Feb. 8, 2011
By Jon Cooper
The Green Bay Packers weren’t the only ones who considered last Sunday “Super Sunday.”
Georgia Tech’s men’s and women’s swimming teams had a pretty good day themselves at the Virginia Tech Invitational. And even though nobody was running around yelling, “I’m going to Disney World,” there was still a lot to be happy about following the meet and a lot of happy Yellow Jackets. No one was happier than head coach Courtney Shealy Hart.
“We had a lot of season-bests and lifetime bests as well,” raved Hart. “They did a great job up there. I know they had to swim a few events close together in terms of time-wise, but I think they did a good job, had a great attitude about it and represented Georgia Tech very well.”
The events were fast-paced and so were the Jackets, especially freshman Jake Johnson and junior Johnnie Hermes.
Johnson earned a spot in a team-best four finals and chalked up top-five finishes in all of them, earning a second in the 100-yard backstroke in a time of 51.19, a third in the 100-free (45.58), a fourth in the 50-free (21.04), and a fifth-place in the 200-back (2:01.24).
Hart said that it was a reward for a season of hard work.
“We saw a lot of potential in Jake recruiting him out of high school,” said Hart. “He came to Georgia Tech and had a great attitude, worked really hard, in the swimming program as well as in the weight room and gained a lot of extra strength. He went into that meet very excited and it showed. All of his hard work paid off. Jake Johnson’s future at Georgia Tech looks very bright. We’re very excited about that. I knew Jake was going to do some great things for us as well as other people.”
Hermes also was outstanding, winning the 400-IM (4:00.44), finishing second in the 200-IM (1:53.23) and winning the 200-breast prelim (2:02.37), setting season-bests in all three, the latter a lifetime best.
“He did a great job,” said Hart. “[His] 200 breast was a lifetime best time, so we were very excited about that.”
But Tech’s effort was far from just a two-man effort.
“Brian Robbins (who was second in the 200-fly, fourth in the 100-fly) also did a good job,” she said. “We had two gentlemen, Ben Shepperd (third in the 50-free) and Nick Colletti, that went up there and got sick and still swam, Hillary [Yarosh] was our only female to go up there, she did a great job (competing in two finals). Colin Schouten (first in the 200-fly, second in the 500-free) had some lifetime best times, so we were very happy with him. Mike Vallecoccia (second in the 200-free, fifth in the 500-free, third in the 200-back) as a senior went out on a best time in the 200 backstroke and Shea Morgan (third in the 500-free and 20-fly) did a good job for us as well. That pretty much covers everybody. They all did a good job.”
Hart believes the meet will be a momentum-builder as they head into the ACC Championships, which will be at the GT Aquatic Center, beginning with the women’s championships, Feb. 16-19, and concluding a week later with the men’s.
“We told that whole squad going up [to Blacksburg] that they were going to set us up for ACCs in a way because everybody will be watching how they do,” she said. “If they do a good job, hopefully the whole team will follow suit at the ACCs. I think they’re very happy with their results from Virginia Tech. I think the team is very excited to see how they did and hope that momentum will roll over into the next two weeks.”