Georgia Swimming Survives North Carolina’s Onslaught In Dual Meet

Brittany MacLean
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The Georgia swimming teams had some exciting battles with North Carolina’s men’s and women’s teams Saturday in Athens, with the Bulldog women’s home pool winning streak nearly ended by the Tar Heels.

In the end, the Bulldogs won both meets, but the women had a close call with a score of 152-148. The Georgia men won handily with a score of 170-125. For the women, it marks their 95th-straight win at home, dating back to 1995. Today’s meet was a reversal of last year’s dual, where the Georgia men nearly lost to North Carolina, while the Georgia women easily won.

Georgia vs. North Carolina women’s meet

Georgia and North Carolina each won eight women’s events to keep the meet close today. North Carolina’s victories in both relays were tough to overcome, but Brittany MacLean’s tough racing schedule might have helped tip the scales in Georgia’s favor. In addition to winning the 1000 free (9:42.40) and the 500 free (4:48.24), MacLean stepped up to race the 200 free about 15 minutes after her win in the 1000. She placed third with a 1:47.92, giving Georgia three crucial points.

Hali Flickinger and Emily Cameron were also big contributors to the win for the Bulldogs, winning three individual events each. Flickinger won the 200 free with a 1:46.65, holding off UNC’s Allyn Hardesty and her 1:47.35. Flickinger returned to win the 200 butterfly in 1:56.85 with teammate Megan Kingsley second with a 1:58.93. Flickinger used a powerful final 50 yards to pull away from UNC’s Helen Moffitt in the 200 back and win with a 1:54.24, while Moffitt was second with a 1:55.53.

Cameron swept the breaststrokes and won the 200 IM for big points in the meet. She was involved in a close battle in all three events, with UNC’s Katie Munch almost taking the 100 breast win. But Cameron rallied to take the event in 1:03.07 to Munch’s 1:03.10. In the 200 breast, Cameron was challenged in the final 100 by teammate Annie Zhu after leading by eight tenths at the 100-yard mark. Cameron managed the win with a 2:14.26 to Zhu’s 2:14.94.

In the 200 IM, Kingsley used her butterfly prowess to gain a big lead over Cameron, who rallied on breaststroke to take over the lead and win with a 2:01.14 to Kingsley’s 2:02.45.

Moffitt was a double winner for UNC, taking the 100 back in a dominating 52.77 to win by two seconds over teammate Caroline Baldwin. She came back from the close loss in the 200 back to win the 100 fly with a 53.82, overtaking teammate Sarah Koucheki in the final stretch.

Baldwin got a win of her own, taking the 50 free in 22.74 over 2014 NCAA champion Olivia Smoliga’s 22.83. Smoliga also found herself second to a Tar Heel in the 100 free, as Hardesty posted a 49.77 to Smoliga’s 49.95. Lauren Earp had the chance to make it a 1-2 finish for North Carolina in the 100 free, leading Smoliga at the turn, but settled for third with a 50.18.

Elisa Dawson scored big points in diving for North Carolina, winning the 3-meter with 334.50 points and finishing second to teammate Maria Lohman on the 1-meter. Lohman scored 294.08 points to Dawson’s 290.85.

Georgia vs. North Carolina Men’s Meet

Gunnar Bentz

Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

Though Georgia was without the services of Chase Kalisz, who is in Arizona during his redshirt year, the Bulldogs dispatched of North Carolina with little difficulty. The men won all but two events, with Zu Pigot winning the 100 fly in 47.33 and Ben Colley taking the first-place points in the 200 IM with a 1:49.73 while Georgia swam exhibition in that event.

Gunnar Bentz and Michael Trice each won two events. Bentz took on teammate Matias Koski, the reigning 1650 freestyle NCAA champion, in the 200 free and managed to hold him off and win with a 1:37.50. Koski attempted to make a move on Bentz in the final 50, but fell short with a 1:37.61. Kevin Litherland gave Georgia a 1-2-3 finish with a 1:38.24 for third.

Later in the meet, Bentz pulled away from teammate James Guest to win the 200 breast with a 2:00.56 to Guest’s 2:01.22. Guest had won the 100 breast earlier in the meet with a 55.67 to show that, at least in dual meets, the team has the depth to rebound from the graduation of Nic Fink.

In the 50 free, Trice nearly cracked 20 seconds with a 20.01 to win the event over the 20.35 by UNC’s Sam Lewis. Trice was the only swimmer under 45 seconds in the 100 free, taking the event with a 44.76.

Two of the Litherland triplets won events today. Jay Litherland led a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 back with a 1:46.02 to win by two seconds over the 1:48.02 by Ty Stewart. Garrett Powell completed the top three with a 1:48.65.

Kevin Litherland was able to beat brother Mick Litherland by two seconds in the 500 free with a 4:27.84 to Jay’s 4:29.89.

Taylor Dale and Stewart led a 1-2 finish for Georgia in the 100 back, with Dale finishing first in 47.20 and Stewart not far behind with a 48.75. Pace Clark had a half second lead over Mick Litherland at the 150-yard mark of the 200 fly, but his 26.69 split in the final 50 yards widened the gap. Clark won with a 1:45.18 to Litherland’s 1:46.46.

Aidan Burns won his first college race, taking the 1000 free by a five-second margin with a 9:14.23.

UNC’s Jack Nyquist was untouchable on the diving boards, winning the 3-meter competition by 85 points and the 1-meter event by almost 50 points.

2015 Georgia vs. North Carolina Dual Meet – Results

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