KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee swimming and diving squads upset the No. 2 Georgia women and No. 12 Georgia men in a thrilling senior day at Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.
The Lady Vols ousted previously undefeated Georgia 161-139 while the Vols earned their team win by a similar score of 161.5-132.5 in the final home combined dual meet of the regular season.
“Georgia is a fantastic program with great tradition, and for us to be able to go toe to toe with them it means a lot,” Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich said. “It’s also a tribute to our seniors and the leaders on our team who just led the way [Saturday]. The team that showed up for us is the team we’ve had all year long blossoming into what we were [Saturday].”
Saturday’s victory was historic for the Lady Vols, marking the team’s first win against Georgia since Nov. 3, 1989. The 11th-ranked Lady Vols stayed unbeaten with a 7-0 (2-0 SEC) record.
Junior Lindsay Gendron beat out Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt on her way to winning the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. Senior Kelsey Floyd swept the 100 and 200 butterfly to stay perfect this year in those events while Molly Hannis kept up her season-long winning streak in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Freshman Faith Johnson continued her steady improvement by winning the 50 and 100 freestyle races.
For the UT men, the win was a complete turnaround from its loss on the road against Virginia Tech. The Vols (4-3, 2-0) put forth a strong effort in every race, including 1-2-3-4 finishes in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races.
The Vols boasted a trio of two-event winners: junior Samuel Rairden in the 100 and 200 freestyle faces, freshman Sean Lehane in the 100 and 200 backstroke and senior Brent Sterling in the 1- and 3-meter springboard competitions.
Senior Ed Walsh pitched in by winning the 50 freestyle (in less than 20 seconds), then finishing behind Rairden to take second in the 100 freestyle.
The seven of Tennessee’s seniors — Floyd, Brooke Watson, Caroline Simmons and Jodie McGroarty for the women, and Walsh, Sterling and Jordan Mauney for the men — all contributed points toward the Rocky Top sweep.
“The way we swam [Saturday] is the vision that I carry of this team,” Kredich said. “As coaches, we have to see them for what they are capable of doing and then guide them toward that. [Saturday], the coaches didn’t have to do too much guiding. The team really took over.
“The way we performed [Saturday] was certainly not a surprise at all. It sure was great to see though.”