The Georgia Bulldogs started off the UGA Fall Invitational with leads as NCAA A cuts fell the first night of finals. The Georgia men topped the scoreboard with 275 points, just sneaking ahead of the Cal Golden Bears (269). The Auburn Tigers pulled in third for the night with 188 points. On the women’s side, the Lady Bulldogs took a commanding Day 1 lead with 277 points ahead of Virginia’s 230 and Cal’s 223.
The first four finishers of the Women’s 200 Free Relay swam under the NCAA Division I A cut. Cal’s A relay team led by Missy Franklin took first in 1:27.51, just three tenths of a second ahead of Georgia’s A team (1:27.83). Auburn’s A relay touched third (1:28.41), edging Virginia’s A relay by just one tenth of a second (1:28.54).
The Cal men followed up with another win for the Golden Bears (1:17.97) by just five one-hundredths of a second. Auburn’s A relay touched close behind in 1:18.02, and the Bulldog men claimed third in 1:18.93. Both Cal and Auburn’s teams took home A cuts.
Virginia’s Leah Smith took the first individual event win of the meet in the 500 Free (4:32.70) ahead of Cal’s Cierra Runge (4:34.81). Both girls took home NCAA automatic qualifying times, as well as third and fourth place Lady Bulldogs Amber McDermott (4:35.89) and Brittany MacLean (4:36.42). Georgia claimed a 3-4-5 sweep with Hali Flickinger touching fifth with a 4:39.01.
On the men’s side, Georgia completed a 1-2 sweep, with Matias Koski leading the pack with an NCAA A cut of 4:13.36 ahead of teammate Kevin Litherland (4:15.99). Cal’s Adam Hinshaw touched third in 4:18.74. Both Litherland‘s and Hinshaw‘s times were NCAA B cut worthy.
Cal teammates Elizabeth Pelton (1:52.93) and Missy Franklin (1:52.99) took the top two spots in the women’s 200 IM, with Pelton‘s time ranking as the fastest in the nation so far. Both girls claimed NCAA A cuts, and Virginia’s Casey Bartholomew followed up for third in another A cut of 1:55.27.
Bulldog Chase Kalisz led a 1-2-3 Georgia finish in the men’s 200 IM with a 1:43.10. His teammates Tynan Stewart (1:43.21) and Gunnar Bentz (1:43.48) took second and third, respectively. Cal took fourth and fifth with finishes from Josh Prenot (1:43.88) and Will Hamilton (1:44.58).
Georgia continued its winning streak with the Lady Bulldogs taking the top two spots in the 50 Free. Chantal Van Landeghem took home an NCAA A cut with a 21.88. Her teammate Madeline Locus touched close behind for second in 22.09, edging Cal’s Farida Osman by just one one-hundredth of a second (22.10).
“We’re pretty happy about today’s meet,” said Georgia’s Acting Head Coach Harvey Humphries in a statement to Georgia Athletics. “We were going over our stats from a year ago when we were swimming at this same meet at Auburn and we were pretty much faster in everything today. Our freshmen have been slowly but surely moving forward. Most of them had some real good breakout swims today so we’re real proud of them. They’re doing great.”
Cal’s Tyler Messerschmidt (19.46) edged Georgia’s Michael Trice by six one-hundredths of a second (19.52). Auburn teammates Kyle Darmody (19.49) and Arthur Mendes (19.75) completed a sweep of third and fourth place.
On the diving side of the competition, UCLA’s Maria Polyakova took a commanding win in the 3-meter with 361.60 points. The Virginia Tech pair of Kaylea Arnett (331.65) and Ashley Buchter (318.70) scored second and third, respectively.
JB Kolod took home the win for Virginia in the men’s 1-meter (370.80), edging Auburn’s Fraser McKean by just one point (369.40) for first. Georgia’s Ian Forlini was third with a score of 327.20 points.
To finish off the first finals session, the Virginia women’s A relay won the 400 Medley Relay in 3:27.84, easily under the NCAA A standard. The second-place Cal A team (3:31.25) and third-place Georgia A team (3:32.64) also claimed A cuts.
The Cal men’s A team touched first (3:05.90) with a commanding lead over the field, as well as an NCAA automatic time. Georgia’s A team took second (3:09.00), just hitting under the NCAA A mark and just touching ahead of the third-place Auburn relay (3:10.11).
Read the full results here.
After the first night of finals, the points stack up as follows:
1. University of Georgia – 277 points
2. University of Virginia (2013 – 2014) – 230 points
3. University of California Berkeley – 223 points
4. Auburn University – 108 points
5. Penn State University – 105 points
6. Florida State University – 60 points
7. Virginia Tech – 53 points
8. UCLA – 29 points
9. Harvard University – 21 points
1. University of Georgia – 275 points
2. University of California Berkeley – 269 points
3. Auburn University – 188 points
4. University of Virginia (2013 – 2014) – 139 points
5. Florida State University – 85 points
6. Penn State University – 82 points
7. Virginia Tech – 52 points
8. Harvard University – 10 points