Swimmers prepare to compete in the men 200 yard freestyle during a swim meet between the University of Georgia and the University of Texas in Athens, Georgia, Saturday, January 14, 2017. (Photo/Austin Steele, info@asteelephoto.us)

Georgia swimming and diving has no time to dwell on a devastating loss to Texas or walk-in-the-park victories over Tennessee and Division III Emory this past January.

Now with the calendar flipped a month to February, more important meets loom on the upcoming schedule.

The Southeastern Conference Championships will go from Feb. 14-18 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the Bulldog Last Chance meet in Athens will start on Feb. 25 and end the next day.

The nerves are still there for head coach Jack Bauerle despite this being his 36th time coaching the SEC Championship for the women's team and the 33rd time coaching the men's team.

"I always get nervous," Bauerle said. "I'm just nervous for them, I want them to have a great experience. I'm not nervous about what our effort will be. I think that's already set in stone. Whatever we do, that will be the best we can do."

The Georgia women (8-1, 4-0 SEC) will attempt to take home a SEC title for the seventh time in eight seasons. The Bulldogs’ streak of six championships in a row was snapped last year by Texas A&M.

“We really just have to keep our heads down and fight during practice right now,” senior Olivia Smoliga said on Jan. 14.

It is a completely different story for the Bulldog men (7-1, 3-0 SEC). The Georgia men’s team has not won an SEC Championship since the 1954-1955 season under B.W. ‘Bump’ Gabrielsen, who the natatorium at Georgia is named after.

The women’s team has the experience to start a new streak of SEC Championships. The Bulldogs will be anchored by SEC individual champions Smoliga, Chantal Van Landeghem, and diver Olivia Ball.

Smoliga has a plethora of individual titles at past SEC Championships. The senior has won the last three 50-yard freestyles, the past two 100 backstrokes and the 100 freestyle back in 2014. Van Landeghem took home the 50 freestyle back in 2013. Ball won the 3-meter diving event with a score of 375.80 in 2015.

The Georgia men will also have a couple of SEC champions to boot in Knoxville later this February: Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland.

Litherland took home the 400-yard IM individual title last year and Kalisz won the 200 butterfly back in 2015.

While this will be one of the many SEC Championship meets Bauerle and the older swimmers on the team have been a part of, it is the first meet for a handful of swimmers as well.

Chelsea Britt, a transfer from Florida State, will be swimming in her first SEC Championship meet this upcoming week. When she was a Seminole, the ACC Championship was split up into two meets with the women swimming in one and the men swimming in another.

The SEC Championship is a combined meet, though.

"I'm excited, it's my first SEC [Championship] meet," Britt said. "It's going to be very different. The ACC splits it up. [The SEC Championship is] not girl and guys. That's going to be a little different. It's going to be a fast meet. I'm excited to go with this team.

After the SEC Championship meet comes the Bulldog Last Chance meet. While this meet will have no effect on Georgia’s record, it is crucial in regards to the NCAA Championships meet this March in Indianapolis, Indiana.

At the Bulldog Last Chance, swimmers will attempt to better their times and possibly add more NCAA qualifying times to their repertoire.

If a swimmer earns an A-cut, then they will automatically qualify in that event at the NCAA Championships. If a B-cut time is swam, then the swimmers will have a chance to swim that event at the NCAA Championships so long as the event has not been filled with all A-cut times, which rarely happens.

While swimmers can still earn these cuts at the SEC Championship, the focus for hitting those specific times will be at the Bulldog Last Chance meet, hence the name of the meet as the last time swimmers can qualify for NCAA Championships.

One similarity between both meets in February is this; both will prepare Georgia for the most important meet of the year: the NCAA Championship.

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