Georgia Swimmers, Divers Open SECs In Record-Setting Fashion
Olivia Smoliga

Feb. 18, 2014

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ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia swimmers and divers made an early splash in the 2014 Southeastern Conference Championships, medaling in four events and setting four school records.

The No. 3 Lady Bulldogs lead the field with 187 points, while Florida is second with 139. The No. 14 Bulldogs are seventh with 124 as Auburns leads with 192.

"It definitely was electric," Assistant Coach Stefanie Williams said. "Both men's and women's swimming and diving did a phenomenal job to kick off the SECs for 2014. I'm excited. This is what we train for."

Ann-Perry Blank became the first Georgia women's diver to take gold in the 1-meter diving at the SEC Championships. Her score of 325.50 is also the highest 1-meter diving score in a championship event in Georgia history, shattering the previous mark of 315.70.

"I didn't come into the meet expecting this at all," Blank said. "I was just really happy to make finals. I told myself to just have fun and dive. It happened to work in my favor. This is not like anything I've ever experienced before."

Laura Ryan placed third with a score of 320.50.

"[Blank] stepped up and took care of business tonight," Diving Coach Dan Laak said. "She worked really hard this year and deserved to win. Having two on the awards stand is pretty special."

In the 200 medley relay, the team of Olivia Smoliga, Melanie Margalis, Lauren Harrington and Chantal Van Landeghem placed first and set a new Georgia record of 1:35.52. That also eclipsed the Gabrielsen Natatorium record.

"We've come a long way from last year," Harrington said. "That used to be our relay that people would poke fun at. But with these awesome new underclassmen stepping up to the plate, it's cool to see what we can do."

Taylor Dale, Nicolas Fink, Doug Reynolds and Michael Trice placed second in the men's 200 medley relay and also set a school record, clocking in at 1:24.73. This NCAA automatic qualifying time broke the previous mark by more than two seconds. Florida broke the pool record in 1:24.53.

In the women's 800 freestyle relay, Shannon Vreeland, Amber McDermott, Margalis and Brittany MacLean set a new Gabrielsen Natatorium record and took gold with a time of 6:53.04.

The team of Matias Koski, Chase Kalisz, Jameson Hill and Alec Cohen placed fourth in the 800 freestyle relay with their A-cut time of 6:20.26. This is the fastest time in Georgia history. Florida broke the SEC and pool records in 6:13.03.

Georgia will return to action on Wednesday for the second day of the SEC Championships. Swimmers and divers will compete in the following events: 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay and men's 1-meter diving. Visit for ticket information.



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