Georgia Tech Hangs Tough, But ‘Dawgs Pull Away at the End
Georgia 161, Georgia Tech 133
Even with all of the excitement surrounding Georgia’s freshman class, these Georgia vs. Georgia Tech dual meets (on the men’s side at least) are becoming significantly more competitive. That’s in part because of a significant Yellow Jacket advantage in diving, but also in part owed to the Yellow Jackets developing some very good top-end swimmers.
Thanks to an early win in the 200 medley relay (1:31.17-1:32.19), GaTech jumped out to an early lead in this race. They’d continue that with a win from Bo Hatchett in the 100 backstroke in 51.77, an event that is one of the Bulldogs’ weakest; a 2nd-through-5th finish in the 100 breast behind Georgia’s Nic Fink in a great early season 56.17; and very quick times from the teams two leaders Nico van Duijn (1:48.94 in the 200 fly) and Andrew Kosic (20.63 in the 50 free), Georgia Tech actually took a very narrow 3-point lead out of the diving break.
They stretched it a bit further in the 100 free, with Kosic again out-racing a great field that included freshman Matt Ellis, with those top two marking 45.15 and 45.17, respectively.
That race, however, was the pivot point of the meet. The next three events swung right into Georgia’s wheelhouse, as they dominated the 200 back, 200 breast, and 500 freestyle. Highlighting how young this team is, sophomore Jared Markham and freshman Ty Stewart went 1-2 in the 200 back in 1:51.11 and 1:51.37, respectively. That was followed by a win from another sophomore Nic Fink in the 200 breaststroke in 2:03.93.
The veterans got in on the fun in the 500 free, with junior Will Freeman winning in 4:31.07, and defending National Champion Martin Grodzki placing 2nd in 4:31.37.
Stewart would pick up his first collegiate win with a 1:50.44 in the 200 IM. For a freshman who in high school usually saw at least a three-second taper in this event, that’s a fantastic start to his career.
The Georgia freshmen showed up at the end of this meet, when the pressure was on against an in-state rival, and performed very well. That’s a great off-the-scoreboard attribute that will serve this team well in the years to come.
And for those who were wondering exactly what the plan was for the glut of distance freestylers that Georgia has, at least one of them might be turning into a sprinter. Koski, who really is one of the most versatile freestylers ever to come out of American high schools (he was a 20.6 in the 50 free and a 14:55 in the mile), is being leaned toward the sprints early in his career. That’s probably where Georgia most needs him, anyway.
He was 2nd in the 50 free in 20.81 (within two-tenths of a best time) and was 3rd in the 100 free in 45.96.
Full meet results available here.
Georgia Women Roll as Olympians Restart Seasons
Georgia 176, Georgia Tech 115 (4 UGA Exhibitioned events)
In contrast to the fairly tight men’s meet, the Georgia women rolled over their in-state foes in Atlanta as theirOlympians Allison Schmitt and Shannon Vreeland made their post-London debuts.
Neither woman swam the individual 200 free, which is the event where both won Olympic gold medals (Schmitt individually, Vreeland as part of an 800 free relay), but for the loaded Bulldogs middle-distance group that was no problem: they still went 1-2 in the race with Kelsey Gaid in 1:49.96 and Melanie Margalis 2nd in 1:50.18.
The majority of the upper-classmen were swimming off events for the Bulldogs, so the times won’t tell us a lot about where Georgia is looking this season, but among the notable results was Allison Schmitt winning the 100 free in 50.65. Since she last donned the red and black of Georgia, Schmitt has really found her sprinting speed – including anchoring the World Record breaking 400 medley for the USA in London.
The biggest eyes, if these Bulldogs are hoping to challenge the Cal Golden Bears for the NCAA Championship this season, will probably fall on the butterfly events. The Bulldogs were very weak in those events two years ago, but got a lot better last season with the addition of freshman Lauren Harrington.
This year, it looks like they’re going to open up the competition for those medley relays and see what they can come up with. They stuck their two best swimmers, Allison Schmitt and Shannon Vreeland, on the butterfly leg of the medley relays against Harrington on the B. Early in the season, Vreeland was a 25.75, Schmitt was a 25.29, and Harrington was a 25.56, as the Bulldogs went 1-4 in the relay overall. Schmitt, who dabbled in the butterfly races all year long while redshirting, also won the individual 100 fly in 56.79.
Georgia Tech’s Lexi Weber was the standout of the meet on their side, placing in the top-three of the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles against a deep Georgia freestyle group. That included runner-up finishes in the 50 (23.66) and 100 (51.23).
Full live results available here.
Virginia Tech Men Sweep “Virginia Tech Challenge,” Women Dominate but Liberty Shows Strong
The Virginia Tech men, swimming a tri-meet against Gardner-Webb and VMI, swam to a perfect 17-for-17 to dominate both opponents over the weekend at the Virginia Tech Challenge. All of the 100 yard stroke races were swum as 50’s, and the 200 IM was turned into a 100 IM.
Freshman Joe Bonk, who dominated YMCA Summer Nationals last year, contributed two of those victories, making his collegiate debut by winning the 50 free in 20.82 and the 100 free in 46.31. His fellow freshman Lucas Bureau was more of a surprise, and finished 2nd in 46.89 in that 100 free.
Other big winners for the Hokies include senior Tom Sheranek in the 200 back in 1:50.32.
On the women’s side, the Virginia Tech women also dominated, though it wasn’t quite a clear sweep, as Liberty took 5 events.
Emily Ryczek matched her classmate Bonk by winning the women’s 100 free in her collegiate debut with a 52.16. She was followed closely there by Gardner-Webb freshman Giorgie Graves in 52.83. Graves was named the CCSA Swimmer of the Week once this season already, and has a lot of people excited about that program.
Liberty, a very new program, showed up and impressed at Virginia Tech too. Head coach Jake Shellenberger did a great podcast on the Liberty website discussing taking his team to the brand new Christansburg Aquatics Center and not getting intimidated by the Hokies, and it appeared that he certainly did that here. Their 2012 All-American Brye Ravettine won the 50 free in 23.58, and led the Flames’ 200 free relay to a win in 1:35.37, just beating-out Tech in 1:35.45.
Florida State Women Beat Miami Friday, Florida Atlantic Saturday
In a two-day swing through South Florida, the Florida State women swept the Miami Hurricanes on Friday and the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday. Tiffany Oliver had two great days of swimming, taking a 100/200 double on Friday in 50.52 and 1:51.88, and then a 23.31 in the 50 on Saturday. It was that 200 free, her first individual win of the weekend, that was most impressive, as she ripped through the last 50 yards to overcome a small deficit to Miami’s Lucy Worrall and win by a full second.
Sophomore Elizabeth Pepper, who this coaching staff has high hopes for, had a bad swim in the 200 fly on Friday with a 2:07.06. A bad swim, though, is not a bad swim as long as she learned something from it, and she seemed to do exactly that. Coach Neal Harper put her in the same race on Saturday, not something often done on back-to-back days, and put up a 2:02.32. She was better in every phase of that second swim, but especially coming home, she didn’t fatigue nearly as badly.
Maybe the best part of the Miami meet was the diving, where we saw two of the best diving programs in the country face off. The Seminoles’ Ariel Rittenhouse won the 3-meter with a score of 335.25, just 7 points ahead of Miami’s Lindsay Lester, but Carrie Dragland and Lester went 1-2 on the 1-meter for the Hurricanes while Rittenhouse was 3rd.
The Florida State men also out-gunned FAU on Saturday, including a 20.56 Mark Weber win in the 50 freestyle. FAU got a big win in the 500 free, where French freshman Mathieu Burtez out-raced FSU’s top freshman Derek Pridemore in the 500 by result of 4:39.45-4:40.60.
Miami Meet Results here.
FAU Meet Results here.
Full meet results available here.
Other Results and News
- The NC State men traveled to Los Angeles to face off against the USC men. The Wolfpack fell 173-119; read more in the Pac 12 Wrap-Up here.
- Olympic gold medalists Matt McLean and Lauren Perdue appeared at the “fan fest” before Virginia’s home football game on Saturday. The free event was almost a carnival, with games, face-painting, and sign-making for kids.
- The North Carolina women were in action at the SMU Classic, where they showed very well to take 2nd behind USC. That included a 4:38 from Stephanie Peacock in the 500 free. Read all about that meet here.
- Boston College swept the events at the New England Catholic Invite over the weekend, both in the men’s and women’s meets. Highlights included a 53.81 from sophomore Emily Downs in the 100 free. Read more about the meet here.