The Georgia women’s swimming and diving team finished 1st, 2nd, and third sweeping the 100-yard freestyle at the 2017 SEC Championships. Olivia Smoliga was the first place winner in the 100 FREE for the Bulldogs followed by Chantal Van Landeghem and Veronica K Burchill. Both the Georgia men’s and women’s teams finished in second place overall at the conclusion of the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center on Saturday.
The five-day conference competition ended with Georgia boasting the most successful overall program and the most combined points. The Bulldogs wound up as the runner-up for just the fourth time in 33 seasons under Coach Jack Bauerle, while the Lady Bulldogs have been first or second under Bauerle 20 times in 37 years. The Bulldogs rolled up 985 points to finish behind Florida’s 1,271.5. The Lady Bulldogs scored 1,113 points, eclipsed only by Texas A&M’s 1304.
“We are proud of the performance our program had this week,” Bauerle said. “This was a difficult, rugged meet, and our kids showed up, stood up and competed hard all five days. Now that it’s over, we’re pleased that we can say both teams were relevant and were in the conversation. We’re tired, but we know we’ve got some left in the tank and I expect us to be good again at the NCAAs.”
Smoliga registered the eighth individual title of her career at the SECs as she reached the wall in 47.37. Earlier in the meet, she claimed the 100 backstroke for the third straight year. She also holds three wins in the 50 freestyle and now two in the 100 freestyle. In addition, Smoliga has been a part of eight winning SEC relays – including the 400 freestyle relay on Saturday.
“There’s so much excitement in this meet,” Smoliga said. “You battle so hard for your team and do everything you can to get points. To go 1-2-3 is pretty nice. It’s the icing on the cake.”
Chantal Van Landeghem came in second in 47.74, followed by Veronica Burchill in third in 47.99.
Smoliga, Burchill, Meaghan Raab and Van Landeghem claimed the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:12.19.
In the women’s 1,650 freestyle, Rachel Zilinskas finished third with a time of 16:10.72, followed by Stephanie Peters in 15th at 16:24.54 and Meg Finnon in 24th at 16:42.72.
Jay Litherland came in fifth in the men’s 200 backstroke, stopping the clock in 1:40.95. while Taylor Dale was 10th in 1:42.44 and Javier Acevedo was 13th in 1:42.94.
James Guest placed fifth in the men’s 200 breaststroke with a time of 1:54.52. Basil Orr came in 13th in 1:56.99, while Jackson Ford was 18th in 1:58.30 and John Mattern was 24th in 2:01.56.
The men’s 400 freestyle relay of Dale, Gunnar Bentz, Pace Clark and Acevedo finished fifth in 2:52.65.
In the women’s 200 breaststroke, Raab checked in seventh in 2:10.74, followed by Emily Cameron (2:11.22) in eighth and Lexi Glunn (2:13.57) in 20th.
Meryn McCann finished 11th in the women’s 200 backstroke with a time of 1:54.12. Katherine Parker placed 14th in 1:55.22.
Kevin Litherland paced the Bulldogs in the 1,650 freestyle as he reached the wall 13th in 15:05.51. Aidan Burns took 14th in 15:06.15, while Walker Higgins was 17th in 15:08.30 and Clayton Forde was 20th in 15:15.82.
Charlie Clifton took 22nd in men’s platform diving with 260.55 points.
A recap of the men’s championship will air on Monday, Feb. 27, at 4 p.m. on ESPNU, followed by the women’s championship recap at 5:30 p.m., also on ESPNU.
Georgia’s teams will return to action next Saturday and Sunday as they host the Bulldog Last Chance Meet. The Zone B Diving Championships will take place March 6-8 at Auburn. The NCAA Championships for the women will be March 15-18, followed by the men March 22-25, both in Indianapolis.
For the complete final results of the 2017 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, CLICK HERE.