ATHENS, Georgia, January 10. NO. 3 Texas (5-1) won nine events and posted eight NCAA provisional-qualifying cuts, but it wasn't enough Saturday, as No. 1 Georgia (6-0) posted a 159-141 victory over the Longhorns at Georgia's Gabrielsen Natatorium.
Texas swept the two relays and two diving events and added individual swimming victories in five events. Freshman and native Georgian Kathleen Hersey led the Horns with two individual wins, and UT freshman Shelby Cullinan and senior Kathryn Kelly led a Longhorns sweep of the diving events.
Texas kicked off the meet with a win in the 400-yard medley relay, where freshman Katie Riefenstahl, junior Alexi Spann, Hersey and freshman Karlee Bispo finished in a NCAA provisional-qualifying mark of 3:39.72. Texas followed with third- and fourth-place points in the 1,000 freestyle before Bispo took second behind U.S. Olympian Alison Schmitt in the 200 freestyle in 1:47.11.
Hersey scored her first victory in the 100 backstroke in a NCAA "B" cut of 54.24 and was followed in fourth by Riefenstahl at 55.24. Gingrich added nine points to the Texas tally by claiming the 200 butterfly in a NCAA provisional-qualifying mark of 1:57.74. Senior Hee-Jin Chang followed by capturing the 50 freestyle in 22.82.
Cullinan registered a career best in the three-meter event, which she won with 321.97 points to lead a strong Longhorns diving effort. Senior Jessica Livingston placed third with 302.32 points, and Kelly took fourth with 301.05 points. Freshman Lauren Caldwell took fifth with 295.87 points. Bispo led a one-two Texas finish in the 100 freestyle, as she took top honors in 50.20. Chang followed closely behind in second at 50.25.
Hersey added a second-place showing in the 200 backstroke in 1:57.28, and Riefenstahl followed in third in 1:58.61. Escobar added a NCAA "B" cut in the 500 freestyle at 4:46.32, good for third place, and Gingrich added another NCAA "B" cut in the 100 butterfly in 55.18. Kelly headed a one-two-three Texas showing in the one-meter diving event, where she was victorious with 314.10 points. Caldwell took second with 283.95 points, and Livingston placed third with 280.05 points. Cullinan took fifth with 271.72 points.
Hersey, the school-record holder in the 400 IM, claimed the event in 4:13.76. Sophomore Ashleigh McCleery placed third in 4:20.25. The Longhorns finished off the meet by completing a sweep of the two relay events. Bispo, Chang, Riefenstahl and Gingrich captured the 200 freestyle relay, winning in a NCAA provisional-qualifying mark of 1:31.15
Special thanks to Texas for contributing this report.