Alabama Men, Auburn Women Surge to Georgia Tech Invitational Titles

11-01-14 MWSD vs. Auburn and LSU Kristian Gkolomeev Men 50 Yard Freestyle Photo by Kelly Price
Photo Courtesy: Kelly Price/Alabama Athletics

By Dan D’Addona.

The Alabama men overtook the field on the final night the Georgia Tech Invitational to come away with a victory — barely.

Alabama’s men battled Florida down to the final relay.

Freshman Zane Waddell led the Crimson Tide’s 400-yard freestyle relay off with a 43.05 before turning it over to seniors Alex Gray and sophomores Robert Howard and Laurent Bams. Florida’s Caeleb Dressel, the defending NCAA 100 freestyle champion and a member of United States’ Olympic gold medal-winning 400-meter freestyle relay, gave the Gators a .07 lead going into the final leg. Bams ate that margin up over the first 50 and hung on to give the Tide a 2:51.06-2:51.10 win over Florida.

The relay gave Alabama a 1,269-1,252 win over Florida. Host Georgia Tech took third.

Alabama’s men went 1-2 in the 200 backstroke with senior Connor Oslin winning in 1:41.64, just ahead of junior Christopher Reid.

Dressel won the 100 freestyle (44.86), but Alabama went 2-3-4-6-7-10, led by Waddell’s 43.15.

In the women’s meet, Julie Meynen and Bailey Nero each claimed individual wins and the Auburn women cruised to the title. Auburn, which is ranked No. 11 in the latest CSCAA top 25, racked up 1142 points to top second-place No. 18 Florida by 219.5 points.

Alabama finished third with 909.5, while South Carolina was fourth (710) and Arkansas was fifth (630).

Meynen torched the field to win the 100 free. Going into the finals seeded third after a 50.06 during prelims, she dropped a 48.33 in the finals to top second place by .71 seconds, posting a 23.51 first 50 and a 24.82 on the back half.

Nero brought home her fourth 200 butterfly win of the season, going 1:56.49 to take the top spot by .68 seconds.

Alabama’s Mia Nonnenberg, who set two school records at this meet a year ago, set another on Saturday, shattering the school 1,650 freestyle record with a time of 16:04.70. Sophomore Katie Coughlin outraced the field in the 200 backstroke, winning by just under a second with a career-best 1:55.16, which ranks her second all-time at Alabama.