Postseason in the Pool

Vandy swimming set to compete at SEC Championships this week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt swimming program will begin its postseason when the SEC Championships get underway Tuesday at Auburn’s James E. Martin Aquatic Center.

The meet begins with the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays that night, and will continue through Saturday. Beginning Wednesday, preliminary heats are scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m., with finals slated for 5:30 p.m. each evening.

Information throughout the meet will be available HERE.

“Everyone is in great spirits and really excited to get this meet going,” head coach Jeremy Organ said. “Overall, I think we’ve had a great season with some outstanding performances throughout the year and I don’t think this week is going to be any different.”

Faith Knelson is the highest-ranked Dore entering the competition, standing 22nd in the 100 breaststroke after recording a time that meets the NCAA B Standard at the Gamecock Invitational in November, and she is also among the top 40 in the conference in the 200 breast. Kailia Utley is also among the top 35 in the league in both the 100 and 200 butterfly, with Mercedes Traba ranking in the top 35 in the 1,650 freestyle.

Ellie Taliaferro has the Commodores’ top mark in three events—the 100 and 200 free, and 200 individual medley—coming into the meet, while Traba has also recorded the team’s best times in the 500 free and 400 IM. Megan Ciezczak has the Commodores’ fastest mark in the 50 free this season, and Grace Ciaramitaro leads the team in the 200 backstroke.

Three individuals will be competing at the SEC Championships for the first time, but have experienced success at other conference competitions. Sophia Kosturos moved on to finals at the Pac-12 Championships each of the last four seasons while at UCLA, with Abby Francis accomplishing the same feat at the Atlantic 10 Championships for Davidson. Emily Carpenter also made a pair of finals at the 2023 Big 12 Championships as a freshman at Texas as well.

Both Knelson and Utley have qualified for multiple finals at previous SEC Championships, with the former advancing in both the 100 and 200 breast a year ago and the latter moving on in the 200 fly each of the last two seasons.

“That experience is key because you have to get up and go in the morning to be able to put yourself in those situations,” Organ said. “Having that confidence that you can go in there and come back at night is important as we look to have more individuals qualify for finals this week.”

Seven SEC schools are among the most recent SwimCloud top 25 coming into the competition. Vandy had dual meets against three league schools—current No. 3 Florida, 12th-ranked Georgia and Arkansas—during the 2023-24 regular season.