Tennessee junior Lindsay Gendron raced from third to first down the stretch to capture her first individual SEC title Thursday at the SEC swimming and diving championships in College Station, Texas.
Gendron turned up the intensity to finish the last race of the evening to swim past a field of Georgia competitors to take gold in the 200-yard freestyle at the Student Rec Natatorium in a personal-best 1 minute, 43.22 seconds.
“In the last 50, she took stock of where she was and she just decided she was going to get her hand on the wall,” Tennessee coach Matt Kredich said. “That was so powerful. It was a very loud and emphatic message to the rest of our team about how to present yourself during a race.”
Three days into the competition, the Lady Vols are still in fourth place with 557 points. Georgia leads with 790 points, followed by Florida (676), Texas A&M (659). The men dropped one spot to fifth with 421. Florida has 748 points for first, followed by Abuurn (630.5), Georgia (549) and Texas A&M (426.5).
Junior Samuel Rairden broke a Tennessee school record in a practically new event for him. Rairden was just beat out at the wall to take second in the 100 butterfly in 46.19 seconds.
Before the conference meet, the junior had only competed in the 100 fly one other time this season.
“That was a really selfless move by him to move from the 200 free to the 100 fly just to experiment,” Kredich said. “Now we’ve got some information on what he should be doing at NCAAs. We know he can be great in a lot of events.”
On a day in which the freshman Lady Vols contributed much of the team’s points and sheer manpower, Amanda Carner was one of the stars of the night. She finished 11th in the 400 IM in the second-fastest time in UT history (4:11.10).
Also, senior Brent Sterling, a Central High graduate, took seventh in 3-meter diving with a final score of 356.85.