The last home competition for the 19th ranked men’s and the 16th ranked women’s swimming and diving teams took place Saturday at the Student Aquatic Center. It was senior day, and the six male seniors and six female seniors were honored prior to the start of the event.
The team that set out to foil the festivities was the highly ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Despite Tennessee’s efforts to keep the competitoin close the men fell by a score of 138-103 and the women lost 141-102. However, both teams achieved personal goals heading into the final stretch of the season.
On the men’s side, Georgia took an early lead in the diving portion of the event and pulled away during the distance competitions. Despite the loss, the Tennessee coaching staff saw impressive results in the Aqua Vols’ output.
“Michael Muscari accomplished a career-best in the one meter (with a score of 307.35),” coach Dave Parrington said.
In the 400 medley relay, the team of Michael Wolfe, Michael Russo, Andrew Engle and Octavio Alesi won with a time of 3:18.81, beating Georgia’s time of 3:20.17. Georgia was able to close the gap in the last two legs of the relay, but Tennessee still came up with the win.
Adding to their success in relay events, the men also did well in freestyle competition. Sophomore Nolan Morrell won the 200-yard freestyle and Alesi won the 50-yard freestyle. A key moment occurred in the 200-yard individual medley when Wolfe was overtaken close to the end for first by Georgia’s Nathan Bibliowicz. Tennessee had the overall lead at the time but missed out on the event’s first-place points. Wolfe still had a great time but was up against stiff competition.
The Lady Swim Volunteers also put up a fight by hanging close to Georgia, leaving swimming coach Matt Kredich with only positive things to say about the graduating class.
“I think for the entire season you can look at every meet and find something we did better,” Kredich said. “You can see that in the way Brittany Fulmer finished with a career best in the one meter, as well as the way that Ashley Yeager competed. She had a really solid 1,000-y and one of her best 200 backstrokes. Tiffany Clay and Megan Tomes were just outstanding on the relay and really battled in their individual events. Liz Christy really performed well in the relay competitions as well.”
Junior Lauren LeRoy continued her winning ways by sweeping the diving events. She has won nine of the 16 diving events that have taken place this season. Diving coach Dave Parrington said his team was well prepared for the event and was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We had expectations where we were expected to do well on the diving to help the team and we lived up to that today,” Parrington said.
Michele King and Christine Magnuson had a strong day for the Lady Volunteers, as well. Magnuson helped the women’s 400-yard medley relay team come back by regaining the lead in the third leg, and King finished the event off by pulling away even further from the Bulldogs and helping the entire team set a provisional qualifying mark of 3:42.57.
King later went on to win the 50-yard freestyle and obtained another provisional with a time of 23.30. Magnuson had a great 200-yard butterfly time, easily taking the event due to her ability to spread her arms out wider to obtain more speed than her opponents.
Though the distance events were a problem for the women, the events the Volunteers have been strong in all year continued to be a plus for UT. Their performances showed that both Tennessee teams will be forces to be reckoned with in the upcoming SEC Championship.