Emory’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams recorded their first defeats of the season against Division I University of Georgia, falling to 5-1 and 6-1 in their seasons, respectively. The meet last Saturday at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga., also brought about the end of the team’s dual meet portion of the season.
The men ended the meet with a score of 107-175, while the women racked up 99-194 against the Bulldogs. Despite a formidable loss against equally formidable opponents, the Eagles put forth a strong performance and managed an impressive amount of NCAA qualifying marks as well as a few top finishes.
“The team put a lot of work in and was well prepared,” Head Coach Jon Howell said. “Even though UGA is better than us, swimming against them helped us expand skill-wise as a team. They did an excellent job and are set up to have a good championship season.”
Perhaps one of the most competitive assets for the men’s team last Saturday was senior Andrew Wilson. Posting two NCAA B cut times in both the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke, Wilson took home the victory in the 100 meter with a time of 54.41. He narrowly missed first in the 200 meter by 0.41 seconds, touching down second with a time of 2:00.64.
The men registered another event win in the 200 meter freestyle relay. The team consisted of juniors Alexander Hardwick, Aaron Schwartz and Oliver Smith along with sophomore Trey Kolleck. The foursome not only touched first but recorded a NCAA B cut time of 1:22.26 in the process, the third of the afternoon.
Rounding out the B cuts for the afternoon was Smith in the 50 meter freestyle and stand-out freshman Sage Ono in the 100 meter backstroke. Smith pulled off a top finish of third place with a time of 20.51, missing second by a margin of 0.28 seconds. Ono also came out the pool bearing third with a time of 49.44.
Despite losing this meet, the Eagles learned a lot from the D-I competition.
“If we can focus and have good races in this type of environment, then it will really help us in competition,” Smith said. “Every year we go to UGA; we use it as a learning experience. There’s a lot to gain from tough competition and overall it just makes us better.”
Amidst the men’s loss against Georgia, the women’s team fared rather well against the Bulldogs, registering seven NCAA B cut times for the afternoon. Both Emory relay teams for the 200 meter medley and the 200 meter freestyle swam B cut times, but were upended by Georgia’s relay teams. The 200 meter medley team consisted of junior Cindy Cheng, freshman Maria Kyle, and seniors Annelise Kowalsky and Marissa Bergh, who swam a 1:44.45. Competing in the 200 meter freestyle with a time of 1:35.18 was Bergh, along with fellow senior Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe and sophomores Fiona Muir and Meg Taylor. Muir swam two other impressive B cut times in the 100 meter freestyle where she placed second with a time of 51.43 and placed third in the 50 meter freestyle with a time of 23.73.
Kowalsky and Cheng each added an individual B cut time for the afternoon, Kowalsky placing third in the 100 meter breaststroke with a time of 1:05.02 and Cheng with a time of 1:51.19. Freshman Maria Turcan rounded out the B cuts for the women swimming 2:06.20 in the 200 meter butterfly and touched down at third place.
The Eagles will be back in the pool in Chicago, Ill., competing in the UAA championships Feb. 8-11. The team will be vying for their 19th consecutive and 25th overall UAA title.
“I think we have a really good shot at winning the title again,” Smith said. “But at the end of the day, the team is still a family and we really focus on that. Our common goal is to pull together and make sure every one of use has good races and is contributing to the team aspect.”