Dec. 1, 2017

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ATHENS, Ga.- The Virginia men’s and women’s swim teams completed day one of the Georgia Fall Invitational on Friday (Dec. 1) in Athens, Ga., at the Gabrielsen Natatorium.

The No. 16 Virginia women’s team finished the day in fourth place with 187.5 points. No. 4 Michigan finished first with 296.5 points, followed by No. 6 California in second place with 271.5 points.

On the men’s side, the No. 23 Cavaliers ranked fifth with 100 points. No. 2 California finished first with 308 points, while No. 4 Michigan finished second with 298 points.

The Cavaliers were paced by senior Caitlin Cooper (Atlanta, Ga.), who finished second in the 50-yard freestyle (21.92). Additionally, Cooper set the school record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.86, leading off the 200-yard freestyle relay.

“Day one at the Georgia Invite is complete and the team is off to a really good start,” head coach Todd DeSorbo. “We have had over 20 lifetime best swims, which is promising for the future, knowing that we are not shaved or tapered for this competition, and our main focus is in the spring with the ACC and NCAA championships. We really, as a new staff with a new team, are looking forward to seeing how they are competing. Their racing is going to give us a lot of information about how they are acclimating to the training, because we know that the training is significantly different than it has been in the past.

“Some impressive swims, first and foremost, with Caitlin Cooper being the first female in the history of Virginia to go under 22 seconds in the 50 free with a school record. She actually did it three times, breaking the previous record in the prelims, leading off the free relay and again in the finals tonight. Jenn Marrkand is swimming well with a lifetime best in the 500 free. Both her 500 free and 200 IM were under what it took to qualify for the NCAA championships last year. Joe Clark‘s leadoff in the 100 backstroke (46.00) was also under what it took to qualify for the NCAA championships last year. The women’s 200-yard freestyle relay was really impressive. It is the second fastest in the history of Virginia, only about a 10th off the school record. Likewise, the men’s 400 medley really was impressive. The guys were a little less than a second off the school record that they set at the ACC championships last year. Overall a great day. This is a great meet that the University of Georgia is hosting with some great competition. We are looking forward to the rest of the weekend and the future.”

In addition to Cooper, the women’s team had two additional swimmers finish in the top heat. Senior Jennifer Marrkand (Westford, Mass.) finished fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (1:56.42), while freshman Anna Pang (SINGAPORE) finished eighth in the 50-yard freestyle (22.72).

On the men’s side, redshirt junior Brendan Casey (Santa Monica, Calif.) led Virginia in the 500-yard freestyle with an 11th-place finish (4:19.83), while junior Zach Fong (Moorestown, N.J) finished 14th (1:46.65) in the 200-yard individual medley and sophomore Ryan Baker (Arlington, Va.) finished 14th (20.26) in the 50-yard freestyle.

In the relays, the Cavalier women captured a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:27.93) from Cooper, Pang, sophomore Morgan Hill (Olney, Md.) and senior Laine Reed (Austin, Texas), respectively, for an NCAA qualifying time, while freshman Emma Seiberlich (Audubon), junior Vivian Tafuto (Hummelstown, Pa.), Marrkand and Hill, respectively, finished sixth (3:36.34) in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

The men’s team of Baker, sophomore Joe Clark (Worcester Park, Great Britain), senior Luke Georgiadis (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Fong, respectively, finished sixth in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:19.13). Clark, freshman Joseph Barnum (Louisville, Ky.), junior Bryce Keblish (Fairfield, Conn.) and Baker, respectively, finished seventh in the 400-yard medley relay (3:09.24).

The Cavaliers will return to action tomorrow for day two of the Georgia Fall Invitational. The preliminary races begin at 9:30 a.m. Finals will start at 5 p.m.