Experts say the University of Georgia women’s swim team has a shot at winning a national title this year. The lady Bulldogs have been number two in the nation for the last two years.
The UGA women have two team members this year who competed in the Summer Olympics for the US. Alison Schmitt won five medals, including three golds. Shannon Vreeland also won a gold medal. Head coach Jack Bauerle says they were recruiting 17 year -old Missy Franklin, who won four gold medals and a bronze at the Olympics. But UGA lost out to Cal Berkley.
“All I can say is we actively recruited, and we got second. That’s all I can say.”Bauerle says.
There is also one U.S. Olympian on the men’s team, Andrew Gemmell. Last year the men ranked 11th in the nation and the women were second.
Bauerle says he’s optimistic the men will finish in the top 8. He says the women are driven to win after being the runners-up to the national champs two years in a row.
Bauerlee says he’s also proud of their academic prowess.
“We’ve had three NCAA Woman of the Year award winners. We’ve led the country in NCAA post graduate scholarship winners. So we’re equally as proud of what we’ve done in the classroom. And some of them have been our very best swimmers too.” he says.
Bauerle, who’s been coaching the women’s swim team for 34 years and the men’s team for 30 years, has the most wins for a coach in SEC history.
The UGA women have won eight SEC championships. The last time they were national champions was in 2005. The season is underway and runs through March.