Men Fourth, Women Fifth at Georgia Invitational
ATHENS, Ga. – The Virginia men’s and women’s swimming teams wrapped up the three-day Georgia Invitational Sunday in Athens, Ga. The No. 21 men’s team finished fourth with 574 points while the No. 18 women placed fifth with 574 points.
“The 2011 version of the Georgia Invitational proved to be one of the finest collegiate events of the fall semester,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the meet for our athletes. I am more confident than ever in our fitness level. We have also grown as a team and come to understand each other better. I look forward to a very productive second half of the season.”
The women’s team, which finished behind fourth-place Indiana by just two and a half points, was led by Meredith Cavalier’s winning performance in the 200 backstroke. The top seed coming into the finals, Cavalier came back to win the event in a NCAA ‘B’ time of 1:54.09.
“This morning I had an alright swim, especially being in an early heat,” Cavalier said. “I was really surprised to be the top seed out of the prelims. I knew going into finals I was going to have a much better race and I was happy with going a new personal-best time and getting the win for our team. We did a really good job standing up and racing on a few days rest. I think it puts us in a good place for future meets, especially ACCs, because we know we can go faster.”
Sophomore Caroline Kenney joined Cavalier in the final and turned in an eight-place finish with a time of 2:00.02. Three more swimmers competed in the consolation final with Charlotte Clarke (1:56.96), Erika Stewart (1:57.38) and Ellen Williamson (1:58.91) coming in 13th, 15th and 16th, respectively. All three of those marks in the heat were ‘B’ times.
In a fast heat that saw 11-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin break her own American record in a winning time of 46.84, junior Lauren Perdue swam to a fifth-place finish with a NCAA ‘B’ mark of 48.76. Teammate Emily Lloyd was 14th out of the consolation final with a time of 49.76.
Junior Christine Olson was eighth in the 200 breaststroke in 2:13.64. Senior Kelly Flynn missed the final two days of competition with an illness.
Virginia claimed spots five through eight in the final individual race of the night, the 200 butterfly. Freshman Sarah White paced the group in fifth (1:58.53) with Fox taking sixth (1:59.68). Naurath (1:59.96) and Haulsee (2:00.33) were seventh and eight, respectively; all four marks were NCAA ‘B’ cuts.
Five Cavalier women competed for the first time this season in the 1650 freestyle, which consisted of a timed final held after the morning preliminaries. Sophomore Rachel Naurath recorded a fifth-place finish in 16:18.88 while Kenney was 10th in 16:28.89, both ‘B’ standards. Alison Haulsee tallied a 13th-place finish (16:34.84), Kelly Offutt was 16th (16:44.65) and Hillary Petersen was 17th (16:52.47).
The 400 freestyle relay team of Cavalier, Perdue, Lloyd and Williamson finished fourth overall with a NCAA ‘B’ time of 3:18.00. Naurath, Stewart, Kenney and Olson teamed up to take 10th in 3:23.64, yet another ‘B’ mark.
“We wanted to challenge our athletes with what we felt would be the best invitational in the eastern half of the United States,” Bernardino said. “It is very important to expose our swimmers to the quality of excellence they are going to see at the ACC and NCAA Championships. We wanted them to be challenged both mentally and physically and for them to compete with the best.”
The Virginia men jumped Indiana on the final day of competition, beating the Hoosiers by two points to move from fifth to fourth place.
Sophomore Parker Camp led a strong Cavalier contingent in the 200 backstroke with a sixth-place performance out of the final in a ‘B’ time of 1:45.57. Kyle Dudzinski (1:47.41) paced a pack of four Virginia swimmers in the consolation final with a 10th-place finish. Matt Murray (1:47.45) was 11th, Jack Murfee (1:49.68) was 15th and Nathan Vredeveld (1:51.71) was 16th.
Junior Tom Barrett and senior David Karasek represent the Cavalier men in the final of the 100 freestyle. Barrett took fifth overall in 44.48 while Karasek was seventh in 45.07. Senior Peter Geissinger placed 16th in 45.68 out of the consolation final.
Sophomore Taylor Grey and junior Tom Casey had strong showings in the 200 breaststroke. Grey tallied a fourth-place finish in a ‘B’ time of 1:58.22 while Casey was sixth in 1:59.75. Teammate Nick Montes de Oca recorded a 16th-place performance in 2:03.82.
Freshman David Ingraham and sophomore Nathan Hart led Virginia in the 200 butterfly. Ingraham was seventh overall in 1:50. 37 while Hart touched in 1:52.22 for eighth place. Matt Houser placed 13th (1:50.47) and Daniec was 16th (1:52.89).
Bradley Phillips and Daniec were two of four Cavaliers to swim in the 1650 freestyle. The duo turned in ‘B’ times as Phillips touched in 15:05.23 to place fifth and Daniec finished in 15:08.76 for sixth. Nathan Vredeveld (15:35.54) and Jonathan Buerger (16:03.36) were 13th and 20th, respectively.
The men’s 400 freestyle relay team of Karasek, Barrett, Geissinger and freshman Ivan Capan registered a third-place finish in the final event of the night with a NCAA ‘B’ time of 2:58.01. Camp, Ingraham, Murray and Dudzinski also clocked a ‘B’ time with a 10th-place finish in 3:03.38.
The Georgia Invitational marked the final competition for the Virginia swimmers for the fall semester. Both the men’s and women’s teams return to the pool Jan. 11 at Virginia Tech, the site of the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.