The men’s swimming and diving team sent six athletes to the NCAA Championship in Iowa City last week and finished in 28th place out of 40 teams.
Senior swimmer Andrew Kosic, junior diver Brad Homza and four Tech relay teams qualified for the event, including senior Nico van Duijn, juniors Ricky Lehner and Youssef Hammoud and freshman Noah Harasz.
Kosic highlighted the event for the Jackets, earning two All-American honors for his performances in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle races. He also competed in the 100 meter butterfly.
Kosic swam the 50 meter freestyle on Thursday, March 26, breaking his own school record in both the preliminary and final round to finish fifth out of 22 competitors in the event.
His final round time of 19.18 seconds was just 0.51 seconds away from the first place finisher, and his 19.10 time in the preliminary round now stands as Tech’s record time in the event.
On Friday he finished No. 27 in the 100 meter butterfly with a time of 46.73 but did not advance past the preliminary round.
Kosic punctuated his successful collegiate career with a 12th place, 42.66 second finish in the 100 meter freestyle to earn another All-American title.
Homza’s championship qualification this year marks the first time since 2011 that the Jackets sent a men’s diver to NCAAs. He competed in two events, delivering a 37th place finish with a score of 303.95 on the one meter springboard and a 22nd overall finish with a score of 337.88 off the platform.
On Thursday, the 200 yard medley relay team of Kosic, Hammoud, Harasz and van Duijn finished 18th overall out of 21 teams with a time of 1:18.16. The same four swimmers delivered a 2:53.65, 19th place finish in the 400 yard freestyle relay on Saturday.
Both the 400 and 800 yard medley relay teams were disqualified due to an early takeoff. Teams try to minimize the time between one swimmer touching the wall and the next one taking off from the starting block and spend hours practicing that timing. Unfortunately for the Jackets, their timing was slightly off and resulted in disqualification.
“With NCAAs, it’s a problem sometimes because it’s such a big meet,” van Duijn said, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com. “You show up and see all this fast swimming happening; the world’s best swimmers are there. Some people psyche themselves up too much, and it can accumulate over a period of days.”
Head coach Courtney Shealy Hart expressed a lot of praise towards her athletes for their performances over the course of the event.
“I’m so proud of our men’s team this season,” Hart said, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com. “Kosic was just unbelievable, breaking the school record twice in the 50 free. Our 200 free relay was the second-fastest in school history, and Brad did a god job at his first NCAAs.
“We will miss these seniors for sure. They have done a remarkable job to set a new standard for our Georgia Tech program and are leaving us in great hands.”
Tech’s 19th place finish was the sixth best out of nine ACC teams that competed at the Championships. The Jackets finished ahead of conference foes Notre Dame, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
The Texas Longhorns won the national championship with 528 points, more than 120 points better than second-place finisher California-Berkeley. Georgia finished seventh with 208.5 points, while North Carolina State finished eighth with 199.5 points to lead the ACC.