CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia men’s and women’s swimming teams conclude the fall portion of the schedule this weekend at the Georgia Invitational in Athens, Ga.
The Cavaliers will join Auburn, Kansas, Minnesota, Penn State and the host Bulldogs in the invitational, while the Harvard women will also compete. Prelims are set for 9:30 a.m. with finals on Friday at Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Finals on Sunday will begin at 3:30 p.m. and live results for all sessions will be linked on VirginiaSports.com.
“Historically we’ve had some of our best times at our December invitational and that’s our goal,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “We want to continue to try to take steps forward in terms of our performances. Our goal is to have at least one season-best performance for every athlete on the team. We want to continue to position ourselves in such a way that we can be competitive at the end of the season.”
The 11th-ranked Cavalier men and ninth-ranked women are coming off double dual meet victories at home over Big Ten foes Penn State and Indiana Nov. 19-20. Senior Matt McLean repeated as the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s performer of the week after recording two NCAA ‘B’ times in the win. The Cavaliers dropped a total of 16 NCAA ‘B’ cuts in the two days of competition.
“This meet is probably the most competitive December meet that we’ve had in the last five years,” Bernardino continued. “It is going to be a very fast meet. We don’t know what other teams are doing; we can only worry about ourselves and what we are doing to continue to make ourselves faster.”
Virginia will be squaring off against highly regarded teams in Athens, including three ranked teams. The Georgia women lead the way at No. 2, while the Bulldog men and Minnesota tie for the No. 13 spot. The Gopher women, meanwhile, are ranked 14th and the Auburn men’s and women’s squads are seventh and 10th, respectively. Both the Penn State men and women are receiving votes in the latest poll.
“We really haven’t done much differently at all; we’ve kept the hammer down,” Bernardino said. “We have had some really intense training and weight sessions. I know we are going to rest on the ride down there and hopefully swim well.”