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Riley Scruggs is the latest edition to the Bulldogs’ Class of 2023 roster, joining Zach Hils, Ian Grum, Dillon Downing, Harry Homans, Charlie Logan and Thomas Strother. Grum, Downing, and Logan are all local pick-ups, while Downing is also on Scruggs’ club team, SwimAtlanta (SWAT). SWAT announced Scruggs’ commitment via their Instagram account:
Scruggs attends The Heritage School in Newnan, Georgia. He is a 10-time individual state champion and broke the GISA (Georgia Independent School Association) state record in the 50-yard free at this past year’s meet (20.97), which was previously held by Tennessee All-American Jeff Elder since 1996. Scruggs is a bit of a late-bloomer, dropping more than 2 seconds in both his 100 free and 100 breast in the last year. A comparison of his best times in his four best events over the past 2 years demonstrates his recent surge:
Georgia is rebuilding both their sprint and breaststroke corps, and Scruggs should be able to contribute to both deficits. At the 2019 SEC Champs, the Bulldogs finished an abysmal 10th in the 200 free relay without a single swimmer under 19.5 seconds. The silver lining is that relay contained 3 underclassmen and did not utilize their best sprinter, Javier Acevedo. With the addition of Downing (19.68 – 50 FR/43.63 – 100 FR) and perhaps only moderate improvement from Scruggs, the Bulldogs should have the firepower needed to claim some desperately needed relay points and reestablish themselves as one of the top three teams in the conference. In terms of breaststroke, the Bulldogs are losing their A-relay star James Guest to graduation, but have two more years with Jack Dalmolin (52.92 100 BR, 1:54.21 200 BR) and four years with incoming freshman Thomas Strother (54.78 – 100 BR). How much the Bulldogs rely on Scruggs for relays may depend on how do-it-all recruit Zach Hils develops (20.50 – 50 FR/ 44.75 – 100 FR/ 56.24 – 100 BR).
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