COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Courtney Harnish recorded an individual victory and the Georgia women placed second as the Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships concluded Sunday at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium on the Texas A&M campus.
After five days of competition, the Lady Bulldogs wound up with 1,030 points, trailing only the 1,319 posted by Texas A&M and leading Tennessee’s 950.5. The Lady Bulldogs now have placed second nine times.
In the men’s meet, the Bulldogs came in third with 975.5 points. Florida took the team title with 1,237, followed by Texas A&M with 994. The Bulldogs have been third 19 times.
“I am extremely proud of our athletes,” said Jack Bauerle, Georgia’s Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach. “We put great demands on them with the training this year and the schedule this week and they responded positively. We saw a lot of great things during this meet. It’s never perfect, especially over the course of five days, but we’ll clean things up and get ready for the next championships.”
Harnish, a freshman from York, Pa., won the 1,650-yard freestyle title with a time of 15:57.68, swimming past Florida’s Taylor Ault, who stopped the clock in 16:03.36. Harnish’s time ranks sixth in Georgia history. The Lady Bulldogs now have won the SEC title in the 1,650 freestyle 11 times, including four by Wendy Trott from 2009-12 and two each by Julie Varozza (1997-98) and Brittany MacLean (2014, 2016).
“I tried to hold my own in the beginning and swim my own race,” Harnish said. “I did not want to go out too fast, so I went for the easy speed in the beginning and then just brought it home. That is my first time under 16. That was a goal of mine coming in, so when I saw that, I was really happy. I was nervous coming in (as a freshman at Georgia), but my coaches and teammates push me everyday and I just love it. Going to practice, they make it better. It’s a totally different atmosphere than club and I’m really enjoying it.”
Olivia Anderson posted a third-place finish for the Lady Bulldogs with a time of 16:07.73. Stephanie Peters came in 13th in 16:31.41, followed by Jordan Stout in 14th in 16:31.96 and Sandra Scott in 20th in 16:37.66.
Veronica Burchill was the second-place finisher in the women’s 100 freestyle as she stopped the clock at 47.66, trailing only the 47.17 of Tennessee’s Erika Brown. Burchill’s time is No. 8 on Georgia’s all-time list. Gabi Fa’amausili placed 13th with a time of 49.07.
In the women’s 200 backstroke, Kylie Stewart placed fourth in 1:52.07 and Meryn McCann claimed 21st in 1:55.88.
Freida Lim scored 285.30 points to finish fourth in women’s platform diving. McKensi Austin placed 15th with 232.00 points and Olivia Ball came in 24th with 137.90 points.
Jordyn Gulle came in 15th in the women’s 200 breaststroke as she touched in 2:11.70. Meaghan Raab won the C final for 17th with a time of 2:10.70. Lexi Glunn took 20th in 2:13.21.
The 400 freestyle relay of Burchill, Stewart, Fa’amausili and Raab stopped the clock in 3:14.17 to come in third.
Javier Acevedo was the runner-up in the men’s 200 backstroke. His time of 1:40.11 was trumped only by the 1:39.42 of Alabama’s Christopher Reed. Jay Litherland was fifth in 1:41.64 and Youssef Said was 12th in 1:42.64. Acevedo, who won the 100 backstroke on Saturday, moved to No. 3 on Georgia’s all-time list.
James Guest finished fifth in the 200 breaststroke as he reached the wall in 1:54.05. Basil Orr placed 15th in 1:56.11.
In the men’s 1,650 freestyle, Aidan Burns led the way with a ninth-place finish in 14:54.10. Walker Higgins reached the wall in 14:56.00 for 12th and was followed by Greg Reed in 13th (14:56.20), Tal Davis in 15th (15:01.79), Aaron Apel in 19th (15:14.15) and Kevin Litherland in 22nd (15:19.69). Burns is now No. 8 in the Georgia record book, while Higgins is No. 9 and Reed is No. 10.
Alex BeMiller came in 24th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 44.62.
The 400 freestyle relay of Acevedo, Murphy, Jay Litherland and Gunnar Bentz placed seventh in 2:53.80.
Georgia will return to action Saturday and Sunday as it hosts the Bulldog Last Chance Meet at Gabrielsen Natatorium.