Nov. 24, 2013
THE FLATS – Thanks to wins on Sunday by Elliott Brockelbank and Anton Lagerqvist, the Georgia Tech men captured the 2013 GT Invitational title by knocking off No. 24 Tennessee and Florida Atlantic at the GT Aquatic Center. The women’s team finished third against a nine-team field.
The Yellow Jacket men accumulated 1,763 points over the three-day meet and took the title, beating out the ranked Volunteers (1,507 points) and FAU (1,045).
The ninth-ranked Tennessee women claimed the title on the women’s side with 1,136.5 points, followed by Florida Gulf Coast (1,040.5), Georgia Tech (938.5), Vanderbilt (716.5), James Madison (652), Miami (398.5), FAU (310), Clemson (146.5) and the College of Charleston (9).
“To come in after just resting a week and go against some good competition like Tennessee, who’s a top-25 team and go at them like that, it’s fun,” said head coach Courtney Shealy Hart. “It shows the work we’ve been doing this fall has paid off and it bodes well for the rest of the season.”
Brockelbank, who earlier this weekend won the 500 free, was the winner Sunday in the 1,650 free with his first career NCAA B-cut time. In a thriller that went down to the wire, Brockelbank edged Tennessee’s David Heron by .15 seconds in the mile as Tech’s junior posted a winning time of 15:21.94.
Tech, which kept the Vols at arm’s length all weekend, put things on ice during the men’s 200 fly, as junior Nico van Duijn led a Yellow Jacket sweep of the top three spots with his career-best and an NCAA B-cut time of 1:44.75. Freshman Ben Southern was second, also posting a B-cut in 1:47.49 and junior Mark Sarman was third (1:50.27).
“Top to bottom, our men swam very well this weekend,” said Hart. “Obviously Nico and Kosic had very good performances, but I was also very impressed with Elliott in the distance events, Southern had some strong swims as did Mark (Sarman). The goal was to put six very good sessions together, and I feel like we did that.”
Tech’s other individual win on Sunday came from Lagerqvist in the 200 breast, as the senior shaved two seconds off his morning swim and was two seconds clear of a pair of Vols to win the event in a time of 2:01.40. Classmate Andreas Nilsson was fourth (2:05.48).
On the weekend, the Tech men totaled eight individual victories in A-Finals, and won three relays. Kosic, van Duijn, Brockelbank and Southern accumulated eight NCAA B-cuts.
Tech continued an impressive weekend in the diving well, as freshman Madison Young won the platform diving competition with a score of 255.75 points. Fellow rookie Brad Homza finished second on the platform, posting a score of 374.35, which was just 1.55 points shy of the school’s record.
“Our divers had a great weekend overall,” said Hart. “Ashley won the 3m and set a school record yesterday, and Madison won the platform today. Brad has been solid, and Omar got his first taste of college action this weekend.”
For the women, Sara Williford got things started on Sunday with a sixth-place finish in the 1,650 free (16:48.91). Chiara Ruiu (50.80) and Hailey White (51.75) finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 100 free finals, after Ruiu posted the third-fastest time in the prelims of (51.24).
“Our women have been very consistent and they hung tough this weekend against some very good competition,” said Hart. “Tennessee is highly-ranked, FGCU is a very good program and we beat a Miami team this weekend that beat us last year. So I was proud of that.”
Also for the women, Darelle Cowley was clocked in 2:17.55 in taking fifth in the 200 breast. The Jackets’ 400 free relay of Ruiu, Erika Staskevicius, Katherine Clark and White finished the meet off with a third-place finish in a time of 3:25.27.
The Jackets will have a month off before returning to action Dec. 19 at Florida International.