On the final day of the Bulldog Invitational Last Chance Meet, Georgia swimmers reached a number of new career bests. Another chance to compete in the NCAA championships meet at the end of the month also arose for sophomore Jack Dalmolin.
Sunday’s second and last day of the meet brought over twenty new career-best times to the Georgia swimmers in the preliminary round and finals throughout the course of the day. The Bulldog Last Chance meet is also the last meet that Georgia will swim this season in their home pool at Gabrielsen Natatorium.
Only a week after the conclusion of the SEC championship frenzy, Georgia’s home pool took on a whole new demeanor at the qualifying meet over the weekend, with once-full bleachers only holding a few families and fans who came to cheer on their favorite Georgia swimmer.
In the Last Chance meet, only a few swimmers from each school, ranging from Hawaii to Florida State, competed in hopes of shaving down on career-beat times and qualifying for the national championships held in March.
After the SEC championships, several swimmers clinched A-cut times to automatically place into the NCAA meet, while others held onto a B-cut time and have the chance to compete in the national meet. For sophomore Jack Dalmolin, his performance in Sunday’s 200-yard breaststroke race held the potential to send him to NCAAs.
Finishing with a time just under the B-cut in prelims earlier in the day, Dalmolin came back in the evening to race again and beat his preliminary time by two seconds (1:54:21), placing him into the B-cut pool for the event in the NCAA meet.
“At SECs I swam [the 200 breaststroke] pretty well except for that last 50 there,” Dalmolin said. “I just took the week and talked to Jack [Bauerle] and Brian [Smith] and Harvey [Humphries] and we were trying to figure out how I could come home faster on that last 50 and I think we figured it out. I’m happy with the time.”
While the new career best for Dalmolin won’t guarantee him a spot in the race at nationals, head coach Jack Bauerle said he will bring Dalmolin with the team to the meet as an extra able body.
“I’m gonna take him with us because you’re allowed to have an alternate. He’s a very fast presser but he’s right behind James [Guest],” he said. ”But Jack’s gonna go to NCAA’s and it’s a pretty neat thing ... we wanna have as many good people there as we possibly can.”
He’s hopeful about how the rest his team will perform at the national meet and holds his swimmers to a high standard.
“We’re probably a top-15 team but we expect a lot out of ourselves at NCAAs,” Bauerle said. “We got some people I think with a lot of gas in the tank and that’s the trick going into this. It’s so hard to get in there–it’s hard to swim fast twice but I think we will.”