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Historic Day Caps GT Invite

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech swimming and diving competed in the final day of the GT Invite on Saturday. On the day, Christian Ferraro (200 fly, 1:40.33), Mert Kilavuz (1650 free, 14:42.62) and Berke Saka (200 back, 1:40.89) set new program records.

“I am super pleased with how our women and men performed this weekend at the Georgia Tech Invite. We had fantastic energy all three days which produced nine zone cuts, 25 NCAA B cuts and an NCAA A cut by our swimmers and divers,” Toni M. and Richard L. Bergmark Swimming and Diving Head Coach Courtney Shealy Hart said. “It was great to see the fruits of their labors over the last several weeks and months. I’m looking forward to our winter training trip as well as next semester as we move into our championship season.”

In addition to the nine zone cuts, NCAA A cut and 25 NCAA B cuts, 32 new top 10 program times/scores were set, four top all-time times and 13 podium places were achieved over the three-day meet.

The NCAA A cut was achieved by Ferraro when he broke the program record during prelims of the 200 fly when he turned in a time of 1:40.33. He was 4.97 seconds ahead of his closest competitor. Ferraro defended his first place finish in prelims with another first place finish in the 200 fly final (1:40.97).

“Swimming both times under 1:41.00 at this time of the season is a really good place to be. It’s nice to get my A cut now. Most seasons I got them in ACCs or time trials after that. Getting the time now allows me to focus on being prepared for the ACCs and NCAAs,” Ferraro said of his performance.

Joining Ferraro in the 200 fly final was Antonio Romero. The freshmen continued the lore of the fabulous freshman class. Romero took home third place in the 200 fly (1:45.42). His time was good for eighth in program history. Romero also set top program times in the 400 IM (3:50.81, sixth) and 200 IM (1:46.52, fifth).

“I think the weekend went really well. It’s a measurement of how much work we’ve put in but at the end of the day this is only mid-season. There’s still half a season of training left. It’s cool to see the hard work the entire team has put in finally pay off,” Romero said. “You can see the trajectory that the team is going. This freshman class is insane. A bunch of freshmen set top ten times in program history. It goes to show what is up next.”

Competing in his Olympic event, Saka set the program record in the 200 back (1:40.89). His time in the event won the finals. Joining Saka, in rewriting to 200 back record book on Saturday was Kyle Barone whose time in the 200 back prelims (1:42.90) is good for fifth in program history.

“I was aiming for that record since I came here so I’m really happy with it,” Saka said. “It is a good thing to get the record so early. It was a fast mid-season. It’s been three months since I came here but it feels like three weeks.”

The last program record on the day set was by Kilavuz in the 1650 free (14:42.62). Much like the 1000 free record he broke on Nov. 5, this record has been held since 2003. Kilavuz kept pace with the 2020 Olympics gold medalist in the 1500 free through the first eight laps before starting to fall behind, ultimately placing in a safe second place.

“We are always doing to same thing,” Saka said of Kilavuz’s record setting night. “When I won the 200 IM at the European Junior Championships, he won the 1500 free right after me. We are always doing the same thing on the same day.”

Taking home the bronze medal in the third place finish in the 200 fly was McKenzie Campbell. She turned in a time of 1:56.90 in the event. This was her first time this season under the 1:57.00 mark. Joining her in the A – Final was Defne Taçyildiz who finished sixth (1:57.98) on the day.

With the arrival of Taçyildiz on The Flats, Campbell got a new training partner. “With Defne and Zora [Ripkova] joining my training group, I have been able to push myself racing them every day in practice. It has just made me a better swimmer,” Campbell said of her teammates contributions to her success.

Both the men’s and women’s diving competed on the platform on Saturday to great success. Anna Bradescu finished first on the platform while teammate Camryn Hidalgo finished second. Allen Mann took home second place on the platform showing the phenomenal freshman extended to the diving well.

“My day went really well,” Mann said of his performance. “I’m very happy with how I dove on platform especially for it being mid-season and our first platform event. My dives can go a little better so that’s exciting. For mid-season, I’m exactly where I want to be.”

Nine zone qualifying scores were achieved at the meet:

  • Camryn Hidalgo (1-meter, 284.90)
  • Ruben Lechuga (1-meter, 329.55)
  • Allen Mann (3-meter, 346.20)
  • Camryn Hidalgo (3-meter, 355.95)
  • Carmen Woodruff (3-meter, 285.80)
  • Ruben Lechuga (3-meter, 391.55)
  • Allen Mann (Platform, 317.80)
  • Anna Bradescu (Platform, 282.00)
  • Camryn Hidalgo (Platform, 267.70)

For the meet, these are all the NCAA B cuts:

  • Antonio Romero (200 fly, 1:46.32; 200 IM, 1:45.29; 400 IM, 3:50.81)
  • Austin Daniel (50 free, 19:92)
  • Batur Ünlü (100 free, 43.53; 200 free, 1:33.29; 500 free 4:17.38)
  • Berke Saka (100 back, 46:77; 200 back, 1:40.89; 200 IM 1:45.29)
  • Christian Ferraro (50 free, 19.64; 100 fly, 45.61)
  • Clark Wakeland (500 free, 4:19.17)
  • Claudia Butterfield (100 breast, 1:00.90; 200 breast, 2:13.62)
  • Defne Taçyildiz (200 fly, 1:57.98)
  • Justin Alderson (50 free, 19:92; 100 breast, 53:45)
  • Kyle Barone (200 back, 1:42.90)
  • Leandro Odorici (100 breast, 53.98)
  • McKenzie Campbell (200 fly, 1:56.90; 400 IM, 4:12.63)
  • Mert Kilavuz (500 free, 4:17.59; 1650 free, 14:42.62)
  • Zora Ripkova (100 fly, 53:52)

For the meet, these are all the top program times/scores that were achieved:

  • Abby Cohen (Sixth, 400 IM)
  • Allen Mann (Sixth, Platform)
  • Antonio Romero (Fifth, 200 IM; Sixth 400 IM; Eighth, 200 fly)
  • Berke Saka (First, 200 back; Third, 100 back; Third, 200 IM)
  • Christian Ferraro (First, 200 fly)
  • Clarissa Sabin (Fifth, 100 breast)
  • Claudia Butterfield (First, 100 breast; Fourth, 200 breast)
  • Defne Taçyildiz (Eighth, 400 IM)
  • Emily Graham (Sixth, 100 breast)
  • Justin Alderson (Fourth, 100 breast)
  • Kyle Barone (Fifth, 200 back)
  • Leandro Odorici (Ninth, 100 Breast)
  • Mert Kilavuz (First, 1650 free; Second 500 free)
  • Rachel Fulton (Second, 50 free)
  • Zora Ripkova (Second, 100 fly; Sixth, 100 free; Ninth, 50 free)
  • Ripkova, Fulton, Murphy, Switzer (Fifth, 400 free relay)
  • Ünlü, Daniel, Odorici, Ferraro (Fourth, 400 free relay)
  • Dirkzwager, Butterfield, Ripkova, Murphy (10th, 200 medley relay)
  • Saka, Kertesz, Ferraro, Ünlü (Fifth, 400 medley relay)
  • Ferraro, Kertesz, Saka, Alderson (Seventh, 200 free relay)
  • Fulton, Ripkova, Graham, Murphy (Second, 200 free relay)
  • Ripkova, Murphy, Kuramoto, Switzer (Eighth, 800 free relay)
  • Ünlü, Saka, Wakeland, Kertesz (10th, 800 free relay)
  • Williams, N. Williams, Merk, Pape (Eighth, 400 medley relay)

For the meet, the podium places were:

  • Allen Mann (Second, Platform)
  • Anna Bradescu (First, Platform)
  • Antonio Romero (Third, 200 fly)
  • Batur Ünlü (Second, 200 free)
  • Camryn Hidalgo (First, 3-meter)
  • Camryn Hidalgo (Second, Platform)
  • Christian Ferraro (First, 100 fly)
  • Christian Ferraro (First, 200 fly
  • Camryn Hidalgo (Third, 1-meter)
  • Mert Kilavuz (Second, 1650 free)
  • Ruben Lechuga (Second, 1-meter)
  • Ruben Lechuga (Third, 3-meter)
  • Ünlü, Saka, Wakeland, Kertesz (Third, 800 free relay)

The next meet for the White and Gold comes on Saturday, Dec. 18 at the McAuley Aquatic Center. Admission to the meet is free.

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The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

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