ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Georgia women opened the NCAA Championships in record-setting fashion on Wednesday at the MacAuley Aquatic Center on the Georgia Tech campus by winning the 800 freestyle relay.
The Lady Bulldogs won the event as Hali Flickinger, Kylie Stewart, Meaghan Raab and Brittany MacLean reached the wall in 6:51.80. Georgia topped Southern Cal’s 6:53.84 and California’s 6:55.18.
"That really sets the tempo for the week," Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle said. "Winning is important, but swimming well is equally important. All four ladies swam their fastest time ever and it took every bit of that to win. It looks like that’s how the meet will go. It’s the toughest relay. It takes smarts and strategy, and we toughed it out and we earned it."
Flickinger, Stewart, Raab and MacLean broke the school record, eclipsing the 6:52.64 established in 2013 by Shannon Vreeland, Megan Romano, Jordan Mattern and Allison Schmitt. They also broke the pool record of 6:58.82 set by Texas A&M in the third of four heats on Wednesday. The previous mark of 7:00.93 was set in 2015 by Virginia.
Flickinger led off in 1:42.80, the fifth-fastest time in school history.
The Lady Bulldogs have 40 points after one day of competition, followed by Southern Cal with 34, Cal with 32, Virginia with 30 and Texas A&M with 28.
Georgia has won the 800 freestyle relay eight times, including 2013 when MacLean swam the third leg.
The win extended Georgia's streak of at least one male or female individual or relay winning an NCAA title. That run began in 1995.