Oct. 16, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- The Georgia swimming and diving teams will open the dual-meet portion of the 2012-13 schedule on Wednesday in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. The meet will begin at 4 p.m.
"We're all very excited to get the season started," Georgia coach Jack Bauerle said. "As coaches, we're anxious to see them get up on the blocks and go against some competition. It's like a football team coming out of camp; you can't wait to hit someone besides your own teammates. We've been training really well, but it's time to race somebody else. First meets can be a great equalizer because you're a little rusty and there are always some surprises, but that's an important part of the process."
Bauerle is beginning his 34th season coaching the Lady Bulldogs and his 30th with the Bulldogs. His Lady Bulldogs have won 17 of the last 18 season openers, including 10 in a row.
"The first meet of the season is always very exciting because we haven't raced as a team since March," Lady Bulldogs senior Kelsey Gaid said. "It's even more exciting that we get to start the season racing our in-state rivals and show everyone what we have been training for in the offseason. We have big goals to reach as a team this season and a win against Tech on Wednesday would be a great start."
Added Bulldogs senior Brett Roberson, "It's always exciting to start our season against an in-state rival like Georgia Tech. We will all be pumped up and ready to swim some fast times and hopefully bring home our first win of the season."
Wednesday's meet will mark the return of the Lady Bulldogs' Allison Schmitt, who earned five medals, including three golds, at the Olympics this summer. Schmitt redshirted last season to train for the Games. Schmitt is an 8-time NCAA and 5-time SEC champion. The Lady Bulldogs also boast Shannon Vreeland, an Olympic gold medalist and an 8-time NCAA champion, and Megan Romano, a 5-time NCAA champion and the American record holder in the 200-yard freestyle.
The Bulldogs will be led by Martin Grodzki, who won the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle titles at last season's NCAAs. Georgia also has Andrew Gemmell, a 2012 Olympian, and Nic Fink, who swept the SEC breaststroke events last season.
Georgia's diving efforts will be paced by juniors Ann-Perry Blank and Laura Ryan (a transfer from Indiana) and sophomore Bobby Chambless.
Georgia has seven Olympic swimmers on its rosters this year: Schmitt, Vreeland and Gemmell of the United States, Brittany MacLean of Canada, Yousef Alaskari of Kuwait, Matias Koski of Finland and Ediz Yildirimer of Turkey.
Bauerle has a personal winning streak against the Yellow Jackets as he is 26-0 all-time (17-0 coaching the women, 6-0 coaching the men and 3-0 as a Georgia swimmer).
Georgia Tech is coached by Courtney Shealy Hart, who was a 5-time NCAA and 19-time SEC champion for Georgia from 1997-2000. Said Bauerle, "She's done a great job at Georgia Tech and we are very proud of her."
The Lady Bulldogs also will be in action on Friday at Arkansas in the SEC opener. Friday's meet will begin at 3 p.m. Georgia has won 27 straight SEC meets dating back to the 2006-07 season. Georgia's home opener will be Thursday, Oct. 25, at 3 p.m., against Florida.