A half of Georgia’s pool program scored a national championship last week.
This week, the Georgia’s swimming and diving men’s team will use the momentum of the Lady Bulldogs’ winning a title as motivation for their own run.
“We’re feeling good,” Georgia junior Andrew Gemmell said. “Our women’s team performed fantastically last week and that was really exciting to watch. We’re pretty intertwined as far as teams go. We do everything together. We do a lot of the same things and we’re under the same coaching staff so seeing them succeed is a big confidence boost for us.”
Georgia will begin the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships on Thursday at the Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The meet will conclude on Saturday. Last week Georgia’s women won the NCAA national championships also in the IUPUI pool in Indianapolis.
“We’re feeling really good going in,” Georgia sophomore Nic Fink said. “Just seeing what the girls were able to do last week will surely give us a little bit of energy and a little bit of momentum going into this week. It’s definitely motivation. We’ve got a women’s team that’s really good and we’re really proud of how they did. We’re hoping to have as much success as they did.
“I think it’s really important that since they had such a good meet, we need to have a good meet too. Everybody’s pretty excited.”
Georgia finished the regular season ranked 11th in the nation and will send 15 swimmers to the NCAA championships. Georgia will look to improve on it’s 11th-place finish last year.
“We’re a much better team than last year, I just hope it comes out in the wash,” Georgia coach Jack Bauerle said. “The top eight or nine teams are almost impenetrable but we are certainly a better team than we’ve had the last two or three years actually. The last two year’s we’ve had the (SEC) freshman of the year (Fink and Chase Kalisz). This year’s freshman class is arguably with Cal-Berkley as the best one in the country. They’ve worked well this year and it’s a terrific group of guys. It’s truly one of my favorite teams to coach that I’ve ever had.”
Georgia comes off of a third-place finish at the Southeastern Conference Championships and closed the point gap with Florida and Auburn.
“We had some guys who had some great swims at SECs,” Fink said. “It’s really hard to make the NCAAs and we’re going to have one of the largest teams there (11 qualifiers, four relay alternates). We had a really great finish at SECs. Everybody’s swimming so well that we’re looking forward for it.”
Georgia will return a two-event NCAA champion from last year. Martin Grodski turned the distance double in 2012 as he won the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650 freestyle). He will get a push from teammate Matias Koski, who won the SEC 500 freestyle title last month. Fink won the 100 breaststroke last month at SECs.
“Conference was good for us,” Gemmell said. “We’re a very, very young team. We’ve got a whole lot of freshmen and a lot of sophomores. So to do well in a high-pressure, high-stakes atmosphere was good. NCAAs is about as high-pressure as it gets for collegians. I think we’re ready to perform well here. Everything is coming together.”