Preview: Cal, Michigan, Georgia & Virginia To Clash At UGA Fall Invite

2018 Georgia Fall Invitational


  • Cal (M/W)
  • Georgia (M/W)
  • Virginia (M/W)
  • Michigan (M/W)
  • UCLA (W only)

Some of the top programs in the country will collide this weekend at the Georgia Fall Invitational in Athens, with the Michigan women and California men looking to defend their titles from last season. In addition to those two teams, the meet will also feature hosts Georgia, along with Virginia and the UCLA women.

The Wolverines bring in a strong women’s team that features senior Siobhan Haughey and freshman Maggie MacNeil, both of whom own the fastest time in an event in the country so far this season. Haughey ranks 1st in the 200 free, and MacNeil has the top time in the 100 fly. Catie Deloof (sprint free), Rose Bi (distance free), and Vanessa Krause (fly) have also put up fast times this year after competing at the ACC/B1G Challenge a few weeks ago.

Neither Cal or Georgia have had a rested meet like the Michigan and UVA swimmers who swam at the College Challenge have, so it will be intriguing to see how rested some of their big guns are as they aim for NCAA qualifying times.

The Cal women were somewhat underwhelming as a whole last season at this meet placing 3rd, but bring in a loaded team that includes Abbey WeitzeilKatie McLaughlinAmy BilquistSarah Darcel and freshman Cassidy Bayer. The Bulldogs aren’t as strong as they’ve been in years past, but still have the likes of Veronica BurchillCourtney HarnishDakota Luther and Olivia Carter who will be in the hunt to win their respective events.

The UVA women may be flying under the radar a bit here, but have a strong up-and-coming squad headlined by freestylers Morgan HillMegan Moroney and Paige Madden. They’ve performed well so far this season and project to be right in the thick of things in the team race.

On the men’s side, Cal is stacked with a ton of versatility and high-end talent. Andrew Seliskar is arguably the best all-around swimmer in the NCAA and can be competitive in any number of events. We’ll see what he opts to swim here, but last season he did exactly what he ended up doing at NCAAs (200 breast, 200/400 IM).

They’ve got a deep sprint group that includes Michael JensenRyan Hoffer and Paweł Sendyk, backstrokers Daniel Carr and Bryce Mefford, stud freshman breaststroker Reece Whitley, and 200 fly specialists Trenton Julian and Mike Thomas. Zheng Quah is another well-rounded talent who has proven to be among the best in the nation in the fly events and is also strong on his back.

The Michigan men aren’t quite as deep, but do have one of the nation’s best distance freestyle groups led by Felix AuboeckRicardo Vargas and Patrick Callan. Auboeck currently leads the nation in the 500 free, and Vargas has the fastest time in the 1000 (which isn’t contested at the invites). Other notable names for them include Charlie SwansonJacob Montague and Tommy Cope.

Georgia also has a couple distance guys who have been fast early this season in Andrew Abruzzo and Greg Reed, and we’ll have to see whether or not backstroker Javier Acevedo will be competing after breaking his foot at the beginning of the season.

The Virginia men will also be in the mix and have some fast swims on record this season, with the likes of breaststroker Keefer Barnum, distance swimmer Brendan Casey, flyer Zach Fong and IMer Ted Schubert all performing well at the College Challenge. So far this season they’ve proven to have more depth than Georgia and could realistically challenge Michigan.

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1 year ago

I think SEC channel on espn app is streaming the meet…at least finals!

Hoosier Eli
1 year ago

Auboeck, Vargas, Callan, Abruzzo, Reed, Norman, Casey – that is a loaded distance field!

Reply to  Hoosier Eli
1 year ago

Plus Walker Higgins who scored at NCs last year with 4:14. Can’t wait to see these guys race

Reply to  Hoosier Eli
1 year ago

Can’t believe you’re not even mentioning Will Roberts

1 year ago

Oh yeah I’m sure the Virginia men won’t be able to compete

Reply to  Boogaloo
1 year ago

Here we go Hoos.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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