The Georgia women’s swimming and diving team extended its streak of dominance with six new medals and two school records on Thursday, the third day of the Southeastern Conference championships.
John Kelley/UGA Sports Communications
Chase Kalisz wins the Men's 400 Individual Medley during day three of the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships prelims held at the Gabrielsen Natatorium on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2014 in Athens, Ga.
The No. 3 Lady Bulldogs extended their first-place lead to 879 points. The Florida women’s team sits in second with a score of 642. The No. 10 Bulldogs maintained their third-place position with 588 points. Florida and Auburn hold the first two spots with 773.5 and 721.5 points, respectively.
“We thought it was a really important today to keep the pressure on,” senior associate head coach Harvey Humphries said. “We wanted to come in this morning and put ourselves in a position to keep everyone at bay. We didn’t have a lot of swimmers, but the ones that we did have we wanted in the finals. The kids did a great job of doing that.”
For the first time in Georgia history, the Lady Bulldogs finished one-two in the 3-meter diving. Laura Ryan took gold for the second consecutive year with a Georgia, SEC and Gabrielsen Natatorium record-breaking score of 413.75. That mark was a lifetime best for Ryan and made her the first woman to score over 400 points in an SEC meet. Ann-Perry Blank earned her second medal of the championship with a score of 363.80, also a lifetime best.
“Tonight was so much fun,” Ryan said. “To have both Ann-Perry [Blank] and I light it up is something that I will remember forever.”
Melanie Margalis continued her record-setting week in the 400 individual medley with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 3:59.85, breaking her previous Georgia record by almost six seconds. She finished second to Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel whose time of 3:59.26 set new SEC and Gabrielsen Natatorium records. Amber McDermott was fourth with a time of 4:07.09, Nicole Vernon clocked in at 4:07.85 to take fifth and Hali Flickinger secured the sixth spot in 4:07.91.
Lauren Harrington swam to a third-place time of 52.07 in the 100 butterfly, moving her to second all-time in the Georgia record books. Maddie Locus finished 18th with a time of 53.06 and Courtney Peters posted a time of 54.22 to finish 24th.
Shannon Vreeland won gold in the 200 freestyle and made SEC history with her A-cut time of 1:41.83. She also set a new Gabrielsen Natatorium record and broke her own mark by more than one second. Brittany MacLean also medaled for the Lady Bulldogs, posting an A-cut time of 1:43.88 in the event. Jordan Mattern finished fourth in 1:44.19, Olivia Boggs went 1:47.22 to claim the 13th spot and Anna Kolanowski finished 20th with a time of 1:47.87.
The Bulldogs remained in the hunt with a history-making swim by Chase Kalisz in the 400 individual medley. Kalisz swam a 3:36.89 to take gold, the third-fastest short-course yards time in the history of the sport. He broke his own school record and set new SEC and Gabrielsen Natatorium records.
“I feel pretty good,” Kalisz said. “I had my eyes set on the American record. I’m only a second off of it so I feel pretty good about it.”
Also in the 400 IM, Jared Markham touched the wall at 3:44.93 to place fifth. Andrew Gemmell won the consolation final and placed ninth overall with a time of 3:46.29. Derek Onken finished in the 14th spot, touching the wall at 3:50.43.
Doug Reynolds broke the Georgia record in the 100 butterfly with his second-place time of 45.90. Taylor Dale and Pace Clark also scored for the Bulldogs with times of 46.84 and 47.86, respectively.
Matias Koski closed the night for Georgia with a swim of 1:34.54 in the 200 freestyle to finish fifth. Will Freeman clocked in at 1:36.85 with a 14th-place finish, and Alec Cohen swam a 1:36.45 to place 21st in the event.