Key Losses: Martin Grodzki (11th, 1650FR, former NCAA Champion), Matt Ellis (transfer to Texas, 4 NCAA relays), Ediz Yildiremer (returning to Turkey)
Key Additions: Pace Clark (TN – Butterfly), Chris Powell (GA – Sprint Freestyle), Taylor Dale (GA – Backstroke/Butterfly), John Mattern (CO -Breaststroke/Sprint Freestyle), Michael Trice (GA – Sprint Freestyle), Walker Wheeler (Geogia – diving), Michael Trice (Queens Transfer – sprint free)
2012-2013 Lookback: The Georgia men were able to break into the top ten last year, finishing right in the tenth position. It was a small improvement from their 11th place finish in 2012. The squad of 15 (11 swimmers, 4 relay alternates) that went to NCAA’s last year was very young and inexperienced, but matching the largest for squad for Bauerle on the men’s team.
Chase Kalisz returns for his sophomore season after a very successful summer. He made his mark on the international scene in Barcelona, Spain at the FINA World Championships by placing 2nd in a thrilling 400m IM race. Kalisz finished 10th in the 200yd IM and was crowned the NCAA Champion in the 400yd IM last year. Kalisz back half in the IM is probably the best in the world, and coming off a successful freshman season with the Bulldogs he will look to grow in that in his second season.
Another impressive freshman from last season was Matias Koski. Representing Finland internationally, he finished 4th in the 500yd FR, 9th in the 200yd FR and 3rd in the 1650yd FR. He will have to compete against the likes of Conor Jaeger at Michigan next season, but there is still room to grow in his finishes as the team looks to him to move up.
Returning as an upperclassman now, Nic Fink will look to his experience internationally this summer (he qualifier for the FINA World Championships in the 100 BR) to build on his 4th place finish in the 100 breaststroke last season. He is already the school record holder in this event, and will chase his Team USA teammate Kevin Cordes for the National Title this season.
Fink can also help his team by moving up into the championship finals at the NCAA meet. He finished 9th last year.
Besides these three young men, Georgia is dominant in the distance freestyle events. On the final night in 2013, the Bulldogs showed off their toughness in the pool with three four men scoring in the 1650yd freestyle. Koski was the best finisher, at third, but Team USA Olympic Andrew Gemmell also finished in the top eight, at 5th.
Will Freeman in 10th at 14:51.44 and the Bulldog only loss for next season (due to expired eligibility) was 11th place finisher Martin Grodzki. Though the Bulldogs lost both Grodzki and standout freshman Ediz Yildiremer, their distance group is still a huge strength.
Gemmell and Freeman are entering their final season, and could be huge leaders for the Bulldogs who are still primarily underclassman on the roster.
Other Individual Scorers: In the 100-yard butterfly, Doug Reynolds placed 13th with a time of 46.52. In the 200-yard backstroke, Ty Stewart placed 12th with a school-record time of 1:41.86.
Relays are key at the NCAA Championship. Last season the Bulldogs only had three relay make it back, and that was only to the consolation finals. The 400 medley relay was 11th, 200 freestyle relay was 12th, 800 freestyle relay finishing 10th. All relay swimmers are returning for this season and hopefully the experience will work in favor for the Bulldogs.
The Freshman: Tennesseean Pace Clark is a pure butterfly specialist. He has bests of 47.3/1:45.9 in the 100 and 200 flies in yards. A 47.3 100 yard fly isn’t quite the time it seemed three years ago, but it’s still an all-time impressive mark for a high schooler and ranks him 7th in the class of 2013 in the 100 yard race. The Bulldogs only have one returning butterflier who was under 49 seconds last season (junior Doug Reynolds in a 46), but with the likes of Yousef Alaskari returning and Clark’s addition, they will be in much better position.
Taylor Dale, who decided to stay in state, is another one of these 100 backstroke/100 butterfly swimmers, with yards bests of 48.84 and 48.55, respectively. He will most likely fall toward the backstroke, though, both because that’s where Georgia needs him the most. He was 2012 Junior National Champion in the 100 backstroke with a 55.98 and also a 2:04.1 in the 200 back in long course. Still, he’s pretty good in the 100 fly in long course as well, with a 55.4, so he could very well shoot for a double on day two of NCAA’s. He also has some potential to contribute in free relays, as his best in the 50 yard free is 20.86.
Chris Powell is an Athen native, swimming for Athens Bulldog Swim Club under Coach Harvey Humphries. Powell is the state’s top-rated sprinter and is nationally ranked in the 50-yard and 100-meter freestyle. What interested Bauerle was how raw Powell is, only swimming year round about three to four years thus far.
John Mattern comes from the Colorado Stars under Missy Franklin’s coach Todd Schmitz. He finished 7th in the 100 freestyle (46.47) and 2nd in the 100 breaststroke (56.62). His times will continue to add depth in these events for the Bulldogs. Mattern got his first Sectional in 2011, so he may have a lot of potential for Bauerle to tap into, plus, his sister Jordan (a member of the 2013 U.S. World Championships squad) has done wonders at Georgia herself.
Michael Trice is a transfer from NCAA Division II team, Queens University of Charlotte. He set new team records in the 50 freestyle (19.90), where he finished 4th at the NCAA level, and as the anchor on the 200 and 400 medley relays.
Diving: The Bulldogs had no men divers qualify at last years NCAAs. Their diving is very weak, but they are adding two divers to the roster with Walker Wheeler (GA) and USC transfer Spencer Mandanay (HI). It may be still too weak to make an impact for the team at the NCAA level.
2013-2014 Outlook: The Georgia Bulldogs was the best co-ed program in the country last year, and Bauerle looks to continue that under his tenure. The team is returning 14 out of their 15 scorers from last year. And experience certainly makes the difference at the NCAA meet. While their recruiting class wasn’t exactly the strongest out there against their top ten competitors, the Bulldogs have strength within their team, plus a few key addition in the freshman class, that could certainly improve their team standings at the NCAA meet.