Courtney Harnish, a sophomore freestyle and butterfly swimmer from York, Pennsylvania, competes in the 800 yard freestyle relay during the evening session on the first day of competition at the SEC Swim and Dive Championships on Feb. 19, 2019 at the Gabrielson Natatorium in Athens, Georgia. Competition will continue in sessions until Saturday. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

Georgia sophomore Courtney Harnish delivered the standout performance of the second day of the SEC championships in Athens by recording the nation’s best time in the women’s 500 freestyle. Harnish’s career-best time of 4:35.52 was the cornerstone of a solid second day for the Georgia swimming and diving teams at the Gabrielsen Natatorium.

“We really swam lights-out tonight,” head coach Jack Bauerle said. “I am not sure where things are going to land at the end because this is a heck of a conference and one heck of a conference meet. I really think we got just about the most we could have gotten on both sides. I am proud of the way our kids competed throughout the day. We are looking forward to competing [Thursday].”

In the women’s 500 freestyle, Jordan Stout stopped the clock at 4:41.16 for a new career-best in an 11th place overall finish. Meryn McCann set a new career-best time of 4:38.06, the seventh-best time in the nation. The result also saw McCann post the 10th-fastest 500 time in school history.

The Georgia women remained in fourth place for the second consecutive day, as they now stand on 334.5 points. Texas A&M (441.5), Tennessee (393.5), and Florida (388.5) lead the pack heading into Thursday. The Bulldog men sit in seventh, a stark improvement from their 10th-place finish yesterday, with 267 points and within touching distance of leaders Missouri (378), Florida (353.5), and Texas A&M (344).

Junior Javier Acevedo set a new career-best in the men’s 200 individual medley with a time of 1:43.29, the fifth-best mark in school history. He placed third in the event. Acevedo was optimistic about the Bulldogs’ chances to find success in the back end of the five-day meet following a promising start, despite what the scores may lead some to believe.

“We’re right in the middle of this,” Acevedo said. “We have some of our best swimmers and best events coming up…this is one of our better, if not our best start in a while, and we’re right in the hunt of this meet.”

The SEC championships will continue on Thursday with the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, and the men’s 3-meter springboard. The preliminary races will start at 10 a.m., with finals slated to begin at 6 p.m.

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