The Georgia women’s swimming and diving team ascended to the No. 1 ranking on Thursday, one day before renewing an instate rival.
The College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association released its new women’s rankings on Thursday and the Lady Bulldogs (5-0 overall, 3-0 SEC) held down the top spot. Georgia was No. 2 behind Southern Cal in the initial poll of the season, but it jumped up to No. 1 after a convincing win over then-No. 3 (and now No. 11) Florida in Athens.
Georgia will put its new ranking on the line Friday at 4 p.m. in Atlanta as the Lady Bulldogs face Georgia Tech and Savannah College of Art and Design. The No. 4 Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0) will be in action as well against the 15th-ranked Jackets and the NAIA power Bees.
“The win over Florida was a satisfying one and the No. 1 ranking is something to be proud of to be sure,” said Harvey Humphries, Georgia’s Acting Head Coach. “But all of our focus is on this meet and these opponents. This is another chance for us to get better by racing, and we don’t want to miss out on that. We’ll worry about rankings and records at the end of the year. Right now, it’s all about competing and working toward our goals.”
The Lady Bulldogs are led by Amber McDermott, who owns the nation’s fastest time in the 1,000 freestyle and is No. 3 in the 500 freestyle and No. 5 in the 400 individual medley. Maddie Locus (50 freestyle), Chantal Van Landeghem (50 freestyle), Brittany MacLean (500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle), Kylie Stewart (100 and 200 backstroke), Hali Flickinger (200 backstroke, 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley) and Annie Zhu (400 individual medley) also have top-10 times nationally.
For the Bulldogs, Nicolas Fink is No. 1 in the country in the 200 breaststroke and Chase Kalisz tops the field in the 200 butterfly. Kalisz (200 breaststroke, 200 and 400 individual medley) and Fink (100 breaststroke) have additional top-10 times, while Matias Koski (200 and 500 freestyle), Kevin Litherland (1,000 and 1,650 freestyle), Taylor Dale (100 backstroke), Ty Stewart (200 backstroke and 100 butterfly), Mick Litherland (200 butterfly), Pace Clark (200 butterfly), Gunnar Bentz (200 and 400 individual medley) and Jay Litherland (400 individual medley) also are among the country’s leaders.
Georgia Tech’s teams are coached by Courtney Shealy Hart, who was a 5-time NCAA and 19-time SEC champion for Georgia from 1997-2000. She helped Georgia win its first NCAA titles in 1999 and 2000.
Georgia will return home Dec. 5-7 to host the UGA Fall Invitational.
College Swimming News courtesy of Georgia swimming and diving.