Georgia swimmers cheer on teammates. The Georgia Swimming and Diving team hosted Texas A&M University in their first dual meet of the new year on Jan. 11, 2019 in the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Georgia. Both the Georgia Women and Men defeated their opponents. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

Something about the energy inside Gabrielsen Natatorium on Saturday morning was different.

It was Georgia’s first home meet of the season, and it exceeded any expectations. With a chance for the Bulldogs to showcase their talents before championships at home, they did not disappoint.

The Georgia swimming and diving team swept Texas A&M in a couple of tight finishes, finding great success in the sidelines when the team needed it most.

It came down to the last event, the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay, which sealed the win for Georgia. The Bulldogs topped the Aggies with a time of 2:58.56 over 2:58.67, all the while using their D relay.

“It was a rush,” Walker Higgins said. “All of the guys were locked in and on the same page. If every swim meet was like that, I would be ecstatic. It would be great.”

Throughout the whole race, the Georgia team was right there with the men’s relay, cheering and encouraging them to keep going strong.

“It is a huge confidence boost,” Higgins said. “It goes from feeling nervous to feeling a group mentality that you can get on board with. I thought our moral and group energy was the best I have ever seen while I have been here.”

Just after the announcer proclaimed a Georgia victory and the results appeared on the screens, chants and the Bulldog bark echoed throughout Gabrielsen Natatorium.

“The relay that won was right in front of us,” Andrew Abruzzo said. “Before they dive in, we were able to cheer with them which is something we do not normally get. They are usually in the middle. That gave everyone more energy. It was definitely my favorite dual meet since I have been in college.”

Georgia now gained the momentum just in time for an eventful couple of months and eventually championship season.

“It was a big upset,” head coach Jack Bauerle said. “Our guys and ladies have a heart and soul to them, which is fun.”

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