Swimming & Diving: Men and Women Vying SEC Crowns

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Swimming & Diving: Men and Women Vying SEC Crowns

Meg Kingsley swims the 200 yard backstroke - Georgia vs. Emory – February 3, 2018
Meg Kingsley swims the 200 yard backstroke – Georgia vs. Emory – February 3, 2018

The Georgia swimming and diving teams will be seeking league titles as they compete in the Southeastern Conference Championships Wednesday through Sunday at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium on the Texas A&M campus in College Station, Texas.
The meet will begin Wednesday with diving prelims at 10:30 a.m. CST, followed by swimming and diving finals starting at 4:20 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, the swimming prelims will open at 10 a.m. CST, followed by diving prelims at 12:30 p.m. and all finals at 6 p.m.
The Wednesday through Saturday events will air on SEC Network + and the Sunday finals can be seen on the SEC Network. The Championships Central page can be found here.
The No. 6-ranked Lady Bulldogs (9-0, 3-0 SEC) have won the conference title 12 times overall, including six straight from 2010-15. The No. 9 Bulldogs (7-1-1, 1-1-1 SEC) have been second or third 36 times, including each of the last six seasons.
“Eight of the men’s teams and seven of the women’s teams are ranked in the top 25, so there’s no question it will be a high-level meet,” said Jack Bauerle, Georgia’s Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach. “This is the toughest conference meet in the country, no question about it. It will be grueling and taxing, but that’s what we have been training for. I have no doubt that our kids will give us everything they have. We may not be spectacular, but we’re in a really good place. We can score a lot of points in this meet. Every point is going to be critical, so it’s going to be important to get your hand on that wall just as fast as you can. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, there’s pride on the line whenever you have your SEC Championships.”
The Lady Bulldogs will send seniors Olivia Ball, Chelsea Britt, Megan Kingsley, Stephanie Peters, Meaghan Raab and Kylie Stewart; juniors Caitlin Casazza and Shauna Lee; sophomores McKensi Austin, Veronica Burchill, Lexi Glunn, Jordyn Gulle, Freida Lim, Meryn McCann, Sandra Scott and Jordan Stout; and freshmen Olivia Anderson, Donna Blaum, Sammie Burchill, Danielle Della Torre, Gabi Fa’amausili and Courtney Harnish.
The Bulldogs will be represented by seniors Gunnar Bentz, Powell Brooks, Ian Forlini, Jay Litherland, Kevin Litherland, Mick Litherland and Basil Orr; juniors Blake Atmore, Alex BeMiller, Aidan Burns, James Guest and Colin Monaghan; sophomores Javier Acevedo, Charlie Clifton, Clayton Forde and Walker Higgins; and freshmen Zachary Allen, Aaron Apel, Tal Davis, Camden Murphy, Greg Reed and Youssef Said.
Raab (200 freestyle), Harnish (500 freestyle), Anderson (1,650 freestyle), Kingsley (200 butterfly), Lim (platform diving), Guest (200 breaststroke) and Murphy (200 butterfly) head into the SECs with the conference’s top times this season. Raab, Harnish, Guest, Stewart (100 and 200 backstroke), Britt (200 butterfly), Acevedo (100 backstroke) and Jay Litherland (400 individual medley) have top-10 national times this year.
Georgia’s SEC Champions
Georgia can claim several past conference champions on its current rosters. Ball won the 3-meter springboard in 2015 and Jay Litherland claimed the 400 individual medley title in 2016. Raab, Britt, Lee and Veronica Burchill have been on victorious relays.
Worth Noting For Georgia
• The Lady Bulldogs went 9-0 this season, marking the program’s 15th undefeated regular season under Bauerle. The members of the Lady Bulldogs’ senior class went 37-1-1.

• The Lady Bulldogs are 23-0-1 in conference dual meets dating back to 2013 and they are 48-1, including 48 in a row, against SEC foes at Gabrielsen Natatorium.

• The Lady Bulldogs are 109-2 all-time inside their home arena, including an NCAA-record 103 straight from 1995-2017.

• With 16 wins this season (nine with the women and seven with the men), Bauerle now has 562 combined victories, which ranks first among active NCAA coaches, first all-time in the SEC, and second on the all-time list behind Boston College’s Tom Groden. Bauerle and Groden are the only coaches with 300 wins coaching women. Bauerle has 327 with the women and 235 with the men.

• Ten Georgia student-athletes earned 15 SEC weekly honors this season. Harnish was the Female Freshman of Week three times, Murphy and Reed were Male Freshman of the Week twice apiece, and Jay Litherland was the Male Swimmer of the Week twice. Stewart (Female Swimmer of the Week), Madison Duvall (Female Diver of the Week), Austin (Female Diver of the Week), Wallis (Female Freshman of the Week), Clifton (Male Diver of the Week) and Forlini (Male Diver of the Week) were honored once each.
Georgia, SEC In The Polls
The Lady Bulldogs stood at No. 6 in the CSCAA / TYR Top 25 released on Jan. 31. Other SEC schools in the poll were No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 9 Tennessee, No. 13 Kentucky, No. 15 Auburn, No. 17 Florida and No. 20 Missouri, with Alabama and Arkansas receiving votes.
On the men’s side, the Bulldogs were No. 9 in the poll. Florida checked in at No. 3, followed by No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 12 Tennessee, No. 13 Missouri, Nos. 16 Auburn and Alabama, and No. 23 South Carolina, with Kentucky receiving votes.

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.