NCAA Div. I: Ayalon Stars but Georgia Tech Is Rolled Up By the Crimson Tide

ATLANTA, Jan. 11. GEORGIA Tech senior All-American Shilo Ayalon became the first Yellow Jacket swimmer to meet an NCAA qualifying standard this season, as he went a time of 15:15.19 in the 1650-yard freestyle in a loss to No. 19 Alabama Saturday at Emory's Woodruff P.E. Center. The Crimson Tide defeated the Tech men, 160-124, and the Alabama women topped the Jackets, 182-106.

With the loss Tech's men are now 2-5 (0-2 ACC), while the women fall to 3-4 (0-2 ACC).

Ayalon's performance in the 1650 free met the NCAA "B" Qualifying Standard, meaning he is provisionally qualified for the 2003 NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas. He pulled away from Alabama's J.T. Jones about 1000 yards into the race and cruised to a victory by more than 17 seconds. Ayalon was also victorious in the 500 free, as he posted a season-best time of 4:29.94 to defeat the Tide's James Wilcox by nearly five seconds.

The Jackets' only other victory on the day came from sophomore Jeremy Raines, who won an exciting 100-yard backstroke race in a time of 51.78, defeating Alabama's Franck Southon by 0.12 seconds.

Sophomore Moeko Wallis led the women with second-place finishes in both the 50 (24.61) and 100 free (53.25). Freshman Elizabeth Foster placed third in the 50, giving Tech a solid finish in that event.

Tech's women also had a strong showing in the 100 back, where sophomore Anna Saum (58.51) and freshman Ashley Kracke (59.41), placed second and third, respectively. The Jackets also got runner-up finishes from freshman Kathy Wood in the 1650 free (18:23.19) and classmate Laura Heiser in the 200 breast (2:30.62).

Sophomore Lisa Hancock, who placed third in the 200 fly, posted a time of 2:06.21 to score the Jackets' top mark in that event this season.

Tech returns to action January 24 against Duke in Durham, N.C., 5 p.m.

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