UGA captures swimming title

Georgia Sports Communications

The UGA womens swimming and diving team locked up the program’s fifth national championship last Saturday, beating California with ease 477-393 for the school’s first title since 2005.

The Lady Bulldogs showed the nation that their win was no fluke, setting an NCAA and U.S. Open record in the 400-yard freestyle relay. With a quartet of Shannon Vreeland, Chantal Van Landeghem, Megan Romano and 2012 Olympic gold-medalist Allison Schmitt, the Lady Dogs finished with a time of 3:09.40 to edge out the previous record set by California in 2009. The record was icing on the cake for the Lady Dogs after finishing second to California for the past two NCAA championships.

The Lady Dogs were the epitome of a team this season. Georgia has high hopes to repeat next year as long as the team can implement the same team-first mentality.

“I think the thing we need to focus on mostly is just the team aspect of it all,” said junior Ann Perry Blank, a platform diving specialist. “I think that was honestly the real reason we won is because we came together as a team and we fought really hard for each other. I mean the physical part of it is there: we practice everyday, we lift (weights) all the time. I think if we just keep the team aspect, we’ll be good.”

In addition to the national championship trophy, head coach Jack Bauerle was selected as the National Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career.

Georgia will not officially return to the pool to compete as a team until next October. In the meantime, Bauerle and the team can sit back and reflect on their monumental achievement.

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