In total the Florida Gators brought home three 2014 Southeastern Conference Championships over the weekend with the top-ranked men’s swimming and women’s track & field programs joining the basketball team as league title winners.
UF men’s swimming repeated as conference champions, topping Auburn 1440.0-1280.5 at Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, GA to capture the program’s second-straight and 35th overall SEC title. The accomplishment ranks it second all-time to Kentucky basketball (45) for most team crowns in league history. The Gators won 28 titles in a 41-year span from 1953-93 but suffered without one for 19-straight years until taking over the SEC once again in 2013.
Redshirt senior Sebastien Rousseau led the way for Florida, becoming the 12th male UF swimmer to win the Commissioner’s Trophy (most total points). He was also honored as SEC Male Swimmer of the Year for his overall achievements. Rousseau won three 200-yard individual SEC titles in freestyle, individual medley and butterfly, setting a league record in the latter event by finishing the swim in 1:41.07.
The men captured nine total individual SEC Championships, and the Gators women joined them with three league titles of their own despite finishing in third place, 159 points behind SEC East rival Georgia.
Senior Elizabeth Beisel took home her third-straight Commissioner’s Trophy – making 16 total for female UF swimmers in school history – by winning SEC titles in two events, both for the fourth-straight year. Beisel won the 400-yard IM and 200-yard backstroke and became just the fourth swimmer in league history to sweep SEC Championships in two different events for her career.
Florida’s swimming teams set three SEC records and seven school records at the meet.
While the men dominated in the pool, it was women’s track & field that won their third SEC Indoor Championship in the last five seasons and eighth all-time. UF’s ladies edged Texas A&M 102.0-96.5 while the men finished second to Arkansas 121.0-106.0 at Gilliam Indoor Track & Field Stadium in College Station, TX.
The female Gators captured four individual SEC titles with senior Cory McGee (3,000 meters) and junior Ciarra Brewer (triple jump) leading the way. Florida also won a pair of relays including the 4×400-meters and distance medley.
UF’s biggest individual winner of the weekend was senior Eddie Lovett, who became the first athlete in SEC history to win four-straight titles in the 60-meter hurdles.
Sophomore Arman Hall also stepped up with an SEC Championship win in the 200 meters. He and McGee each brought home the Cliff Harper Trophy as the highest-point gatherers for their respective genders.
Florida has now won four SEC Championships during the 2013-14 season with men’s basketball clinching a title last Thursday and women’s soccer the only program to stand out as the best in the league during the fall semester. Gators have also accounted for 18 individual titles including 12 in the pool and six on and around the track.
Photo Credits: Southeastern Conference