March 5, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia women's swimming and diving team will be seeking its second straight national championship later this month, and the Lady Bulldogs will be armed with a full complement of swimmers.
On Wednesday, the NCAA released the official psych sheet for the NCAA Championships, which will take place March 20-22 in Minneapolis, Minn. The Lady Bulldogs will have the maximum of 17 swimmers in the competition.
Georgia is the only squad in the 70-team field with 17 swimmers. California and Texas A&M each have 16, while Florida has 14. A total of 281 swimmers have been invited to the national meet.
Nine Lady Bulldogs will swim the maximum three individual events at the NCAAs: Hali Flickinger, Brittany MacLean, Melanie Margalis, Jordan Mattern, Amber McDermott, Olivia Smoliga, Shannon Vreeland, Annie Zhu and Rachel Zilinskas. Lauren Harrington, Maddie Locus, Shannon O'Malley, Chantal Van Landeghem and Nicole Vernon will compete in two each, while Olivia Boggs, Emily Cameron and Courtney Peters will swim in one apiece. A swimmer also may compete in up to four relays at the NCAAs.
"We're looking forward to having a full squad at the NCAAs," said Harvey Humphries, Georgia's Senior Associate Head Coach. "Our depth hopefully will put us in position to score some valuable points, plus we'll have some options with our relays. In this meet, just like the SECs, every point is so critical. This team has worked hard to get here, and we can't wait to get to Minneapolis.
"The reason our kids tend to do well at meets like the NCAAs and the SECs is that they're really good about not worrying about what others are doing. We always prepare to do the best we can. That's what we can control. If we do that, everything else takes care of itself."
Three Lady Bulldogs own the nation's fastest time in one of their events: MacLean in the 1,650 freestyle, Margalis in the 200 individual medley and Smoliga in the 50 freestyle. Georgia also has the country's top efforts this year in the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays and the 200 medley relay.
The Lady Bulldogs will have two seniors, eight juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen at the NCAAs.
Ann-Perry Blank, Ansley Long, Darcie O'Brien and Laura Ryan will be representing Georgia next week in the Zone B Championships in Greensboro, N.C. The Lady Bulldogs may add up to two divers for the NCAAs depending on their finishes at the Zone meet.
Georgia won national championships in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2013.
The Lady Bulldogs won their fifth straight team title at the SECs last month in Athens.
The meet selections for the men's NCAAs will be announced next week.