A huge showdown between two women’s teams ranked in the top 4 in our mid-season Power Rankings ended in a deadlock. #2 Georgia, the defending NCAA Champs went on the road, tying a tough #4 Texas A&M squad 150-150.
On the men’s side, the still Chase Kalisz-less Bulldogs won easily over A&M 173-127, winning 11 of 16 events.
Live results available here.
Although the Aggies swept the relays, Georgia was able to keep things close by dominating nearly all the freestyle races and the longer distances, losing only two individual races of 200 yards or more.
A&M kicked things off with a win in the 200 medley relay by just .11 seconds, the close race a sign of things to come. Paige Miller gave the Aggies a slight lead over Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga, and Breeja Larson gained another tenth lead on Melanie Margalis. Lauren Harrington brought things back for Georgia, cutting the Aggie lead down to just .05 with 50 yards to go. But Sammie Bosma dropped the fastest freestyle split of the field to ice things for A&M.
But Georgia went on a tear over the next two races, led by their dominant and tough freestyle corps. Brittany MacLean went 9:40.18 in the 1000 free to beat A&M’s Sarah Henry for the win, tying things up. MacLean then came back in the very next women’s event to help Georgia secure a 1-2 sweep: Shannon Vreeland won the 200 free in 1:47.37 and MacLean got in just ahead of A&M’s Lili Ibanez to give Georgia a 9-point lead.
At that point, it was time for a four event run by A&M from its four studs of the night. First Paige Miller went 53.45 to crush the field in the 100 back. Then defending NCAA champ Breeja Larson beat out Georgia’s Melanie Margalis in the 100 breast. Larson was 59.51 while Margalis was 59.98.
Next, Cammile Adams went 1:57.59 to win the 200 fly over Bulldog Hali Flickinger, and finally Sammie Bosma won the 50 free, getting under 23 – she went 22.79 and Erica Dittmer followed her in for the 1-2 punch.
At this point, A&M had regrown its lead to 19 points, but it was time for Georgia’s All-American diver Laura Ryan to get involved in the action. The senior scored 366.52 to win the 3-meter board, followed by teammate Ann-Perry Blank.
Back in the racing pool, the 100 free set up a showdown between 200 free winner Shannon Vreeland of Georgia and 50 free winner Sammie Bosma of A&M. Ultimately, it was Bosma’s short speed that won out – she went 49.51 to Vreeland’s 50.41, and Erica Dittmer almost made it another 1-2 finish for the Aggies, going 50.43 for third.
Georgia continued to be strong in the middle-distance races, though. Melanie Margalis won the 200 back easily in 1:55.99 and Hali Flickinger took second to cut the A&M lead back to 10. But even with that distance advantage, no Bulldog was a match for American record-holder Breeja Larson in the 200 breast. Fresh off her appearance at Dual in the Pool, Larson went 2:09.66 to win by almost three seconds and put her Aggies on top by 19.
But Georgia continued to play catch-up, erasing most of that lead in one fell swoop by going 1-2-4 in the 500 free. Amber McDermott (4:45.09) and Brittany MacLean (4:46.54) both got in ahead of A&M’s Sarah Henry, a huge point swing with just 4 races remaining.
The Bulldogs kept the momentum going, winning the 100 fly with Lauren Harrington’s 54.40, but Texas A&M went 2-3-4 to keep the point spread manageable.
That led into 1-meter diving, where Laura Ryan once again fanned the flames for Georgia’s comeback, scoring 308.71 to win easily. Suddenly, Georgia trailed by just 4 points with two 400-yard races left in a meet in which they had dominated the longer distances.
Melanie Margalis came back for a big win in the 400 IM, going 4:10.47 to easily outlast Cammile Adams (4:15.73). Third and fourth place finished from the Bulldog depth (Annie Zhu and Hali Flickinger) and Georgia had its first lead of the night, 5 points with an event remaining.
The 400 free relay leadoff leg was a rematch of the 100 free. Both Sammie Bosma and Shannon Vreeland went faster now with all the chips on the table, but it was still Bosma who came in first, 49.39 to 49.64. Erica Dittmer continued to expand the lead for the Aggies, although in the third leg Olivia Smoliga was able to make up about a half-second on Meredith Oliver. But Lili Ibanez closed the door on the anchor leg, winning the event with a relay time of 3:17.89. Georgia was second in 3:18.74.
Then things came down to the third-place battle between the B relays with the final 2 points up for grabs. An A&M victory would give a 4 point win; if the Bulldogs touched first, they’d force a tie. The two anchors went into the water separated by only three-tenths and went almost identical first 50 splits. Amber McDermott had a slight Georgia lead, but Kelli Benjamin found some traction and was closing hard, and the two came to the finish shoulder-to-shoulder. Ultimately, McDermott held on to win by just .03, grabbing the final 2 points and ending the meet in a 150-150 tie.
On the men’s side, Georgia once again dominated every race 200 yards and above, losing only the 50 and 100 frees, 4×100 free relay and 1-meter and 3-meter dives to Texas A&M.
The Bulldogs won the 200 medley relay by about a second. The team of Taylor Dale, Nicolas Fink, Doug Reynolds and Michael Trice went 1:29.32, powered by Dale’s 22.6 and Fink’s 24.6. Kyle Troskot closed hard for the Aggies in 19.5, but was unable to overcome Georgia’s big lead.
The Bulldogs went 1-2-3 in the 1000 free, a devastating blow early in the meet. Andrew Gemmell (9:14.27) was the winner, followed by Garrett Powell (9:17.11) and Will Freeman (9:21.43).
Mathias Koski won the 200 free for Georgia, his first of two wins on the day. He went 1:38.29 to top A&M’s Paul-Marc Schweitzer’s 1:39.64.
Taylor Dale followed up his outstanding medley relay split with a win in the 100 back, going 48.92, and Nicolas Fink did the same in the breaststroke, going 55.88 to win. The Bulldog domination continued through the 200 fly, where Tynan Stewart took his first of two wins, going 1:48.34.
But then it was time for the sprints, the events that eluded Georgia all day. Kyle Troskot snuck under the 20-second barrier to win in 19.95 for A&M; his teammate Cory Bolleter was second in 20.49.
Ford McLiney made it two in a row for the Aggies, winning 1-meter diving with a score of 379.58, and Troskot returned after the diving break to go 44.37 for the 100 free win. That event was a 1-2-3 finish for the Aggies, with Henrik Lindau and Cory Bolleter taking 2nd and 3rd. That gave A&M a bit of life, but still left them staring down a 15-point deficit.
Georgia quickly got back on top in some 200 yard races, with Jared Markham going 1:48.27 in the 200 back and Nicolas Fink going 2:04.01 in the 200 breast, both wins in Georgia 1-2 finishes.
Then in the 500 free, the Bulldogs went 1-2-3 behind Mathias Koski‘s 4:27.19, Andrew Gemmell‘s 4:30.09 and Will Freeman‘s 4:31.85 to all but seal the deal with four events still to go.
Pace Clark added a touchout win in the 100 fly, topping A&M’s Henrik Lindau 49.16 to 49.24 to put Georgia over the 150 points needed to win.
McLiney Ford added his second win for A&M on the boards, scoring 390.93 on 3-meter in a 1-2-3 Aggies sweep.
Tynan Stewart won the 400 IM in 3:55.47 and Jared Markham was second for the Bulldogs.
Finally, the Aggies salvaged a moral victory at the end of the night, winning the 400 free relay by just .3. The team of Kaan Tuerker Ayar, Cory Bolleter, Kyle Troskot and Paul-Marc Schweitzer went 2:59.19 to beat Georgia’s 2:59.43.