SEC Weekly Recap: Georgia Tops LSU in Return of Gunnar Bentz

Georgia's Gunnar Bentz. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

There were plenty of strong performances in SEC meets this weekend.

Here is a look at what happened:

Georgia sweeps LSU

Georgia swept SEC rival LSU on Saturday thanks to the return of Gunnar Bentz.

The No. 6 women picked up a 186-108 decision to improve to 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. Georgia’s women are undefeated in their last 23 conference meets with a 22-0-1 mark dating back to 2013. The 11th-ranked men posted a 170-122 victory to move to 6-1 and 1-1.

Javier Acevedo and Greg Reed were double winners for the Bulldogs. Acevedo swept the backstroke races in 48.03 and 1:45.49, while Reed had the top time of 4:26.01 in the 500 freestyle and he took the 1,000 freestyle in 9:04.48.

Fifteen-time All-American and 2016 Olympian Bentz made a successful return from September shoulder surgery by winning the 100 butterfly in 48.10. Camden Murphy was victorious in the 100 freestyle as he touched in 45.28, while Walker Higgins took the 200 freestyle in 1:38.18. The Bulldogs swept the breaststroke races with James Guest in the 100 (54.29) and Basil Orr in the 200 (2:00.73). Mick Litherland won the 200 butterfly in 1:48.92 and Jay Litherland claimed the 200 individual medley in 1:48.75.

Acevedo, Guest, Murphy and Alex BeMiller won the 200 medley relay with an effort of 1:28.25. The 400 freestyle relay top time was posted by BeMiller, Acevedo, Bentz and Murphy in 3:00.35.

Megan Kingsley won twice to pace the Lady Bulldogs. She touched the wall in 1:57.88 in the 200 butterfly and had the fastest time of 2:02.29 in the 200 individual medley.

Georgia swept the freestyle events as Gabi Fa’amausili won the 50 (22.97), Meaghan Raab took the 100 (50.06), Veronica Burchill claimed the 200 (1:47.98), Jordan Stout won the 500 (4:51.71) and Courtney Harnish took the 1,000 (9:48.86).

Both backstroke races went to the Bulldogs as Kylie Stewart won the 100 in 53.14 and Meryn McCann won the 200 in 1:58.99. Chelsea Britt claimed the 100 butterfly in 53.82 and Danielle Della Torre took the 200 breaststroke in 2:18.32.

Alabama beats Florida State

Alabama opened 2018 with a trio of wins Friday. The women beat Florida State by a score of 153-143 and Miami (Fla.) 209-81, while the men beat FSU 156.5-143.5.

Alabama’s women won seven individual events and both relays, led by freshman Flora Molnar who swam on both winning relays as well as taking first in the 50 freestyle (22.44) and 100 butterfly (52.67). The Tide men won 10 individual events and both relays. Junior Laurent Bams led the way for the men, swimming on both winning relays while taking top honors in the 100 (53.97) and 200 (1:59.41) breaststrokes.

Molnar was joined on the Tide’s winning 200 medley relay (1:39.55) by juniors Katie Kelsoe and Justine Macfarlane as well as senior Bailey Scott. Molnar and Scott were joined by seniors Temarie Tomley and Lindsay Morrow on the winning 200 freestyle relay (1:30.36).

Senior captain Mia Nonnenberg won the first and last individual events of the day, touching the wall first in the 1,650 freestyle (16:50.49) and the 400 individual medley (4:16.60). Freshman Leonie Kullmann won the 200 freestyle (1:49.51) and 500 freestyle (4:54.19), while senior Hannah Musser won the 200 butterfly (2:02.02).

For the men, Bams combined with sophomore Christopher Staka, senior Luke Kaliszak and junior Robert Howard to win the 200 medley relay (1:27.30), while Howard, Bams and Kaliszak were joined by sophomore Zane Waddell in winning the 200 freestyle relay (1:19.45).

Howard also won the 200 freestyle (1:37.14), Staka won the 100 backstroke (48.05) and Waddell won the 50 (20.00) and 100 (43.82) freestyles. Senior Will Freeman won the 200 butterfly (1:48.49) and the 500 freestyle (4:33.57). Freshman Christian Strycker won the 1,650 freestyle (15:47.11) and senior Christopher Reid won the 200 backstroke (1:47.51).

The highlights of the day for the LSU came in the diving well, where Juan Celaya-Hernandez and Lizzie Cui combined to win all four springboard events.

Celaya-Hernandez got back to his winning ways, winning the one-meter springboard with a score of 393.00 and the three-meter after posting a 413.55.

Cui was also able to take home gold twice after scoring a 321.15 on one-meter and a 360.45 on three-meter. Cui’s score on three-meter was her best score of the season.


Texas A&M tops SMU

The top-ranked Texas A&M women’s swimming and diving team swept all 16 events in a 173-113 win over the SMU earlier in the week.

Texas A&M improved to 6-1 in dual meet action, while the Mustangs fell to 0-7.

The Aggies won all 16 events and grabbed at least the top two finishes in 10 events.

Leading the way with two individual victories was senior Lisa Bratton, who won the 200-yard backstroke in 1:58.94 and the 200 IM in 2:02.08. Bratton also led off the winning 400 medley relay.

South Carolina tops East Carolina

South Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving earned their fourth and fifth wins of the season, respectively, on Saturday over East Carolina. The Gamecocks earned first place in every event, with the men finishing 176.5-115.5 and the women finishing 181.5-110.5 over the Pirates.

Jjunior Emma Barksdale claimed three titles in the 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 200 IM. Taylor Worrell, a senior, also had a strong meet for the women, finishing first in the 1000 freestyle with a personal best of 10:12.67 as well as in the 500 freestyle.

Two Gamecock underclassmen stood out at East Carolina. Freshman Rafael Davila took first in the 1000 freestyle in his second meet competing for South Carolina with a time of 9:12.53. Sophomore Emma Otten won the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:58.94 in her first time competing in the event this season.