COLLEGE STATION, Texas - While the Georgia men’s swimming and diving team was coasting to victory, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves in a top-5 shootout against Texas A&M on Friday at the Student Rec Center Natatorium.
The fourth-ranked Lady Bulldogs and the No. 2 Aggies wound up in a rare 150-150 tie. Georgia moved to 7-0-1 on the season and 3-0-1 in the SEC, while the Aggies went to 4-0-1 and 2-0-1. That is just the second tie in the history of Georgia’s program, which dates back to 1973. The 1982 Georgia-Tennessee meet finished 74-74.
The No. 10 Bulldogs improved to 7-1 and 3-1, while the Aggies fell to 1-2 and 0-2 as Georgia rolled up a 173-127 decision.
The women’s meet came down to the final race: the 400 freestyle relay. Texas A&M won in 3:17.89 and Georgia was second in 3:18.74, giving the Aggies a 150-148 edge. The Lady Bulldogs’ B relay of Jessica Graber, Lauren Harrington, Jordan Mattern and Amber McDermott got home in 3:22.67 for a three-100ths of a second edge over A&M and the final critical two points of the meet.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed by as much as 19 points three times on Friday. But they scratched back with wins in four straight events: McDermott in the 500 freestyle, Harrington in the 100 butterfly, Laura Ryan on the 1-meter springboard and Melanie Margalis in the 400 individual medley, setting the stage for the relay fireworks.
Margalis and Ryan each won twice for the Lady Bulldogs. Margalis took the 200 backstroke with a season-best time of 1:55.99 and went 4:10.47 in the 400 individual medley, winning by more than five seconds. Ryan claimed both springboard titles, taking the 1-meter with 308.71 points and the 3-meter with 366.52 points.
The 200 freestyle title went to Shannon Vreeland, who reached the wall in 1:47.37 McDermott posted a time of 4:45.09 to win the 500 freestyle. Brittany MacLean paced the field in the 1,000 freestyle, stopping the clock in a season-best 9:40.18. Harrington touched in 54.40 to claim a victory in the 100 butterfly.
Nicolas Fink, Matias Koski and Ty Stewart all won three events for the Bulldogs. Fink swept the breaststroke races in 55.88 and 2:04.01, respectively. Koski took the 200 freestyle in 1:38.29 and led a 1-2-3 effort by the Bulldogs in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:27.19. Stewart won the 200 butterfly in 1:48.34 and the 400 individual medley in 3:55.47.
Andrew Gemmell claimed the 1,000 freestyle in 9:14.27 to spark a 1-2-3 finish by the Bulldogs. Taylor Dale touched first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 48.92. Jared Markham won the 200 backstroke in 1:48.27. Pace Clark took the 100 butterfly in 49.16. The 200 medley relay of Dale, Fink, Doug Reynolds and Michael Trice won with a time of 1:29.32.
“What a memorable meet that was,” said Harvey Humphries, Georgia’s Senior Associate Head Coach. “I’m just so proud of our kids for the maturity they showed. No one ever let up and they raced hard all the way through. This was a meet of character. Everyone gave it all they had.”
Georgia will continue its tour of the Lone Star State by visiting Texas on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center will serve as the host venue for the women’s NCAA Championships in March.