The Georgia swimming and diving teams will entertain Tennessee on Saturday at Gabrielsen Natatorium. The meet will be televised by SEC Network +, with Jeff Dantzler handing play-by-play and former UGA All-Americans Michelle McKeehan Versfeld (swimming) and Todd Avery (diving) serving as analysts.
Saturday’s meet will begin at 10:30 a.m., with 1-meter diving, followed by the swimming events and the 3-meter springboard starting at noon. Admission to Gabrielsen Natatorium inside the Ramsey Center is free.
Georgia’s 17 seniors will be recognized in a pre-meet ceremony starting at 11:35 a.m. Olivia Ball, Chelsea Britt, Megan Kingsley, Anna McKenzie, Stephanie Peters, Meaghan Raab and Kylie Stewart are 35-1 with one NCAA championship and one SEC title during their four years as Lady Bulldogs. Gunnar Bentz, Powell Brooks, Ian Forlini, Patrick Humphreys, Joshua Kenway, Jay Litherland, Kevin Litherland, Mick Litherland, Basil Orr and John Wesley have helped the Bulldogs go 27-5 over the past four seasons.
“This is an amazing group of seniors, and I can’t say enough about them,” said Jack Bauerle, Georgia’s Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach.”Whenever Senior Day comes around, I can’t help but think back to when they first walked in and I’m always amazed at how fast the time has gone by. I’m going to miss this group. They have seen a lot and they have done a lot — in the pool, in the classroom and in the community. It’s a special group.”
The Lady Bulldogs enter Saturday’s meet 7-0 overall, including a 2-0 SEC mark, and ranked No. 6 in the TYR / CSCAA poll and No. 9 by CollegeSwimming.com. The Bulldogs are 6-1 and 1-1, with ratings of 11th by TYR / CSCAA and 14th by CollegeSwimming.com.
Tennessee’s women are No. 8 according to CollegeSwimming.com and No. 9 in the TYR / CSCAA poll. Tennessee’s men are No. 7 per CollegeSwimming.com and No. 12 in the TYR / CSCAA rankings.
“Tennessee, year in and year out, has a great program,” Bauerle said. “They always come prepared, and we’ve had some knock-down, drag-outs with them. This will be a hotly contested meet and a very close meet. We both have our strong areas, and it’s that middle ground that will make the difference. They have our athletes’ attention for sure. The biggest thing is we want to be better than we were a week ago, and I think we will.”
The Lady Bulldogs’ Courtney Harnish stands fourth nationally in the 500 freestyle. Raab is sixth in the 200 freestyle and 10th in the 200 individual medley, while Stewart ranks eighth and 10th in the 100 and 200 backstroke, respectively. Kingsley and Britt are Nos. 8 and 10, respectively, in the 200 butterfly and Veronica Burchill is 10th in the 100 butterfly. Raab (200 freestyle), Harnish (500 and 1,000 freestyle), Olivia Anderson (1,650 freestyle), Kingsley (200 butterfly) and Freida Lim (platform diving) are the SEC’s top performers in their events.
For the Bulldogs, Jay Litherland is No. 2 nationally in the 400 individual medley, while Camden Murphy is No. 8 in the 200 butterfly and Javier Acevedo is No. 10 in the 100 backstroke.
Bauerle is no stranger to Tennessee. He has guided Georgia in 66 dual meets against Tennessee — the most of any opponent — and has compiled a record of 44-21-1. Bauerle is 31-2-1 against the Lady Volunteers, which marks his most wins versus any foe. Bauerle is 559-127-3 in his illustrious career, including a 325-34-2 mark with the women and 234-93-1 with the men. He is the nation’s winningest active coach and stands third on the all-time list.
The Georgia women are 108-2 all-time inside Gabrielsen Natatorium starting with the first meet on Oct. 26, 1995. That record includes 103 consecutive wins, the NCAA standard for swimming and diving, between Nov. 8, 1995, and Jan. 14, 2017. The only losses came to Florida in the facility’s second meet and to Texas last season. Georgia has started a new streak at a modest 4-0.
The Lady Bulldogs are 22-0-1 in conference meets dating back to 2013 and they are 47-1 all-time against SEC opponents inside Gabrielsen Natatorium. Georgia was 0-1 against the SEC when it lost to Florida on Nov. 4, 1995, and has not dropped a conference dual at home since.