SEC Weekly Analysis: Georgia’s Stunning Loss to Texas Will Motivate

Olivia Smoliga. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Dan D’Addona.

The win streak was not going to last forever for the Georgia women’s swimming & diving team.

There is no question that 103 consecutive home victories is astounding. But the Bulldogs will be the first to tell you that they are focused on defending their NCAA championship.

That doesn’t change the fact that the Bulldogs are feeling different after this meet, something none of them have ever experienced — a home loss. No Georgia woman has experienced that in 20 years.

It had to be a little jolting.

But that jolt might just turn out to be what the Bulldogs needed.

Georgia is tied with Cal in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll for No. 2, while Texas is No. 5. The Bulldogs (as well as Cal and Texas) will be chasing No. 1 Stanford and the women’s meet will be one of the closer meets 1-through-10.

This was a wake-up call — not because they lost to an inferior team, they are pretty even — but to refocus themselves heading into the stretch run of the season.

Losing at home for the first time in two decades is going to motivate them for a little revenge against the Longhorns at the NCAA championships. They won’t want to lose to Texas or anyone else.

Sometimes you learn more from a loss than a win, and in swimming, that is crucial because it is such a mental sport.

Meanwhile, Texas is riding high after a week beating Auburn and Georgia on the road. This was a statement week for the Longhorns, who proved they belong in the national contenders conversation.

Here is a look at what happened:

After 103 consecutive home victories, the No. 2 Georgia women’s swimming & diving team lost a meet at home. No. 5 Texas snapped the Bulldogs’ NCAA record streak with a 171-124 victory on Saturday.

Georgia last lost a home meet in 1995.

It was a special win for the Longhorns (9-1), but extra special for Texas coach Carol Capitani, who was a Georgia assistant for 14 years under Jack Bauerle until 2012 when she left to become the Longhorns’ head coach.

Texas captured the lead through the first event and never trailed. The Longhorns won the 200-yard medley relay by about two seconds, as All-America seniors Tasija Karosas and Madisyn Cox joined sophomore Remedy Rule and All-America junior Rebecca Millard to win in 1 minute, 37.70 seconds.

Texas sophomore Joanna Evans, a Rio Olympian for The Bahamas, won the 1,000 freestyle in 9:46.40. Cox went three-for-three and won all six individual races on the road trip at Auburn and Georgia. She won the 200 freestyle in 1:45.28.

Olivia Anderson teamed with senior Jordan Surhoff to lead a one-two Longhorns finish in the 100 breaststroke. Anderson took the win in 1:01.85 while Surhoff followed in 1:01.98.

Rule, one of the nation’s top butterfliers, won the 200 butterfly in 1:56.03. Millard followed with another Longhorns’ win in the 50 freestyle at 22.53 and won the 100 in 48.83.

Freshman Alison Gibson swept the diving events and gave the Texas women a diving sweep for the week over Auburn and Georgia. The Austin native claimed the 1-meter event with 320.55

Rule finished off a sweep of the butterfly events and overtook Georgia’s Chelsea Britt in the 100 butterfly at 53.12.

Olivia Smoliga, a Rio Olympian, had Georgia’s lone victory, winning the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 52.84.

Chantal Van Landeghem was second in the 50 freestyle in 22.72 and the 100 freestyle in 49.41. Stephanie Peters took second in the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyles (4:47.96 and 9:49.88, respectively).

Other runner-up finishes for Georiga came from Meaghan Raab in the 200-yard freestyle (1:47.03) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:02.49); Kylie Stewart in the 200-yard backstroke (1:54.69); Emily Cameron in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:14.61); Britt in the 100-yard butterfly (53.87); and Megan Kingsley in the 200-yard butterfly (1:57.43).

In the men’s meet, No. 2 Texas (4-3) won the first 14 events and topped No. 7 Georgia 180-114.

The men’s meet featured six U.S. Olympians – for Texas, Townley Haas, Clark Smith and Jack Conger and Georgia’s Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland and Gunnar Bentz — plus Singapore’s Olympic gold medalist in the 100 butterfly, Texas junior Joseph Schooling, and Canada’s Javier Acevedo, a Georgia freshman.

The Longhorns set the tone from the outset by way of their 200-yard medley relay. Sophomore John Shebat led off in 21.75 seconds before six-time NCAA champion senior Will Licon split 24.06 seconds on the breaststroke leg and put the Horns in the lead. Schooling out-split UGA’s Pace Clark by eight-tenths of a second with a 20.54 butterfly leg, and he gave way to All-America junior Brett Ringgold who anchored in 19.42 and delivered the win for Texas by over two seconds.

Smith, the American record holder in the 1,000 freestyle, blew away the field in the same event Saturday and won going away in 8:57.86.

Haas, the NCAA and American record holder in the 200 freestyle, won it in 1:35.69. Shebat added a win in the 100 backstroke at 46.85, and Licon claimed the 100 breaststroke at 52.67.

Conger, the American record holder in the 200 butterfly, won in 1:44.82.

All-America senior Mark Anderson swept the diving events. He won the 1-meter board with 384.08 points and secured the win on 3-meter with 423.53 points.

Ringgold added a win in the 100 freestyle in 43.95 to go with his runner-up swim in the 50 freestyle.

The 400-yard freestyle relay of Taylor Dale, Kalisz, Bentz and Acevedo claimed the Bulldogs’ lone win of the meet, finishing in 2:55.40.

Kalisz took second in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 53.72 and the 200-yard breaststroke in 1:56.02. Dale was the runner-up in the 100-yard freestyle as he reached the wall in 44.07. Aidan Burns was second in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:10.47. Acevedo came in second in the 100-yard backstroke in 47.93. Bentz went 47.58 in the 100-yard butterfly for the runner-up spot. Jay Litherland stopped the clock in 3:47.05 for second in the 400-yard individual medley.

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  • 1 comment

    1. avatar
      Mark Schubert

      Congratulations to the Horns, Carol and Roric. A great win! They will be focused on an outstanding NCAAs and will be a force to be reckoned with!