Camden Murphy, a sophomore butterfly specialist from Novi, Michigan, during finals on the evening of Feb. 21, 2019 in the Gabirelson Natatorium in Athens, Georgia. Murphy swam a new school record. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

The Georgia swimming and diving team faced off against several competitors this weekend at the annual Tennessee Invitational meet held in Knoxville, Tennessee. Aside from the Bulldogs and the hosting Volunteers, Indiana, UNC-Asheville, Virginia, Carson-Newman (D-II) and Tennessee Aquatics, a Knoxville non-collegiate club, all sent teams to compete.

The three-day, 57-event meet marked the end to the Bulldogs’ fall schedule of swimming and diving. To cap-off a 3-1 season for both the men’s and women’s teams, the Georgia men secured the overall victory in Knoxville while the women placed second behind Tennessee.

“We feel like we [have] something to build upon now,” head coach Jack Bauerle said following Saturday’s competition. “We’re not going to be a dominant team yet … but we are certainly going to be better than we were.”

Georgia swimmers had four individual victories and three from its divers, including junior Zach Allen’s sweep of the one and three-meter diving events. Multiple Bulldogs also set personal records and season-bests at the invitational.

Freshman Zoie Hartman recorded the fastest 100-yard breaststroke time (58:27) in women’s college swimming this season with her second-place finish on Friday. Although her time was fast enough to earn her the Georgia record for the event, Harmtan fell to 27-year-old USA Swimming team member Molly Hannis, who competed for Tennessee Aquatics.

“Zoie was Zoie tonight,” Bauerle said on Friday. “[It was an] incredible swim.”

Also on the women’s side, sophomore Dakota Luther competed in eight scoring events for the Bulldogs, notching 61.5 points in her individual butterfly and freestyle events, which included her win in the 200 butterfly (1:53.22).

According to CollegeSwimming.com, Hartman and Luther are fourth and eighth, respectively, across the SEC in total points earned this season.

As for the men, junior Camden Murphy secured 39 individual points, mostly from his victory in the 100 butterfly (45:36) and his second-place finish in the 200 (1:42.49). He also participated in four relays that finished in fourth place, each of which contributed 30 points to the Georgia men’s final tally of 961.

Other top Georgia scorers this weekend were sophomore Andrew Abruzzo, seniors Clayton Forde, Walker Higgins and Kevin Miller and junior Greg Reed. All are ranked in the top six in SEC scoring.

Freshmen Ian Grum and Harry Homans combined for 65 individual points. Their best performances were fourth-place finishes in the 200 backstroke and the 200 butterfly, respectively. The two now rank eighth and ninth in Georgia history in their respective event.

“They really stepped up,” Bauerle said. “We have a really great group of freshman guys — and girls, too.”

The diving team had one of its best performances of the season. Allen added 40 points through his sweep of the men’s springboard events and offered another 17 with a second-place score off the platform. 

His teammates, sophomore Hudson Coldren and junior Josh Getty, accumulated a combined total of 74 points in the diving well to support the winning effort. 

Meanwhile, senior McKensi Austin was .05 points shy of a victory in the women’s 3-meter springboard. She also placed second in the 1-meter and fourth in the platform dive. Fellow senior Freida Lim ran away with the women’s platform, outscoring the runner-up 261.60 to 218.50.

Sophomore divers Ellie Crump, Ambria D’Alonzo and freshman Raquel Mason all contributed double-digit points to the women’s final score of 984.5.

Some Bulldogs remained in Knoxville on Sunday to try to secure qualifying times for various championship competitions. 

Hartman had already qualified for spring’s NCAA championships with her 100-yard breaststroke time, and Murphy’s performances in the 100 and 200 butterfly were considered “B” cuts, enough to earn consideration for the NCAAs. Hartman and Murphy were one of several Bulldogs to “make the meet,” as Bauerle said. 

Georgia currently ranks second among SEC competition and won’t return to the pool until Jan. 11 when it takes on Texas A&M at home in Gabrielsen Natatorium.

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