Jake Magahey, Josh Liendo Impressive on First Night of Georgia Invitational

Jake Magahey -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Jake Magahey, Josh Liendo Impressive on First Night of Georgia Invitational

As the Georgia Invitational began Thursday evening, the University of Florida men recorded some sterling times in the sprint events, but the swim of the night belonged to Jake Magahey, a junior swimming for the host Bulldogs. Magahey was the NCAA champion in the 500 freestyle as a freshman and the runnerup behind teammate Matt Sates last year, but with Sates and Kieran Smith having departed college swimming and Magahey coming off the finest long course performance of his career (a win in the 400-meter free at U.S. Nationals), Magahey enters this season as the clear national-title favorite.

In his first suited 500 free final of the season, Magahey had already pulled into the lead by the 100-yard mark, and he expanded the advantage to win by more than three seconds. His time was 4:09.83, by far the quickest so far this college season. Only four men beat that time in last year’s NCAA final, and only two, Magahey and Texas’ Luke Hobson, are returning this year. Magahey ranks third all-time in the event at 4:06.71.

Earlier in the night, Florida’s team of Adam ChaneyJosh LiendoMacguire McDuff and Eric Friese won the 200 free relay in 1:15.98, with Liendo providing the kicker with his 18.29 second leg. A pair of Auburn squads rounded out the top-three, with Kalle MakinenLogan TirheimerNathanie Stoffle and Aidan Stoffle finishing second in 1:16.43 and Mihalis DeliyiannisRyan HusbandLewis Treggiden and Henry Bethel placing third in 1:17.44.

Liendo won the 50 free in 18.84, the second-best mark in the country behind Jordan Crooks’ 18.27 recorded in Knoxville. McDuff (19.11) and Chaney (19.23) placed second and third, respectively. Georgia’s Zach Hils held off a charging Peter Varjasi of Florida State in the 200 IM, 1:43.03 to 1:43.17, while Florida’s Julian Smith took third (1:43.47).

In the men’s 400 medley relay, a brilliant 50.80 split from Reid Mikuta lifted Auburn to an unexpected win. Nathaniel Stoffle, Mikuta, Aidan Stoffle and Makinen combined to swim a time of 3:03.55, while Chaney, Smith, Friese and Liendo took second in 3:04.98, with Liendo splitting 41.48. Georgia’s Ian GrumKris PitshuginWesley Ng and Hils placed third in 3:07.41.

On the women’s side, Georgia’s Zoie Hartman cruised to a time of 1:54.26 in the 200 IM, the second-fastest mark in the country behind the 1:53.37 that Torri Huske swam at the NC State Invitational. The Florida duo of Zoe Dixon (1:57.20) and Kathleen Golding (1:57.26) placed second and third, respectively. Georgia also won the 50 free with Eboni McCarty touching in 21.89 and Gator teammates Katie Mack (22.18) and Talia Bates (22.30) finishing second and third, respectively. Florida went 1-2 in the 500 free with Mabel Zavaros (4:39.28) and Tylor Mathieu (4:40.23), while Georgia Tech’s Deniz Ertan took third (4:40.89).

Florida pulled away to win the 200 free relay with Mack, Ekaterina Nikonova, Bates and Micayla Cronk finishing in 1:27.75. Auburn’s Lexie MulvihillEmma SteckielClaudia Thamm and Rebekah Hamilton finished second in 1:29.15, just ahead of the Georgia team of Julianna StephensEmma Norton, Hartman and McCarty (1:29.30).

In the 400 medley relay, Marie Schobel, Hartman, Callie Dickinson and McCarty won in 3:31.31, with Auburn’s Meghan LeStasya MakarovaClaudia Thamm and Mulvihill taking second (3:32.74). Florida State’s Maddie McDonaldMaddy HugginsEdith Jernstedt and Zsofia Kurdi touched in third (3:34.51).

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