Florida Women Swim Best 200 Free Relay Since 2014 at Georgia Tech Invitational

2019 Georgia Tech Invite

  • November 22nd-24th, 2019
  • McAuley Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia (Georgia Tech)
  • 25 yards, SCY, Prelims/Finals format
  • Live Results

Florida sophomore Leah Braswell swam the 2nd-best time of her career in the 500 free on Friday night to kick off the 2019 Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta.

Braswell’s time of 4:37.25 made her the only swimmer sub-4:40 in the race. That time would have been the nation-leader coming into the weekend, though a handful of swimmers were faster at other invites that kicked off a day earlier on Thursday evening.

Braswell swam a 4:37.8 mid-season last year at this meet, dropped a second off that time at SECs, but added about 5 seconds at NCAAs.

The Florida women opened up the session with 3 event victories, including an NCAA Automatic Qualifying Time in the 200 free relay. The group of Isabella Garofalo (22.45), Emma Ball (22.05), Sherridon Dressel (21.98), and freshman Talia Bates (21.88) combined to stop the clock in 1:28.36. While that put them only a tenth of a second ahead of North Carolina’s runner-up relay (1:28.46), that’s a crucial tenth as it put the Gators under the NCAA Invite time standard. That means that Florida now only needs Provisional Qualifying Times in the other 4 relays to earn an NCAA invite.

That swim was Florida’s best time in the 200 free relay since the 2014 NCAA Championships, and the Gators have never been this fast in the 200 free relay in-season.

The fastest splits in the women’s relay came from Alabama senior Allie Surrency (21.78) and North Carolina sophomore Grace Countie (21.80).

On the men’s side, the Florida State Seminoles also punched an NCAA Championship ticket with an “A” cut in the 200 free relay. The group of Peter VarjasiKuba KsiazekGriffin Alaniz, and Max McCusker combined for a 1:16.98, sliding .19 seconds under the automatic invite time for the NCAA Championships. Florida State graduated 3 of the 4 legs from their 200 free relay that finished 5th at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, but have reloaded. Varjasi is a freshman, Ksiazek is the lone returning member as a sophomore, McCusker is also a sophomore, and Griffin, who led the relay with an 18.89 split, is the lone senior of the group.

The Utah men finished 2nd in 1:18.27, while Alabama took 3rd in 1:18.33. Alabama’s Zane Waddell, the defending World Champion in the 50 back in long course, had the fastest split of the field in 18.88.

Alabama finished the session with a win in the men’s 400 medley relay. Waddell led the team off in 45.46, followed by freshman Liam Bell (53.24), junior Tyler Sesvold (46.19), and sophomore Jonathan Berneburg (42.62).

Individually, Waddell also won the 50 free in 19.20. He beat out a trio of Florida State Seminoles that went 2-3-4 in the race: Ksiazek (19.30), Varjasi (19.54), and McCusker (19.72). Utah’s Deryk Cooper tied with McCusker for 4th place. Allianz, who was Florida State’s fastest swimmer on the relay, was just 7th in the individual event in 19.81.

Other Day 1 Results:

  • Florida State freshman Aziz Ghaffari won the men’s 500 free in 4:18.38, just out-touching North Carolina’s Dimitrios Dimitriou, who was 2nd in 4:18.45. The two traded leads throughout the race, and were essentially in a dead-heat for the last 400 yards of the race, but Ghaffari got the edge at the touch.
  • Florida’s Kelly Fertel won the women’s 200 IM by almost 2 seconds, touching first in 1:56.29. Sophomore Vanessa Pearl, who won this event at last year’s 200 IM, didn’t race at all on the first day of the meet.
  • Georgia Tech’s Caio Pumputis won the men’s 200 IM in 1:44.40. Mark Osina from East Carolina finished 2nd in 1:46.14, which was within 2-tenths of his best time from last year’s AAC Conference Championship meet.
  • The North Carolina women went 1-2 in the women’s 50 free, led by sophomore Grace Countie (22.13) and followed by junior Emma Cole (22.21). For Countie, the swim shaves .02 seconds off her previous lifetime best that was set at last year’s ACC Championship meet. For Cole, that’s a new lifetime best after placing just 56th at this meet last season. In fact, she didn’t go under 23 seconds all of last year. UNC has a new head coach, Mark Gangloff, this season, and so far that change is paying off at least for the Tar Heel women’s sprint group.
  • The UNC women, including Countie on the leadoff (51.59), Allie Reiter on breaststroke (59.99), Cole on butterfly (52.21), and Caroline Hauder on the freestyle leg (48.32) won the 400 medley relay in a time of 3:32.11. The front-half made the difference for UNC, and though the Gators reeled them back in late, UNC’s lead was enough by then to hold on for the win. That result is the Tar Heels’ best time in that relay since the 2017 NCAA Championships, and all 4 swimmers are scheduled to return next season.
  • Other significant splits in that relay include a 51.49 butterfly leg from Florida State sophomore Aryanna Fernandes, a 51.76 season-best backstroke leadoff from Florida’s Sherridon Dressel, and a 59.49 breaststroke split from Slorida State sophomore Nina Kucheran.
  • Virginia’s Sydney Dusel won the women’s 1-meter diving event with a score of 298.20. The Virginia swimmers are racing at the Tennessee Invitational, but the Cavaliers sent their divers to Georgia Tech instead.
  • South Carolina’s Anton Down-Jenkins won the men’s 3-meter diving event with a score of 433.15, beating the field by almost 70 points.

Team Scores After Day 1:


  1. Florida – 392
  2. North Carolina – 332
  3. Alabama – 273
  4. Georgia Tech – 138
  5. Florida State – 128
  6. East Carolina – 126
  7. South Carolina – 107
  8. Utah – 87
  9. Georgia Southern – 68
  10. Virginia (diving only) – 29


  1. Florida State – 291.5
  2. Georgia Tech – 257
  3. Utah – 244.5
  4. North Carolina – 216
  5. Alabama – 206
  6. Florida – 164
  7. (TIE) South Carolina/East Carolina – 112
  8. Virginia (diving only) – 43




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4 years ago

It looks like a few UF studs aren’t competing at GT. Going to US open maybe?!?

4 years ago

My boi Griffin was only 0.01 away from the fastest split. He’s always been clutch at relays, and my senior year he demolished some dude at states and split a 45.0 to win. Good memories

Swim Nerd
4 years ago

Sherridon Dressel’s best time is no 51.76. It’s 50.93 done at last years SEC. That time she swam is her current season best however.

4 years ago

What’s up with Florida distance men at this meet (possibly other groups as I did not look further)? Don’t see Gravley, Finke or Freeman. Florida’s news preview sheds no light on this not being a full meet.

Swim Nerd
Reply to  kdswim
4 years ago

They are going to compete at US Open

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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