UT men, women pull double upsets of Georgia in pool

The five-year-old Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center has played host to a lot of memorable swimming and diving events, including competitions and training involving Olympic gold medalists.

Saturday may have been the most memorable day of all, however, at least as far as the University of Tennessee men's and women's teams are concerned. And it came at the expense of an Olympic gold medalist.

With 2012 Olympic 200-meter freestyle champion Allison Schmitt of Georgia shut out in her three individual races, the No. 11 Lady Vols stunned the No. 2 Lady Bulldogs, 161-139.

The victory was the first for the UT women against the perennial SEC women's power since Nov. 3, 1989.

"It's like such a long time coming," said an excited senior Kelsey Floyd, who won the 200-yard butterfly (1 minute, 56.32 seconds) and the 100 fly (52.51). "Since freshmen year, this meet is of such importance to us. We have such competition in Georgia and a great rivalry."

Schmitt, a redshirt senior, was edged by UT junior Lindsay Gendron (1:44.63) in the 200 freestyle, and then lost to Faith Johnson (49.71) in the 100 free. In her final individual event, the 500 free, she finished third to Gendron (4:44.04).

The unranked UT men also enjoyed a 161.5-132.5 victory over the No. 12 Bulldogs on what was senior day for Jordan Mauney, Contantin Rondot, Brent Sterling and Ed Walsh of the men and Lady Vols Floyd, Jodie McGroarty, Sloane Pitman, Caroline Simmons and Brooke Watson.

Matt Kredich, who is in his first year as the combined men's and women's coach, was extremely pleased with his two teams' victories.

"This is a huge win for us," he said. "That (Georgia) is a fantastic program with a great tradition. For us to be able to go toe to toe with them, it means a lot."

Tennessee won all the relays and also had individual wins from Molly Hannis in the 200 breaststroke (2:11.47) and 100 breast (1:00.89), from Johnson in the 50 free (22.47), and from Lauren Solernou in the 100 backstroke (54.55) for the women.

Individual wins for the UT men came from Sam Rairden in the 200 free (1:37.74) and 100 free (43.97), Sean Lehane in the 200 backstroke (1:44.69) and 100 back (48.57), Ed Walsh in the 50 free (19.99), and Oystein Hetland in the 100 fly (48.81).

For Walsh, the excitement over the team and individual wins was compounded by the fact he is a senior.

"It's really emotional," he said. "It's been a great four years here at Tennessee."

In diving, Sterling won the men's 1-meter springboard (348.23 points) and the 3-meter (349.05), while McGroarty won the 3-meter (343.50).

"I was very pleased," said UT diving coach Dave Parrington. "It's an emotional day when we've got as many senior divers as we do."

Despite the team and individual losses for Schmitt, she remained upbeat after the meet as she reflected on her Olympic experiences.

"I still don't think it has really sunk in what I accomplished," she said. "It's definitely different getting back into the swing of things."

The Michigan resident, who also won four other medals in relays at London, said she has actually not taken much training time off since the Olympics.

"I guess the week afterward I didn't swim, but since then I've been swimming this season and the whole school year," she said.

She added that she hopes to try for the Olympics again in 2016.

John Shearer is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 1

budd#207344 writes:

Great win and a sign that the job can be done well. Great job Coach Kredich.

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