SMU vs. Georgia

DALLAS, Texas, January 6. SMU swimming and diving took on the Georgia Bulldogs on Tuesday, January 6 in Joe Perkins Natatorium with the women falling to the NCAA top-ranked Bulldogs 137.5-99.5, and the men succumbing to the tenth-ranked men's program 140-101. Despite the losses, both programs picked up impressive wins along the way.

In the men's 400 medley relay, the strong swimming of Pontus Renholm gave SMU the lead going into the breast, but Georgia crept in as the race progressed. The competition came down to a neck and neck finish with Georgia barely edging out the Mustangs. SMU took second touching in at 3:22.10. SMU took third in the women's 400 medley relay with a time of 3:46.96. Freshman Therese Svendsen led the field on the back, and sophomore Sascha Van den Branden closed strong in the free.

Freshman Christy-Leigh Lategan paced her way to a third place finish in the exhausting 1000 free with a time of 10:25.01, while freshman Mitchell Thomson touched in at 9:27.24 for a third place finish in the men's event.

The Bulldogs swept the podium in the women's 200 free, while SMU sophomore Elzanne Werth pushed her way to a fourth place finish with a time of 1:51.59. Junior Ed Downes captivated in men's competition despite coming in second by four hundredths of second. Downes blazed his way to a time of 1:42.00.

Senior Petra Klosova finished second in the 50 free with a time of 23.61, Klosova's second fastest time of the season. On the men's side, junior Thomas Fadnes and senior Luka Vrtovec finished one and two respectively. Fadnes won the event with a time of 20.86.

Junior Devon Callaghan tied for third in the women's 200 IM with a time of 2:05.51. For the men, junior Maverick Smalley fought off two Georgia Bulldogs to secure second touching in at 1:52.82.

Winning the women's 200 fly was freshman Denisa Smolenova with a time of 2:02.66. Smolenova finished strong to beat out Bulldog Lisa Caprioglio by seven hundredths of a second. On the men's side, Downes swam to a second place finish clocking a time of 1:51.79, while fellow freshman Mustang Blaz Korosec touched in third with a time of 1:53.09.

Senior leaders Klosova and Candace Blackman swam an exciting 100 free. Klosova took the title behind a 50.24 time which was a season-best, while Blackman placed third with a time of 51.39. For the men, Vrtovec jumped out to a great start and finished just as well, touching in first with a time of 45.77. Sophomore teammate Greg Doughty finished third touching in at 47.17.

In the women's 200 back, Svendsen placed third coming in at 2:01.77. Renholm swam to a strong lead for the men and kept it to finish first a body-length ahead of Georgia with a time 1:47.85.

Lategan placed fourth as the lone Mustang swimmer in the women's 500 free event, while in the men's competition, Thomson claimed third clocking a time of 4:37.02.

Newcomer Raminta Dvariskyte proved a valuable addition to the Mustang squad as she swam her way to a first place finish in the women's 200 breast with a time of 2:18.31, a career and season best. Callaghan and senior Jennifer Basel finished second and third for a Mustang sweep. The men also placed second with Downes touching in at 2:06.30.

On the board, sophomore Audra Egenolf claimed the top spot for the women in the one-meter event with a score of 270.90, while sophomore Matthew Culbertson earned second for the men, scoring 286.40 points. In the three-meter, Culbertson dove to a first place finish with a score of 328.60. For the women, Egenolf placed second and junior Britney Yancey finished third.

The 400 free relay was saved for the grand finale, the women fighting it out the entire way. The top-ranked Bulldogs were too much unfortunately, and SMU secured second with a time of 3:23.61. The men's race was just as competitive, but this time SMU was too much to handle. The men earned the top spot behind the elite swimming of Fadnes, Renholm, Vrtovec, and Doughty with a time of 3:03.25.

Special thanks to SMU for contributing this report.

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