exciting and it was a good way to end my swimming career."
There will be more on Fargo as well as other senior Jennifer Molchan later today.
Various members of the Vandy women's swim team headed over to Leonardo's for some pizza at the break. Assistant coach Krysten Nemecek is seen above enjoying a delicious NY-style slice. Of all the pizza The Blog has eaten - and it is quite a bit - Leonardo's was up there with some of the best. If you ever find your way to Gainesville, make sure to grab some of their pizza and breadsticks.
200-yard Butterfly Preliminaries
The morning session closed out with Elizabeth Brunk and Michelle Williamson swimming the 200 butterfly in 2:07.79 and 2:09.33, respectively.
Before the team left for a lunch break, Alyx Vernon and Williamson took a shot at the 200 butterfly for time trials. Vernon finished in a season-best time of 2:09.29 while Williamson swam a season-best 2:08.33. Amy Salce competed in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing in 53.04 while Stephanie Falcone finished hte 100 butterfly in 1:01.552.
200-yard Breaststroke Preliminaries
Laura Dillon swam the team-best time in the 200 breast by finishing in a time of 2:20.62, breaking her previous season-best time of 2:23.99 set at the WKU Invite. Dillon set the school record at the SEC Championships last season by swimming the event in a time of 2:18.16.
Sarah Lynch had the next fastest time by finishing in 2:21.09, an improvement of three seconds from her previous season-best time. Freshmen Chloe Ott (pictured above) and Rebecca Young rounded out the event for the 'Dores.
100-yard Freestyle Preliminaries
Freshman Melissa Roberts (pictured right) had a successful race in the 100 free when she finished in a season-best time of 52.94, an improvement of .44 from her previous best set at the WKU Invitational.
Senior Jennifer Molchan, the school record holder in the event, finished in a team-best time of 52.87. Molchan set the record during the 2009 SEC Championships when she finished in a time of 52.21. This marked her fastest swim since her record-setting performance two seasons ago.
200-yard Backstroke Preliminaries
Once again, Jess Eccher has continued her dominance by breaking another school record, her third individual. The Jacksonville native closed out her SEC Championships with a record-breaking time of 2:02.02 in the 200-yard backstroke. Eccher moved past Wendy Deacon who finished in 2:02.79 in 1988. At the WKU Invite, Eccher was .20 seconds off the record.
"This was the last race of the meet for me so I wanted to end on a good note," Eccher said.
"She has had a greet week," said coach Organ. "All of the backstroke swimmers did well out there today and it was exactly how we wanted to start."
Amy Salce and Rose Cornelson finished up with lifetime-bests in the event as well.
Good morning Vandy swim fans and welcome to the final day of the 2011 SEC Championships from Gainesville! The team entered the Stephen C. O'Connell Center this morning wearing matching shirts that say "get up and go", so hopefully spirits are high and they can complete the final day on a positive note. One thing is for sure, The Blog had to Get Up and Go to the hospitality room for some doughnuts and coffee to prepare for the rigors of day four. Go Dores!
Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 - Day Three
Congratulations to Rose Cornelson, Laura Dillon, Jess Eccher and Melissa Roberts for breaking the 400 Medley relay school record in a time of 3:50.69!
Head coach Jeremy Organ passed out medals for the women's 400-yard IM. He is pictured here awarding Melanie Margalis of Georgia a silver for her time of 4:05.65
400-yard Medley Relay
We are heading into the finals of day three of the SEC Championships in Gainesville and after a successful morning the Vandy swimmers will close out the day with the 400-yard medley relay. Rose Cornelson, Laura Dillon, Jess Eccher and Melissa Roberts will look to have a strong swim and break the school record of 3:52.71 set last season at SECs. Rose and Jess were members of that team a year ago along with Allie Voss and Jennifer Molchan.
"All four of these girls have had good days," said head coach Jeremy Organ. "With the way they are swimming I think we have a good shot at setting the record. They are going to have to give it their all out there."
The top time this season is 3:55.69, set by Cornelson, Eccher, Roberts and freshman Chloe Ott.
"We've had a lot of good swims today," assistant coach Krysten Nemecek said. "Our girls just need to stay positive and they will do fine. This relay team should be good and I'm really excited to see how they do."
100-yard Backstroke Preliminaries
Rose Cornelson was .74 seconds off breaking the school record in the 100 back but her time of 57.97 was an improvement of one and a half seconds. Chelsea Morey followed up one second behind while Stephanie Falcone closed out the group.
100-yard Breaststroke Preliminaries
Laura Dillon has continued her stellar day by finishing the 100 breast in 1:04.82, one and a half seconds faster than her previous season-best time. Sarah Lynch swam a time of 1:05.15 while freshman Chloe Ott was .77 behind.
200-yard Freestyle Preliminaries
Seniors Anna Fargo (pictured above) and Jennifer Molchan swam in their final 200 free and both finished with season-best times. Fargo finished the event in a time of 1:58.72 while Molchan swam a time of 1:53.30.
100-yard Butterfly Preliminaries
The butterfly swimmers had a good race with Jess Eccher finishing with a team-best time of 56.20 while Laura Dillon, the 200 butterfly school record holder, finished with a season-best time of 57.34.
"I was really happy with my swim," Dillon said. "I did the things right I wanted to do and I had good underwaters whichwe have been working on. I think all of the butterfly swimmers did well out there."
400-yard IM Preliminaries
Erika Deardorf, Michelle Williamson and Alyx Vernon are pictured here getting ready for the first event of the day to begin. All three women set personal season-best times with Deardorf finishing on top in a time of 4:30.13.
"Those were some good swims," fifth-year head coach Jeremy Organ said. "I think it's a good way to start the day and the team is positive."
We are live from the Stephen C. O'Connell Center with about 20 minutes to go until the event begins. The arena is packed already and right in front of the media work station are the faithful Vanderbilt parents and families. The Blog closed out yesterday thanking them for their goodie bags, but this morning I would like to thank them for coming out to support the team. They have traveled from California, Texas, Illinois as well as other parts of the States to cheer on Vandy swimming. Lets hope the girls have a succesful day for the parents as they yell, "Go 'Dores!"
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 - Day Two
The Blog would like to give a special thanks to the Vanderbilt parents who worked so hard on making goodie bags for the swimmers, as well the staff (that includes me!). They were filled with a variety of delicious snacks that The Blog will have to run off tomorrow afternoon, or jump in the pool for a few laps.
Keep posted for tomorrow's events beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Almost every swimmer will be competing so there should be lots of updates.
Day two ended with the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Melissa Roberts, Jennifer Molchan, Sarah Lynch and Betsy Galenti finishing in a season-best time of 1:36.69. Roberts's split was a lifetime best and she helped get the team going early. The four swimmers were one second off the school record.
Michelle Williamson, Chloe Ott and Betsy Galenti sit poolside waiting for the 200-yard freestyle relay to begin. Galenti will be participating while Williamson and Ott - as well as the rest of the 'Dores - cheer for the relay team.
50-yard Freestyle preliminaries
Betsy Galenti (24.98), Anna Fargo (25.13), Jennifer Molchan (24.85) and Melissa Roberts (24.42) all set season-best times in 50 free to close out the preliminary events of day two.
200-yard IM preliminaries
Jess Eccher set the 21-year-old school record in the 200-yard IM in a time of 2:04.64. Before the meet began, Eccher (pictured above) told The Blog she felt strong about setting the record and thought she had a great chance during her heat. In the end, she was spot on.
"I'm really excited," Eccher said. "Getting the record was one of my goals this season. Fast swims are contagious at SECs so hopefully I can keep moving forward with good times."
Freshman Alyx Vernon had a strong race, finishing her heat in a time of 2:12.47, a season-best. Vernon jumped out strong from the get-go and improved her time by four seconds.
"That felt amazing and I'm really happy," Vernon said. "This is the best I've swam since high school and the last time this happened I did my best in the 400 IM. Hopefully this continues throughout the event. Go Dores!"
Fellow freshman Chloe Ott had a strong day, finishing in a season-best time of 2:10.64. Congrats to all of the IM swimmers for a strong performance.
Erika Deardorf, Michelle Williamson and Margaux Georgiadis competed in the second heat of the 500 free. Deardorf set the season-best time by finishing in 5:00.08 while Williamson had personal season-best time. Georgiadis (pictured above) was just shy of her personal best.
While heading to the pool on a foggy Gainesville morning, The Blog happened to stumble upon Tim Tebow's infamous speech that is plastered on Ben Hill Griffen Stadium. Lets hope the Vandy girls can pull out their inner-Tebow and come out of the gates firing, breaking personal-bests and records on day two of the 2011 SEC Championships. We have a full day of events beginning with the 500-yard freestyle followed by the 200 IM, 50 freestyle and the 200 freestyle relay. Good luck 'Dores!
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011 - Day One
Chelsea Morey and her mother gather at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center after day one of the 2011 SEC Championships.
800-yard Freestyle Relay
Margaux Georgiadis, Jess Eccher and Erika Deardorf are watching Amy Salce finish up the 800 freestyle relay which finished with a season-best time of 7:37.14.
"This experience was Exhilarating," freshman Margaux Georgiadis said. "It was a lot to take in but it gets you excited. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of the week."
200-yard Medley Relay
The relay team of Cornelson, Lynch, Eccher and Roberts finished 9th in the 200 medley in a time of 1:46.50, .2 seconds off the school record.
"It was a good swim for us," coach Organ said. "We were really close to making it a great swim. It was a good way to start the meet and we can move forward on a positive note."
Melissa Roberts competed in her first SEC Championship event and had a successful outing. "I think it went well for a first race and I think it will set us up for the rest of the meet," Roberts said.
Jess Eccher raced in her first of two events today and said, "The atmosphere in the arena was great. I'm looking forward to the future events."
Head coach Jeremy Organ fields questions from ESPN's Doug Barlow regarding the team, its history and the SEC Championships. Seniors Anna Fargo and Jennifer Molchan also participated in the interview that will air on ESPNU in the upcoming weeks.
The team is sporting new Nike swimsuits for the Championships this season. Alyx Vernon was nice enough to model it for the Commodore fans out there.
Freshman Chloe Ott, as well as other members of the team, participated in a time trial during the morning session to get ready for the finals tonight.
"Doing a time trial helps calm my nerves and prepares me for my swims later tonight," Ott said.
ESPN is here covering the competition and Doug Barlow has asked to interview seniors Anna Fargo and Jennifer Molchan about their journey through the program. It will air later this week on ESPNU and hopefully can make it on the SEC network. More news to come soon.
The girls have eaten their Wheaties and are on the way to the pool to begin the 2011 SEC Championships.
Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011
The Commodores have arrived in Gainesville and are preparing for the first day of competition tomorrow. The pool is crowded with other SEC schools getting ready but the Vandy swimmers have taken two lanes.
"I'm super excited to be here," assistant coach Krysten Nemecek said. "My energy level is always up for this meet."
The Vanderbilt women's swim team will compete at the 2011 SEC Championships from Feb. 16-19. This page will serve as a running blog, updating with news, notes and quotes from Gainesville, Fla., during the week. Keep checking for posts.