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Bulldogs Traveling To Washington For NCAAs | News

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Bulldogs Traveling To Washington For NCAAs

ATHENS, Ga. -- The 11th-ranked Georgia men's swimming and diving team will travel across the country this week for the NCAA Championships.

The NCAAs will take place Thursday through Saturday at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash. The Bulldogs and their fellow competitors will be in action at 2 p.m. for trials and 10 p.m. for finals each day.

The Bulldogs will have eight swimmers in this week's meet: seniors Michael Arnold and Peter Benner; junior Martin Grodzki; sophomores Will Freeman, Andrew Gemmell and Doug Reynolds; and freshmen Nic Fink and Jared Markham.

The Bulldogs have finished in the top 10 four straight years and seven times in the past eight seasons.

"We've got a good group going," Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle said. "We lost a couple of NCAA champions (Mark Dylla and Bill Cregar) off last year's team, but our aspirations are the same. We're going to give it a run for the top 10. Our guys are swimming well; maybe even better than before the SECs. We've got to make every point count. It's nice knowing we're going to get 100 percent effort from every guy. Wherever that takes us is fine."

"I really think our team has a shot of going top 8," Grodzki said. "All the guys we're taking are high-quality swimmers. We're excited. We're fully rested and we're swimming fast. I'm pumped up for this meet. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

"I'm really looking forward to my first NCAAs," Fink said. "We've worked hard and prepared all year for this moment. I've never been to a short course yards meet that will be this fast. It's something to have such great competition. Our guys will need to have their best swims at this meet."

Several Bulldogs are entering the NCAAs with top-10 rankings in their events. Grodzki is No. 4 in the 500 freestyle and No. 5 in the 1,650 freestyle, Fink is No. 6 in the 100 breaststroke and seventh in the 200 breaststroke, Doug Reynolds is 10th in the 100 butterfly and Will Freeman is 10th in the 1,650 freestyle.

Live streaming video from the NCAAs will be available Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m. through ESPN3. A highlights show from the NCAAs will be shown Sunday, April 1, at 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center was built for the 1990 Goodwill Games and has been the site of such meets as the NCAA Championships and the Olympic Trials. It also has special meaning to Georgia senior Peter Benner.

Benner, who now calls Savannah home, spent ages 2 through 11 in Washington and started his swimming career at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center as his father, Rick, served as his club coach. Rick -- the longtime coach of the Puyallup Aquatic Club (now South Sound Titans) -- was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010.

"It's exciting to be returning to that pool," said Peter, who will swim the 200 and 400 individual medley and the 200 butterfly this week. "My family and I have a lot of special memories there. I think it will be a great experience going back there.  Aside from Athens, I can't think of a better place to wrap up my college career."


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