ATHENS, Ga. — Armed with 13 swimmers and three divers, the Georgia Lady Bulldogs will compete this week in Columbus, Ohio, in the NCAA Championships and will be aiming for their eighth national title.
The NCAAs will take place Wednesday through Saturday at the Bill and Mae McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on the Ohio State campus. The meet will begin Wednesday at 6 p.m. with the 800 freestyle relay finals. Prelims for Thursday and Saturday will be at 10 a.m., followed by finals at 6 p.m. The Friday schedule will be 9 am. (prelims) and 5 p.m. (finals).
The Lady Bulldogs have won seven NCAA titles, including 2013, 2014 and 2016 crowns, and have been the national runner-up eight times. In the last 18 seasons, Georgia has been first or second at the NCAAs 15 times. The Lady Bulldogs placed fourth last year.
Georgia will use a lineup of seniors Olivia Ball, Chelsea Britt, Megan Kingsley, Stephanie Peters, Meaghan Raab and Kylie Stewart; junior Caitlin Casazza; sophomores McKensi Austin, Veronica Burchill, Freida Lim, Meryn McCann and Jordan Stout; and freshmen Olivia Anderson, Gabi Fa’amausili, Courtney Harnish and Maddie Wallis.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to compete for another national championship,” said Jack Bauerle, Georgia’s Tom Cousins Swimming and Diving Head Coach. “This is a challenging meet and we all know that going in. We have prepared our team for this and they know what to expect. We’ve seen scoring projections that don’t have us very high and that’s fine. We know our team will exceed expectations and give us everything they’ve got. That’s the mark of a great team — finishing a meet and knowing you emptied the tank.”
On The Air
ESPNU will broadcast the championship finals session Friday at 5 p.m. The finals session on Saturday will be streamed by ESPN3 at 6 p.m. All sessions not broadcast by either ESPNU or ESPN3 will be streamed on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. A highlights show will be broadcast on ESPNU Sunday, March 25, at 4 p.m.
Georgia At The NCAAs
Since the inception of the NCAAs in 1982 for women’s swimming and diving, the Lady Bulldogs have won seven national titles: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2013, 2014 and 2016. Only Stanford (nine) has more championships, while Texas has matched Georgia with seven.
Georgia boasts two past NCAA champions at this year’s meet. Kylie Stewart and Meaghan Raab were on the victorious 800 freestyle relay in 2016. All-time, the Lady Bulldogs have accumulated 77 NCAA titles (52 individuals and 25 relays). Georgia has had at least one male or female individual or relay win an NCAA title each year starting with 1995.
Lady Bulldogs Second At SECs
The Lady Bulldogs came in second at the SEC Championships in College Station, Texas. Courtney Harnish won the 1,650 freestyle and placed second in the 500 freestyle. Other medalists for the Lady Bulldogs included Meaghan Raab in the 200 freestyle, Megan Kingsley in the 200 butterfly, Veronica Burchill in the 100 freestyle and Olivia Anderson in the 1,650 freestyle. The second-place 800 freestyle relay of Burchill, Harnish, Jordan Stout and Raab and the third-place 400 freestyle relay of Burchill, Kylie Stewart, Gabi Fa’amausili and Raab also earned medals.
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 weehonors this season. Courtney Harnish was the Female Freshman of Week three times, Camden Murphy and Greg 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), McKensi Austin (Female Diver of the Week), Maddie Wallis (Female Freshman of the Week), Charlie Clifton (Male Diver of the Week) and Ian Forlini (Male Diver of the Week) were honored once each.
• Megan Kingsley and Gunnar Bentz are Georgia’s representatives on the SEC’s Community Service Team.
Georgia In The Polls
The Lady Bulldogs stood at No. 6 in the final CSCAA / TYR Top 25 of the season. The Lady Bulldogs trailed No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 California, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Texas and No. 5 Michigan. No. 7 Virginia, No. 8 Southern Cal, No. 9 Indiana and No. 10 Tennessee made up the rest of the top 10.
On the men’s side, the Bulldogs were No. 10 in the poll behind No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 California, No. 3 Indiana, No. 4 Florida, No. 5 North Carolina State, No. 6 Texas, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 Arizona State and No. 9 Southern Cal.