Oct. 12, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia swimming and diving teams will open their 2011-12 season on Friday with a dual meet against Georgia Tech at Gabrielsen Natatorium.
The meet will start at 5 p.m. and admission is free to Gabrielsen Natatorium inside the Ramsey Center.
“We’re really anxious to see them go,” said Coach Jack Bauerle, who is beginning his 33rd year overseeing the women and his 29th year piloting the men. “We stood them up and did some things fast last week just to get a sense of what we’ve got. There are always some surprises, and this one may be a little rough around the edges. Duals get us ready. We try to build as we go, get faster as we go, and have our optimal times at SECs and NCAAs.”
The Lady Bulldogs will be led on Friday by 2011 national champions Wendy Trott, Megan Romano, Shannon Vreeland and Melanie Margalis. Georgia also will unveil its 13-member freshman class.
The Lady Bulldogs, who are coming off an SEC championship and a runner-up finish at the NCAAs, have won 73 straight dual/tri meets at Gabrielsen Natatorium. The streak dates back to Nov. 8, 1995, when Georgia defeated Emory in the third meet ever at Gabrielsen Natatorium. All-time, the Lady Bulldogs are 74-1 at home.
“I would not want to be a visiting team at this pool,” senior Kristen Shickora said. “It does boost our confidence to keep the tradition going. Winning at Georgia really is a tradition. We hate to lose. And we think about the past teams and we want to help carry on the tradition as long as we can. ... This meet should be a lot of fun. With nine or 10 practices a week, to get up and race another team is a really cool feeling. It’s a chance to prove ourselves. And going against our instate rival gets the blood going for us.”
“We’ve talked about (the streak) already and then we’ll try not to talk about it again,” Bauerle said. “They know what’s going on. That said, everybody in the swimming community is well aware of it too and teams are gunning for us. Teams want to knock us off and our ladies don’t want to let it go.”
On the men’s side, the Bulldogs will be led by returning All-Americans Martin Grodzki, Andrew Gemmell, Jameson Hill, Peter Benner and Will Freeman. Georgia has nine members of its freshman class.
“The men’s teams match up really well,” Bauerle said. “This will probably be the closest meet we’ve had with them in a long, long time. It should be ultra-competitive.”
“With all the training we put in, it’s good to finally get in and race,” said Freeman, a sophomore native of Atlanta. “This should be a good competition. It’s a good standard to race when you’re tired. It’s also good to see the fruition of your hard work, which encourages you to keep working hard. At our team retreat, we all made goals to be more positive and encouraging. We’re all working hard and we’re encouraging each other to work hard. I’m pleased with the work we’ve done so far.”
“We’re super excited about starting,” senior Owen Blank said. “We’ve been training really hard and the practices have been going well. We’re expecting to put up some big numbers. It’s always a good meet against Tech.”
Georgia Tech is coached by Courtney Shealy Hart, who was a five-time national and 19-time SEC champion for Georgia from 1997-2000.
“I’m not sure what we did wrong to have her coach at Tech,” Bauerle said with a laugh. “We’ve very proud of her. She was a heck of a competitor and she knows what she’s doing.”
Bauerle will be trying to keep a personal streak of his own going against Georgia Tech as he boasts as an all-time mark of 24-0 (16-0 coaching the women, 5-0 coaching the men, 3-0 as a swimmer for the Bulldogs).