Tennessee Swimming and Diving Takes Down Vanderbilt Women, Georgia Tech Men

Tess Cieplucha won the 400 IM. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The Tennessee swimming and diving teams split up Saturday as the men’s swimming and diving team competed against Georgia Tech and the women took on in-state rival Vanderbilt from the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center.

Team Scores

  • Men: Tennessee 181, Georgia Tech 119
  • Women: Tennessee 198, Vanderbilt 61

RESULTS (women)

Tennessee Swimming and Diving Press Release

The men’s squad opened the day against Georgia Tech, winning 12 of 16 events and got a three-win day from senior Alec Connolly.

The Knoxville native took wins in the 200 freestyle (1:37.28), 50 freestyle (20.21) and 100 freestyle (44.16) before closing out his day anchoring the 200 freestyle relay. The relay turned in a 1:20.10, the seventh-ranked relay nationally, with Connolly splitting at 19.47.

“It wasn’t an easy lineup for Alec today,” associate head coach Lance Asti said. “He showed his toughness and dug deep to keep getting to the wall first. I am really pleased with his day and where he is at to this point in the year.”

Taylor Abbott, Michael Houlie and Matthew Garcia each hit the wall first in two events with Abbott remaining unbeaten this season in distance races.

A senior from Cedar Park, Texas, Abbott opened the meet with a win in the 1650 free (15:01.36) and followed it up with a victory in the 500 free (4:29.55). On the weekend, Abbott brought home five race wins for UT.

“He has been a great performer all year for us,” Asti said. “He is seeing continued improvement in his races and gets better every time out, but is also helping to lead our younger guys and aiding in their development. Taylor is having a big year and we are excited to see where it ends up.”

Garcia picked up wins Saturday in the 100 backstroke (48.51), 200 backstroke (1:47.77) and swam leadoff for the Vols’ victorious 400 medley relay (3:12.72).

“He has been consistent,” Asti said. “He is consistent in his leadership, consistent in his training and consistent in the way he competes each week. Especially in the relay leg, that is a season best if I’m not mistaken. He keeps finding little things to improve on and keeps getting better.”

Houlie continued to flex his breaststroke prowess Saturday, taking home wins in the 100 and 200 breast. The sophomore stopped the clock in the 100 breast at 53.21 and in the 200 at 1:58.43.

“I told the guys that was one of the most fun fall dual meet seasons that we’ve had,” Asti said. “We competed at a higher level than we ever have against consistently tough competition. These guys are in a really good spot competitively and I am excited for the Tennessee Invite. We’re going to get a little bit of rest, put on the fast suits and we’re going to fly.”

Will Hallam had a solid meet against Georgia Tech on the diving side, finishing first on the 3-meter board with a score of 399.98, a new personal best. The junior placed second on 1-meter at 316.05.

“I was really impressed with Will,” diving coach Dave Parrington said. “It was good to see him come in on day two, I know he was a little tired coming in this morning but he had a very professional approach in everything we did. He was ready to perform today.”

The women hit the water against Vanderbilt in the second meet of the day, running a different lineup than usual, but showed their depth as the Lady Vols swept the Commodores, winning all 14 events.

Associate head coach Ashley Jahn said mixing up the lineup helps develop the team’s versatility and gives the coaching staff options in different events as UT continues to move towards championship season.

“It helps them with their versatility and figuring out race plans and getting an opportunity to play with some of the things they are working on in practice,” Jahn said. “For some, they were able to compete in events so we can make decisions on what they will swim at the invite. You don’t have the opportunity very often to swim a 400 IM so we were really thankful that Vanderbilt was interested in swimming a 400 today. That is a challenging race and sometimes the experience of swimming it unsuited can really help.”

Fourteen different Lady Vols won events Saturday, spearheaded by Mallory Beil who won the 50 free with a time of 23.64. Beil swam on both the 400 medley relay and 200 free relay, helping to earn two more victories for Tennessee.

“Mallory did great today,” Jahn said. “The win in the 50 free was phenomenal and she had an opportunity to exhibition the 100 fly and turned in a great performance there as well. She helped on both relays and it was really fun to see her take control and win some events today.”

Freshman Whittney Hamilton took home the first victory of her collegiate career in the 100 butterfly, swimming a 55.68. The Roanoke, Va., native also turned in a solid performance in the 50 free, touching the wall second at 23.72.

“I thought her race was great,” Jahn said. “Whittney is doing a really good job of developing her underwater speed and she is getting better and better around the walls and being thoughtful in how she executes her races. It was great to see that come up in a win today.”

Georgia Tech Press Release

“Competing against one of the top teams in the country we really needed to have our best and we just didn’t have it today despite some strong individual performances,” head coach Courtney Shealy Hart said. “Our freshmen have continued to perform well, which is really encouraging. We have an extremely talented team top to bottom, and I know they are going to come out strong at our invitational in a couple weeks.”

It was another strong day on the boards for freshman Ruben Lechuga, who earned two NCAA zone qualifying scores, taking first on the 1-meter board (358.13) and second on the 3-meter board (383.93).

In the pool, junior Caio Pumputis won the 200 IM (1:48.93), and was runner-up in the 200 free (1:37.34) and 200 breast (2:00.33). Junior Christian Ferraro won the 200 fly (1:47.63) and 100 fly (48.48) for the second time this season.

Freshman Dylan Scott finished second in the 500 free (4:30.85) and third in the 1650 free (15:53.81), while freshman Josh Cohen finished third in the 500 free (4:32.17).

The Jackets also got a strong showing from their relay teams, earning second-place finishes in the 400 medley relay (3:17.37 – sophomore Kyle Barone, Pumputis, Ferraro, sophomore Darren Lim) and 200 free relay (1:21.64 – junior Corben Miles, senior Aidan Pastel, Ferraro, Lim).

  • Lechuga turned in two program top-10 all-time scores, on the 1-meter (6th all time) and 3-meter (7th all time).
  • Senior Brennan Day set a PR in the 200 fly (1:53.49)
  • Sophomore Tanner Doan finished second in the 200 IM (1:52.60).
  • Miles finished second in the 50 free (20.40).
  • Lim placed second in the 100 free (44.54) and fourth in the 50 free (20.61).
  • Junior Jonathan Yang was third in the 100 breast (56.21) and fourth in the 200 breast (2:04.07).
  • Senior Tim Slanschek nabbed a third-place finish in the 200 fly (1:48.60) and placed fourth in the 200 IM (1:53.54).
  • Junior Albert Zhi finished third in the 100 free (45.21) and fourth in the 200 free (1:39.72).
  • Barone came in third in the 100 back (50.06).

1 comment

  1. avatar

    Abbott had a three win day against Purdue the day before his two wins against Georgia tech.