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Georgia Women, FSU Men Lead After day One of Bulldog Invite -- December 7, 2002

ATHENS, GA. December 6. COACH Jack Bauerle's Lady Bulldogs chewed up their opposition this evening to stand in first place, along with Florida State Seminoles' men's team after the first day of competition at the 2002 Georgia Invitational in the
'Dawgs' Gabrielsen Natatorium here.

Georgia's women scored 348.50 points to runner-up Florida State's 296.50. The 'Nole men have collected 330 points to Georgia's second place 276.

The Lady 'Dawgs got a pair of individual wins to one each for Florida State and Alabama, but the 'Noles won both the 200 free and 400 medley relays. Florida State's victories came in the opening 200 free relay (1:32.15 to Georgia's 1:32.23) and the 200 IM, where the Tallahassee lassies swept the top two spots.

Junior Emma Dutton, who also led off the 200 free relay, went a pr and NCAA "B" cut 2:01.71 for the win, and junior teammate Andree Anne Leroy went a pr 2:01.90 for second. Third was 'Dawg rookie Tricia Harm (2:02.0).

Georgia's wins came in the 500 free, where junior Rebecca Rose came home first in 4:49.38, followed by FSU's Loren Hansen (4:50.18) and UGA froshwoman woman Laura Conway (4:50.28) with 'Dawg Debbie James winning the consolation final with a 4:55.87.

Then in the 50 free, the Bulldogs' defending NCAA champ and American/collegiate record-holder, Maritza Correia, led a one-two sweep, blasting to a nation-leading 22.34 win, a full second faster than teammate Paige Kearns 23.34 in second.

Correia's record from last spring's NCAAs at Texas is 21.69. She'll not only be trying to better that mark this season but also get back her 100 free record too, which was "stolen" by Cal's Natalie Coughlin -- who set an American/NCAA record in the 200 free at Auburn tonight -- when she led off the Golden Bears' 400 free relay team at NCAAs in 47.47.

That swim surpassed Correia's 100 free winning time of 47.56, which in turn shattered the old record of 47.61 by Stanford's Jenny Thompson from the NCAAs -- coincidentally at Texas -- a decade earlier.

The 1-meter diving saw Alabama's Crystal Rasmussen score a 514.50-507.90 win voer Florida State's Lisa Silvestri.

Georgia's women extended their lead by winning the final event of the night, as the team of Nekra Mabry, Lindsay Ertter, Mary DeScenza and Correia stroked to a 3:39.08 400 medley relay victory..

* * * * *

In men's action, Florida State, similar to its women's team, won the opening race, the 200 free relay, with a 1:21.32-1:22.43 victory over Penn State.

The Nittany Lions notched their initial individual title of the competition as Todd Minnier stroked to a 4:26.74 500 free win, followed by Georgia's Matt Owen (4:26.74).

'Dawg sophomore Robert Margalis, runner-up last season in the NCAA 400 IM to USC's Erik Vendt, won Georgia's first individual event with an NCAA "B" cut of 1:48.39 in the 200 individual medley, Second was Florida State's Justin Betts' (1:49.05) while Georgia's Brent McAuliffe was third and his teammate, Randy Lam, was fourth.

Florida State was dominant in the 50 free, taking seven of the top eight places. The 'Noles' Joey Marshburn won with a 20.31 and the only non-FSU swimmer to score was Alabama's Spiros Bitsakis, who was second with a 20.36. Josh Laban was Georgia's top finisher by winning the consolation final with a 20.75.

The 'Dawgs concluded the first day's competition by taking second in the 400-yard medley relay. The foursome of Peter Osborn, Scott Gardner, Randy Lam and Margalis stopped the clock in 3:17.06.

-- Bill Bell


DAY 1

Women's Team Scores

1. Georgia 348.50
2. Florida State 296.5
3. Penn State 212
4. Alabama 153
5. Minnesota 54


Men's Team Scores

1. Florida State 330
2. Georgia 276
3. Penn State 219
4. Alabama 207
5. Minnesota 54