ATHENS, Ga. – Powered by a pair of SEC individual titles, the University of Georgia women’s swimming and diving team vaulted to second place at the 2021 SEC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships Thursday evening at Gabrielsen Natatorium.
With 10 individual scoring performances on day two, Georgia leapt from 11th place to second with 365 points, trailing only Florida at 448 points. The Bulldogs lead a tight group of challengers to the Gators, with only 40 points separating second and seventh place on the leaderboard.
Senior Courtney Harnish earned her third-consecutive gold medal in the 500 freestyle, pulling away for a dominant winning time of 4:35.33, taking the race by over three seconds. Harnish’s A-cut was a personal-best time and ranks third in school history and second in the nation this season. Along with the three-peat in the 500, Harnish has won a league title in each of her four seasons, having prevailed in the 1,650 freestyle in her freshman season. Sophomore Jillian Barczyk (4:56.56) and senior Olivia Anderson (4:46.25) also reached the A final, while junior Maddie Homovich placed 14th overall.
“I did it for the team,” said Harnish following the race. “We are in a dogfight right now. I just wanted to put us in a good position, so I am happy that I did that.”
In the 200 IM, sophomore Zoie Hartman notched the third SEC individual title of her career with a season-best B-cut of 1:53.68, the third-fastest time in the nation. Senior Danielle Della Torre narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place time of 1:55.74. Earlier in prelims, Della Torre set a new personal-best time of 1:55.29, moving up to fourth place in program history. Senior Sammie Burchill and juniors Portia Brown, Dakota Luther, and Callie Dickinson also scored for the Bulldogs, with Burchill, Brown, and Luther setting new PRs.
“I feel very accomplished and I am super excited to go into NCAAs,” said Hartman following the race. “I was really hoping for a better time, but I know I can get there for NCAAs.”
Freshman Maxine Parker led Georgia in the 50 freestyle, finishing fourth with a personal-best B-cut of 21.93, moving up to eighth all-time on the program list. Senior Gabi Fa’amausili placed sixth with a time of 22.09, while junior Tatum Smith scored with a time of 22.77. Fa’amausili and Parker later teamed with Della Torre and Hartman to post a fifth-place B-cut time of 1:28.61 in the closing 200 freestyle relay.
In the diving competition, senior Zach Allen garnered valuable early points for the Georgia men with a sixth-place score of 342.55 in the 1-meter finals. Allen earned the same placement in prelims with a mark of 331.85, helping him reach a career-high finish at SECs. In the women’s 3-meter, junior Tally Brown scored for the second-straight day, finishing 22nd overall with a mark of 251.30.
Georgia continues the SEC Championships tomorrow with eight events: the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, women’s platform, men’s 3-meter, and 400 medley relay. Swimming prelims start at 10 a.m., followed by finals at 6 p.m., while diving prelims begin at noon and finals open at 7 p.m. Each session will be streamed live on SEC Network+.
1. Florida, 448
2. Georgia, 365
3. Alabama, 357
4. Tennessee, 348
5. Kentucky, 343
6. Texas A&M, 334
7. Arkansas, 325
8. Missouri, 253
9. LSU, 198
10. Auburn, 188
11. South Carolina, 145
12. Vanderbilt, 94
Gold: Courtney Harnish, Georgia
Silver: Kristen Stege, Tennessee
Bronze: Peyton Palsha, Arkansas
Gold: Zoie Hartman, Georgia
Silver: Vanessa Pearl, Florida
Bronze: Alexis Yager, Tennessee
Gold: Kalia Antoniou, Alabama
Silver: Cora Dupre, Alabama
Bronze: Katelyn Mack, Florida
Gold: Charlye Campbell, Texas A&M
Silver: Aimee Wilson, Texas A&M
Bronze: Ashley McCool, Florida
1-meter Springboard (Men)
Gold: Juan Celaya-Hernandez, LSU
Silver: Kurtis Mathews, Texas A&M
Bronze: Carlo Lopez, Missouri
200 Freestyle Relay