ATLANTA, Ga. -- Olivia Smoliga highlighted Georgia’s efforts with an NCAA record during the NCAA Championships on Thursday at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the Georgia Tech campus.
After the second night of competition, Georgia leads the meet with 174 points. California sits in second with 144.5 points, followed by Southern California (121.5), Texas A&M (118) and Virginia (110.5).
"I’m stunned with today," Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle said. "We thought we would be in maybe fourth or fifth place if we swam well, but we swam exceedingly well. Very rarely to you out-do what you think you can, but we did it today."
Smoliga won the 50 freestyle in 21.21, setting a new NCAA and pool record and bettering her own school record. The previous record was 21.27 and was held by Lara Jackson.
“The 50 is just a start, a turn and a finish and a lot of the time, it’s a crap-shoot but I’m happy that I came out on top,” Smoliga said.
Cal won the NCAA championship in the 200 freestyle relay for the second consecutive year as Farida Osman, Kristen Vredeveld, Valerie Hull and Amy Bilquist clocked in with a time of 1:26.80. Initially, it appeared Cal placed second, but apparent winner Stanford was disqualified for an early exchange and the Bears moved up to the top spot.
Georgia's team of Smoliga, Kylie Stewart, Meaghan Raab and Emily Cameron earned a bronze trophy in 1:27.53.
Stanford quickly regrouped after its DQ behind a record-setting performance from Ella Eastin, who broke every record available in her first individual final at the national championships. The Irvine, Calif., native set the American, NCAA, school, meet and pool records with a finish of 1:26.65 in the 200-yard individual medley. She was second after the fly and back, but propelled ahead in the breast and pulled away with a 26.94 split in the free.
Brittany MacLean led the charge for Georgia in the 500 freestyle, finishing second in 4:33.05 while teammate Hali Flickinger finished third in 4:33.35. Virginia’s Leah Smith, who set the NCAA record at last year’s championships, set a pool record of 4:31.33 with her victory.
Stanford ended the night with another American and NCAA record. The 400 medley relay team of Ally Howe, Sarah Haase, Janet Hu and Lia Neal broke their own American and NCAA record by winning with a time of 3:26.14. Louisville,Virginia, Georgia and Southern California rounded out the top five in the event.