Yellow Jackets Dominate in Atlanta Rivalry

Swimmers take flight at the start of a race in Emory University’s meet at Georgia Institute of Technology Jan. 27. Urvi Agarwal/Contributing.

The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) Yellow Jackets demolished the Emory men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams in a matchup of Atlanta rivals Jan. 27.

The Yellow Jackets built a significant margin of victory over the men’s team and women’s teams, topping them by scores of 150-82 and 162-56, respectively.

Despite the victory by the Division I team, the Eagles welcomed the opportunity to face a strong swimming program at the McAuley Aquatic Center, the site of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics swimming and diving events.

Sophomore Sage Ono was Emory’s star performer of the day, securing Emory’s only first-place finish out of 26 events. Recording an NCAA Division III Championship B cut benchmark with a time of 49.91, Ono was the only swimmer in the 100-yard backstroke to finish with a time under 50 seconds. Ono swam past five Yellow Jackets and four Eagles, besting the second-place finisher by just under two seconds.

Junior Thomas Gordon posted an NCAA Division III B cut in the 1650-yard freestyle. With a time of 16:16.24, Gordon finished third, more than 20 seconds off the pace of the first-place swimmer.

Emory’s men’s team also registered top three finishes in the 50-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle and medley relays. Senior Oliver Smith turned in a strong day in the pool, posting a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.39 seconds and contributing to top three finishes in two relay races.

On the women’s team, senior Phoebe Edwards was the squad’s top performer, touching the wall second in the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 17:18.27, a NCAA Division III B cut.

Along with Edwards’ spectacular performance, the women’s team recorded five more top three finishes. Senior Cindy Cheng in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:54.23; junior Fiona Muir in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.21 seconds; and the 200-yard freestyle relay team consisting of Muir, senior Ming Ong, sophomore Caroline Olson and freshman Lucy Daro all posted second place finishes clocking in at 1:37.64. Additionally, Ong in the 500-yard freestyle, clocking in at 5:11.93, and junior Ashley Daniels in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:05.59, both finished third.

Emory athletes compete in a butterfly event. Urvi Agarwal/Contributing.

Muir considered Saturday’s meet to be a solid platform for the team to prepare for more intense competition moving forward.

“[Georgia Tech] was a good chance for us to go face good competition” Muir said. “It got us into the right mindset headed into the championship season where we will see some solid competition headed into those races as well.”

Head Coach Jon Howell said that facing Division I teams is an important learning opportunity because it exposes the team to some of the nation’s premier programs.

“There are always opportunities to learn from experiences like we had this weekend,” Howell said. “Our goal is always to get up and earn some respect by racing in those types of environments. … The goal isn’t necessarily to win the meet, but to go up against fast competition and get some races in.”

Ono discussed the benefits of facing Georgia Tech and vying against high caliber competition.

“[Georgia Tech] provides a really great opportunity to race against people we generally wouldn’t be racing in any other setting,” Ono said. “Because of this [opportunity], the team really stepped and competed better than they normally would at a dual meet.”

Emory anticipates another challenging matchup in their last dual meet of the year at the University of Georgia Feb. 3.