The Texas Longhorn men, ranked 2nd in SwimSwam’s mid-season power rankings, took care of business at home against #9 Georgia, overcoming a relay DQ to win the meet 153-123.
The visiting #2 Georgia women, meanwhile, picked up a victory of their own over #9 Texas just 12 hours or so after tying Texas A&M last night. The Bulldogs won 157.5-142.5.
Melanie Margalis was a force for the Bulldog women, winning the 100 breaststroke (1:00.81) and 200 IM (1:57.67). For the second night in a row, Brittany MacLean came up with big swims in tough races, winning the mile in 16:23.61 and the 500 in 4:47.31.
The other double winners for the Georgia women were Shannon Vreeland in the 200 free (1:47.94) and 100 free (49.90) and Laura Ryan in 1-meter (319.58) and 3-meter diving (375.08).
That was enough to overcome a strong start by Texas’ Lily Moldenhauer. First, she staked her 200 medley relay team to a lead on the backstroke leg, and thanks to a a great 24.2 butterfly split from Brynne Wong, the Longhorns took the event by just a few tenths. Moldenhauer also won the 100 back in 53.32, leading a 1-2 finish that gave the home Longhorns a 6 point lead during the first section of the meet.
After Georgia battled back through the middle of the event order, Moldenhauer returned to win the 100 fly in 54.26, taking a tight battle with Georgia’s Lauren Harrington to pull the Longhorns back to within 10 points.
But that wasn’t enough to overcome a strong finish by the Bulldogs, who also won tight races in the 200 breast (Annie Zhu in 2:13.31) and 200 fly (Hali Flickinger in 2:00.02). After Margalis won the 200 IM, Texas broke the 150-point barrier to seal the win.
Texas did take the 400 free relay to close the meet, going 3:20.39 to beat out Georgia’s 3:20.90. Other Texas winners were Ellen Lobb (22.75 in the 50 free) and Tasija Karosas (1:55.84 in the 200 back to beat Margalis in her third event).
On the men’s side, Texas overcame an early relay DQ to battle back and ultimately beat Georgia with ease.
After Andrew Gemmell won the 1650 free in 15:22.01, Georgia got even more good news when Texas’s 200 medley relay, which won by .06, was disqualified for a false start. In a strange twist of fate, the relay reaction time showed exactly -0.06 on Jack Conger’s butterfly exchange, and suddenly Georgia was up by 14 on the road.
It should be noted that Conger was a blazing 20.94 on the fly split running down Georgia after the Bulldogs’ Nic Fink surged to the lead on the breast leg with a 24.6.
But despite the early jitters, Texas regained its composure in a hurry. Clay Youngquist went 1:36.54 to win the 200 free in a landslide, and freshman Clark Smith was second to pull Texas instantly back within three. Taylor Dale went 48.34 to out-touch Conger for the 100 back win, but Texas went 2-3-4 to salvage a small points split.
Then, when Will Licon upset Georgia star Nic Fink in the 100 breast Texas went on top for the first time and got a huge surge of momentum. Licon was 55.15, just a few tenths off his season best to beat Fink by a tenth.
Licon would return to top Fink again in the 200 breast, going 1:58.96 to Fink’s 1:59.65.
Texas also got multiple wins from sprinter John Murray (50 free in 20.28 and 100 free in 44.91) and diver Mike Hixon (415.95 on 1-meter and 496.73 on 3-meter).
Georgia swept the backstrokes – after Dale’s win in the 100, Tynan Stewart took the 200 back in 1:46.15, just beating Texas’ Will Glass.
Other winners for Texas were Tripp Cooper in the 100 fly (48.21), John Martens in the 200 fly (1:46.42) and Sam Lewis in the 500 free (4:27.28).