Tennessee won two events and its share of post-meet awards Saturday to finish second at the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Gabi Chereches won his third-straight platform diving title with an impressive performance and the 400-yard freestyle relay squad captured the conference title in the last event of the meet. The Volunteers finished in second place with 632.5 points. Auburn won the team title with 814 points. Florida was third with 584.
We ended with a win in the platform and a win in the 400 free relay. That gives us some momentum as we prepare for the NCAA Championships, said Vol head coach John Trembley.
Chereches claimed his platform title with a dominant performance that was punctuated with a spectacular finish. With the victory all but certain, Chereches brought the house down with a final dive that received a perfect score of 10 from six of the seven judges.
It was a good way to end my SEC career, the senior said. When you get to the top, it's really hard to stay on top.
UT diving coach Dave Parrington agreed.
I'm exhilarated, he said. Gabi really wanted to end his SEC career with his third platform title and help the team with those first-place points. To see him end with a dive like that is one of the most exciting moments of my career.
Right before he went up for the last dive, he looked at me and flashed a 10 with his hands.
Chereches was given the award for Outstanding Performance by a Diver. Parrington was named as the Outstanding Men's Diving Coach.
Also taking home some hardware was senior co-captain Michael Gilliam who was given the award for Oustanding Performance by a Swimmer. The Nashville native finished second in the 100 freestyle on Saturday and anchored the champion 400 freestyle relay. Gilliam also won his third-straight SEC 100 backstroke title and tied his own SEC 100 back record earlier in the meet as well as helped the 200 medley relay to an American Record and SEC title and the 200 freestyle relay to a SEC title.
Joining Gilliam on the SEC champion 400 free relay title on Saturday were Jeremy McDonnell, Renato Gueraldi and Chris Hussey. Other finalists on the evening included McDonnell finishing third in the 200 breaststroke, Brett Tannhauser finishing fifth in the 1650 freestyle, Andrew Bree finishing fifth in the 200 breast, Renato Gueraldi finishing sixth in the 100 free and Chris Hussey finishing eighth in the 100 free.