MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Gunnar Bentz capped his illustrious career as a 20-time All-American and Javier Acevedo twice broke the 200-yard backstroke school record to highlight Georgia’s showing on Saturday in the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center.
The Bulldogs finished the four-day competition in 10th place with 129 points. Georgia finished in the top 10 for the sixth straight year and for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons. The top three teams consisted of Texas, California and Indiana.
“I could not be happier with the performance of our guys, not just today but all week,” said Jack Bauerle, Georgia’s Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach. “Being in the top 10 again is quite a feat and we’re proud to have accomplished that. This is not an easy meet. It’s fast and it’s taxing both physically and mentally. Our guys hung in there and gave us everything they had. They certainly emptied the tank. We saw some great performances during this meet.”
A senior making his final appearance for the Bulldogs, Bentz posted a time of 1:41.45 in the 200-yard butterfly on Saturday. His 20 All-America citations are just one shy of the school mark held by Robert Brewer. Bentz ended his career with school records in the 200-yard butterfly and 200-yard individual medley and on the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays and ranked in the top 10 in four additional individual events.
Acevedo, a sophomore, won the consolation final in 1:39.06 to claim ninth in the 200-yard backstroke. He eclipsed the Georgia record twice on Saturday, going 1:39.38 in prelims to break the 2017 mark of 1:40.03 shared by Taylor Dale and Jay Litherland and then he shattered his own standard a few hours later.
Junior James Guest finished eighth in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:53.75. During prelims, Guest went 1:53.10 to lower his own No. 3 time in school history.
Also during prelims, the 400-yard freestyle relay of Acevedo, Bentz, sophomore Walker Higgins and senior Litherland posted a time of 2:51.76, which ranks fifth in school history.
“Gunnar and Jay were our only seniors at this meet, and they really led us,” Bauerle said. “Gunnar, Jay and the rest of our seniors have meant so much to this program. They’ve been great ambassadors in the pool, in the classroom and in the community. We are fortunate that this class made its way to Athens.”
Highlights of the NCAAs will air on ESPNU on Wednesday, April 4, at 5 p.m.