Chase Kalisz, Matias Koski Knock Down Three Wins Each As Georgia Beats North Carolina

Photo by Peter H. Bick

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina, October 17. THE University of North Carolina’s women’s and men’s swimming and diving teams were not going to let the Georgia Bulldogs roll over them in dual meet action today, winning several events in the cross-conference battle.

But Georgia’s swimming depth overcame North Carolina’s diving strengths as the Bulldogs won the women’s meet with a score of 164-136, while the men took the meet over the Tar Heels in a nailbiter, 155-145.

North Carolina made a statement at the top of the meet with wins in the women’s and men’s 200 medley relays. Hellen Moffitt, Katie Munch, Hannah Lincoln and Sarah Hitchens combined for a 1:40.95 to take down Georgia by .84. On the men’s side, Nic Graesser, Kurt Wohlrab, Sam Lewis and Logan Heck got the win in the relay by the same margin with a 1:27.74. That time ranks at the top of the national standings, beating out the 1:27.82 that the California Golden Bears had swum about an hour earlier.

Brittany MacLean, the reigning 1650 free NCAA champion, had no trouble winning the 1000 free with a solid 9:43.04. It’s her first 1000 free of the season, and it puts her – perhaps unsurprisingly – at the top of the national rankings by a little more than a second. Teammate Amber McDermott was second with a 9:50.14, now fourth-fastest in the country, while North Carolina’s Emma Nunn hung on for third with a 9:54.67. Nunn improved on her season best by seven tenths of a second to rank seventh in the nation.

Swimming stroke-for-stroke for the entire race, two of the Litherland triplets provided a thrill for Georgia in the men’s 1000 free. Jay and Kevin Litherland were separated by little more than five tenths throughout the race as Kevin took the win in 9:12.57 to Jay’s 9:12.65. The brothers trail only Florida’s Carlos Omana’s 9:11.59 from yesterday in the national rankings.

Danielle Silverling put up the first win for North Carolina in an individual event tonight with a 1:47.01 in the 200 free over the 1:47.83 by Georgia’s Jordan Mattern and the 1:47.91 by MacLean about 12 minutes after winning the 1000. The three swims represent the second-, third- and fourth-fastest swims in the country as Silverling held on to her No. 2 spot. Missy Franklin is still No. 1 with a 1:46.37.

Matias Koski led from the start of the men’s 200 free and was never challenged, posting a 1:37.44 to lead a Georgia 1-2-3 sweep. Alec Cohen was second with a 1:39.10 while Kevin Litherland showed some endurance with a 1:39.79 after winning the 1000.

Kylie Stewart posted the third swim under 54 seconds this season in the 100 back with a 53.64 over national high school record holder Olivia Smoliga’s 54.94.

North Carolina struck back with 1-2 finishes in the next two events. Graesser took the men’s 100 back with a 48.22 over teammate Patrick Myers and his 49.18. Taylor Dale of Georgia settled for third with a 49.21. In the women’s 100 breast, Rachel Canty posted a 1:02.91 to win the event, with teammate Katie Munch taking second in 1:02.99 over the 1:03.02 by Georgia’s Annie Zhu.

Nic Fink let Kurt Wohlrab take the early lead in the men’s 100 breast. But the world championship finalist took over at 75 yards, winning with a 54.26. Wohlrab hung on for second with a 55.71 to beat Georgia freshman Gunnar Bentz and his 55.92.

Hali Flickinger held off Nunn for the women’s 200 fly win with a 1:57.16 to Nunn’s 1:57.90. And in a race hyped up on today’s edition of The Morning Swim Show, Georgia’s Chase Kalisz was able to hold off North Carolina’s Ben Colley in the men’s 200 fly in a close battle. Colley’s strong underwater kicking abilities wasn’t enough to overtake Kalisz, who won with a very fast 1:43.78 to Colley’s 1:44.34. Colley had held the top time in the country before the race with a 1:45.67, and now sits solidly in second nationwide.

Chantal Van Landeghem, who won a bronze medal in the 50 free at Pan Pacs, led a Georgia 1-2 finish with a 22.71 ahead of Maddie Locus’ 22.82 as the only swimmers under 23 seconds. In the men’s 50 free, it looked like North Carolina would take the top two spots, but settled for first and third with Sam Lewis winning in 20.31 and Logan Heck third with a 20.63. Michael Trice managed to split the Tar Heels with a 20.60.

After the first break, North Carolina held onto a slim lead in both meets, thanks to big points in diving. The Bulldogs began to chip away at the gap with wins in the 100 freestyle. Van Landeghem took her second event of the day with a 49.90 in the women’s race to win more than a second. Koski sat back in third at 50 yards as Heck took the men’s 100 free race out hard. But Koski, an NCAA finalist in the 200/500/1650 freestyles, had the closing speed to win in 44.39 to Heck’s 44.91.

The meet started going Georgia’s way, starting in the women’s 200 backstroke. Stewart and Flickinger went 1-2 for the Bulldogs with Stewart winning in 1:55.01 to Flickinger’s 1:56.78. Tynan Stewart took over the lead after the halfway point of the men’s 200 back and won with a 1:46.34 over Patrick Myers’ 1:47.03.

After a third-place finish in the 100 breast Annie Zhu was not to be challenged in the 200 distance, winning by three seconds with a 2:14.36. Kalisz held off teammate Fink to win his second event of the day, taking the 200 breast with a 1:57.48 to Fink’s 1:57.81. Both swims are the only ones under 1:58 at this point in the season, giving Kalisz a tough choice as the season progresses. Does he swim the 200 breast at NCAAs or stay in the 200 fly?

MacLean looked like she was going to take the distance freestyle double, but McDermott had other plans, taking back the lead in the final strokes to win in 4:47.59 to MacLean’s 4:47.70. Koski pulled off the impressive freestyle triple, posting a 4:23.38 to dominate the 500 free.

The 100 fly was North Carolina territory, as the Tar Heel women went 1-2-3. Sarah Koucheki won with a 54.97 ahead of teammates Moffitt (55.27) and Megan Bestor (55.55). In the men’s race, it was a 1-2 finish for the Tar Heels thanks to a 47.35 from Lewis and a 47.85 from Colley. Lewis takes the national No. 1 spot from Colley with today’s win.

McDermott was back to close out a strong meet with a 4:13.47 in the women’s 400 IM as Georgia went 1-2-3 in the race. Flickinger was second in the event with a 4:15.02 and Zhu took third with a 4:18.53. Kalisz posted a win as expected in the men’s 400 IM with a 3:50.38. The American record holder and reigning NCAA champion led a 1-2-3-4 finish for Georgia, with Gunnar Bentz (3:51.66), Jay Litherland (3:52.77) and Jared Markham (3:57.12) dominating the field in what is one of Georgia’s strongest events this season.

Georgia and North Carolina waged a close battle in the women’s 400 free relay, but the Bulldogs held on to post a 3:21.23 to North Carolina’s 3:22.08. The Tar Heel men started the 400 free relay with a lead and held on to it to win with a 2:58.41. Georgia was in the hunt throughout, but Cohen couldn’t match Colley’s anchor leg as the Bulldogs were second in 2:59.18.

North Carolina kept the meet interesting by placing 1-2 in all four diving events, including a 1-2-3-4 finish in the men’s 3-meter.

Results: North Carolina vs. Georgia

1 Comment

1 comment

  1. avatar
    superfan

    UGA men and women look pretty impressive.

Author: Jeff Commings

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Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for SwimmingWorld.com and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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