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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC swimming and diving falls to top-ranked Georgia in first meet of season

In the first meet of the season, the North Carolina swimming and diving team fell to Georgia at Koury Natatorium.

What happened?

The No. 3 Georgia men's team and No. 1 women's team both swam out to a quick lead over the No. 18 UNC men's team and No. 16 women's team and never looked back. The Bulldogs were dominant in the pool; of the 28 races, Georgia placed at least two swimmers in the top three spots 20 times, and swept five of those races.

Despite an optimistic take on their chances to improve in their Blue vs. White meet two weeks ago, the Tar Heels struggled to keep up.

UNC fought back late in the meet to sweep the men's 200 IM and 400 free relay. North Carolina fought to win in the diving events, scoring first-place finishes in each event and the top two spots in the men’s and women’s 1m springboard.

But the Tar Heels' efforts weren’t enough. The Bulldogs had already fought to secure the lead and the Tar Heels finished at a distant second.

Who stood out?

Hellen Moffit the 100-yard women’s backstroke by over a second with UNC’s most dominant performance of the day. The senior finished second in the 100-yard fly and 25 fly. She also swam the Tar Heels to second place in the 200-yard medley and first in the 400-yard free relay.

On the men’s side, senior Jorden Merrilees won the 500-yard free and placed second in the 200-yard free. He also helped North Carolina win the 400-yard relay. Merrilees competed as a Tar Heel for the first time and said he’s looking forward to improving throughout the rest of the season.

In diving, Elissa Dawson and Jack Nyquist continued to improve upon their U.S. Olympic Trial performances this summer. Both Dawson and Nyquist won the 3m springboard — the event they competed in at trials — and Dawson won the 1m springboard.

When was it decided?

The Bulldogs looked dominant from the start, taking first place finishes in the men’s and women’s 200-yard medley relay. They followed up the medleys with a sweep in the women’s 1000-yard free and the top two spots in the men’s 1000-yard free. That was just the beginning.

Throughout the rest of the meet, Georgia continued to dominate and eventually won by a score of 179-119 on the women’s side and 162.5-132.5 on the men’s.

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels are coming off a subpar season-ending performance at the NCAA Championships and are looking to improve, as Coach Rich Deselm has emphasized his goal of being a top-10 program. Even though the Tar Heels have a lot of season to go, he said they looked good, and many swimmers had strong times for the first meet of the year.

UNC’s diving team has showed continued improvement over the last few seasons. Today, the team took first and second in the 1m springboard in both men’s and women’s competitions. The Tar Heels also took the top spot in both 3m springboard events.

Where do they play next?

UNC’s next meet is at Tennessee from Oct. 21-22, where North Carolina will face a No. 10 men’s team and a No. 13 women’s team.


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