Nic Fink seemed like an unassuming character, sporting silver-framed glasses and a Georgia beanie with ear flaps hiding his still-damp hair.
But the junior completed a three-peat of the 100-yard breaststroke at the Southeastern Conference swimming and diving championships Friday, breaking the 17-year-old conference record of 51.86 seconds set by Tennessee’s Jeremy Linn.
“I knew Nic was going after that tonight,” assistant coach Stefanie Williams said of Fink’s 51.25-second record.
Fink said he expected it.
“I think (Friday) morning I swam it pretty well and I kind of shut down at the end, so I was expecting a nice little drop (Friday night) and I was happy that it came,” said Fink, who was the only first-place finisher for Georgia’s men and women.
He also swam the breaststroke leg in the men’s 400 medley relay, a race in which Georgia placed second in 3 minutes, 5.55 seconds behind Auburn’s 3:05.38.
“We knew we had a great relay together,” Fink said. “We haven’t had all the pieces together and we knew we had a shot at the title. We’re thrilled. We took a three-second cut off of the team record, which was a little surprising, but we’re going to be back and ready to go at NCAAs.”
The Georgia men sit in third place with 806 points while the Georgia women keep hold of a commanding lead, compiling 1,098 points through four days. Texas A&M is in second with 911 points and Florida is in third with 799.
Olivia Smolgia surged in the 100 backstroke, finishing second in 51.53 seconds, another medal to add to the freshman’s collection after she won the 50 freestyle Wednesday.
“I really just got pumped up for it and tried to do the best I could, but definitely not (expecting this),” Smolgia said of her first SECs. “I wanted it to go as well as it has been going, but to actually have it, it’s really cool.”
Smolgia was also a part of the women’s 400 medley relay team, which took second in 3:29.87, just a half of a second behind Texas A&M.
“It was tough,” Smolgia said. “… I had a little bit of recovery time, but everyone was basically in the same boat. … Shannon (Vreeland) finished it so hard. 46.9, that’s insane. She went so, so fast. It’s all about racing and I think we did that really well.”
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