Georgia Men, Women Sweep UNC in Season Opener

Georgia vs. University of North Carolina

Athens, Georgia
October 22, 2021
SCY dual meet
Team scores
Women: Georgia 175 North Carolina 120
Men: Georgia 164.5 North Carolina 130.5

Full results

The University of Georgia men and women opened their 2021-22 season by sweeping North Carolina in a dual meet in Athens on Friday. The Bulldog men were led by their powerful sophomore class, while their women’s team were led by an experienced senior class. Georgia exhibitioned both the 200 IM and 400 free relay in both meets. 

Men’s Meet Recap

The Bulldogs’ highly-touted sophomore class was on full display, with Luca Urlando and Jake Magahey both taking two individual wins. 

Magahey, the defending NCAA champion in the 500 free, started his day by winning the 1000 free, even splitting 4:31-4:31 to touch first in 9:02.97. Just minutes later the Dacula, Georgia native returned to the pool again to narrowly win the 200 free over junior teammate Zach Hils, 1:36.37 to Hils’ 1:36.55. Magahey showed impressive closing speed in the 200, charging home in a blazing fast 23.81 for the win. Magahey finished his day by displaying his freestyle versatility in the 400 free relay, posting a 43.97 swimming the third leg on Georgia’s A relay. He joined Dillon Downing, Ananda Lim and Bradley Dunham on that relay to post the day’s fastest time of 2:56.89.

Not to be outdone, fellow Bulldog sophomore Luca Urlando flashed some early season speed in all three fly distances. The Sacramento, California native started off his day with a blazing 20.24 fly split on Georgia’s winning medley relay. He joined Wesley Ng, Harrison Wayner and Dillon Downing to touch in 1:26.32, nearly 2 seconds ahead of UNC’s A relay. Urlando returned a few events later to take the 200 fly in 1:43.37 and finished his day off by winning the 100 fly in 46.43. Urlando is well ahead of last year’s pace, where he opened the season with a 1:45.73 and 47.01. 

Both Urlando and Magahey are coming off spectacular freshman campaigns, with Magahey winning the 500 and finishing second in the 1650 at the NCAA Championships, while Urlando made the A final in both the 100 and 200 fly. 

UNC was led by senior Valdas Abaliksta, who swept the breaststroke events on the day. The fifth year senior from Lithuania, who is now in graduate school at UNC, started his day by winning the 100 breast by over a full second in 54.55. The All American then later returned in the 200 breast to win again in 2:00.11.

Other Individual Winners

100 Back: Wesley Ng (Georgia) 47.56
50 Free: Dillon Downing (Georgia) 20.12
100 Free: Zach Hils (Georgia) 44.17
200 Back: Ian Grum (Georgia) 1:45.08
500 Free: Andrew Abruzzo (Georgia) 4:22.44
200 IM: Jay Baker (North Carolina) 1:51.73

Women’s Meet Recap

The Georgia women were led by a pair of senior All Americans, with Dakota Luther and fifth year Gabi Fa’Amausili both winning two individual events. Adding to that experience, two star freshmen, Dune Coetzee and Abby McCulloh, also made their debut for the Bulldogs. 

Fa’Amausili, a native of New Zealand, started off her meet by using a quick back half to win the 100 back in 54.43, touching just ahead of teammate Millie Sansome. The All American later returned to win the 100 free in 49.77, touching nearly a full second ahead of sophomore teammate Maxine Parker. That 100 free is a quick start to her fifth season in Athens, as  Fa’Amausili kicked off her season last year in 50.29. 

Fellow senior Dakota Luther also put up a pair of strong performances in her season debut. Luther began her day with a massive swim in her signature event, the 200 fly. The 2017 US World Championship team member posted a 1:56.93 to touch nearly three seconds clear of freshman teammate Mia Abruzzo. Luther later returned to win the 100 fly as well, posting a 54.31. Both of those swims are faster than her season-opening times from a season ago. 

Dune Coetzee, a Tokyo 2020 South African Olympian, made her short course yards debut on Saturday for Georgia, easily winning the 200 free by over a full second in 1:47.52. A native of Pretoria, Coetzee competed in the 4×200 free relay in Tokyo. She also returned later to demonstrate some versatility, taking third in the 100 fly in 55.07. 

Classmate Abby McCulloh won both of her individual events on the day for Georgia. Originally committed to Auburn, McCulloh switched her commitment to join the in-state Georgia Bulldogs after Auburn and former head coach Gary Taylor parted ways last spring. She posted a massive time to start off the meet in the 1000, touching in 9:44.84 to win by nearly 20 seconds. That time currently stands as the second fastest 1000 in the country this season, only behind Tokyo 2020 Olympian Erica Sullivan. Later on, McColloh returned to win the 500 by over 7 seconds, topping fellow freshman Rachel Stege 4:45.25 to 4:54.35. 

UNC was led on the day by senior Grace Countie, who won the 50 free going away in 22.35. The All American senior from Raleigh also swam the 200 free, touching in third in 1:48.56.   

Other Individual Event Winners 

100 Breast: Zoie Hartman (Georgia) 59.82
100 Back: Millie Sansome (Georgia) 1:58.88
200 Breast: Zoie Hartman (Georgia) 2:11.48
200 IM: Lexi Rudolph (North Carolina) 2:03.54

Georgia will return to the pool in a massive early-season showdown with Florida on Thursday in Gainesville, while UNC will return to competition on November 5th when they welcome Georgia Tech to Chapel Hill. 

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