The Georgia women were the undeniable favorites in the 800 free relay at this week’s SEC Championship meet, but I don’t think what they did in this final was really fathomable at this stage of the season. The Bulldog quartet of Shannon Vreeland, Megan Romano, Jordan Mattern, and Allison Schmitt swam a 6:52.64 for a new SEC American, U.S. Open, and NCAA Record in the 800 free relay; in a word, the fastest 800 yard free relay ever swum.
The old records belonged to:
NCAA/U.S. Open: Cal, 6:52.69, 2009
American: Georgia, 6:53.58, 2011
That Cal relay was made up of Sara Isakovic, Hannah Wilson, Liv Jensen, and Dana Vollmer, and it was done in polyurethane. That’s an unbelievable foursome to take down the record of, and Georgia did it with flare. They averaged a 1:43.16 – that’s an NCAA A-cut and #2 time in the country, on average. This relay is stacked, and nobody will touch them at NCAA’s – even if they are a bit slower, like they were in 2011 when they last set the American Record.
That relay has two U.S. Olympians on either end, plus Romano (the fastest 200 yard freestyler in history) in the middle. I don’t know that anybody in college history has ever amassed a group of women’s freestyle talent like this Georgia foursome has. What’s even scarier is that there’s still a lot of meat on the bone here. We know for a fact that Romano and Schmitt can be faster than their splits, as they’ve both done so; one would guess that Vreeland and Mattern could be too.
Shannon Vreeland 1:43.38
Megan Romano 1:42.43
Jordan Mattern 1:44.32
Allison Schmitt 1:42.51