March 23, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. --- Led by National Coach of the Year Jack Bauerle, the Georgia women's swimming and diving team claimed the team title at the NCAA Championships on Saturday at the IUPUI Natatorium.
Bridesmaids to California the last two seasons, the Lady Bulldogs rolled up 477 points to eclipse the Golden Bears' 393.
"I am just so proud of this group of young ladies," Bauerle said. "They were determined to reach this goal from the first day of workouts and they never deviated from the plan. A team that works that hard and has that kind of discipline deserves success. This team is made up of a bunch of fighters, and they never flinched and they never backed down.
"I want our ladies to enjoy every moment of this. This is something that few student-athletes get to enjoy. This is as special as it gets. As long as I coach, I'll always want this for my squads because I know how good it feels and how it impacts the rest of their lives. This is something that can never be taken away. It's a pretty neat legacy."
"It's almost impossible to describe how incredible this feels," senior Allison Schmitt said. "We all love being a part of a team, and winning a team title means so much more than any individual title ever could. I am blessed to be a member of this team. This is a night that I will never, ever forget."
The title is the fifth in the program's history. Georgia won in 1999, 2000 (also in Indianapolis), 2001 and 2005, giving Bauerle-led teams titles in three different decades.
Bauerle was chosen as the National Coach of the Year for the sixth time. He earned previous honors in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005 and 2006. Earlier this year, Bauerle was selected as the SEC Coach of the Year for the 14th time after leading the Lady Bulldogs to the conference title.
Georgia punctuated its victory by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay and breaking the NCAA and U.S. Open records. The team of Shannon Vreeland, Chantal Van Landeghem, Schmitt and Megan Romano stopped the clock in 3:09.40, eclipsing the 3:09.88 set by Cal in 2009.
Romano claimed second in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 47.37 to pace Georgia. Schmitt came in fifth in 48.04, followed by Vreeland in seventh at 48.41. Van Landeghem won the consolation final for ninth in 48.21.
In platform diving, Laura Ryan came in fifth with 294.65 points.
Kelsey Gaid placed 15th in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:55.39.
The national title is the 39th in Georgia history for all sports. Gymnastics leads with 10, followed by men's tennis with eight, and swimming and diving, women's tennis and equestrian with five each.