After a tri-meet at Auburn that was admittedly challenging, the No. 25 Wisconsin men’s swim and dive team, and the No. 12 Wisconsin women’s swim and dive team (0-1 men, 0-1 women), are ready to begin its two-meet homestand with a dual meet against star-studded No. 8 and No. 4 Georgia (1-0, 1-0) on Thursday.
This will be the first meet of the season for many of the Badgers, as head coach Whitney Hite took a split squad to Auburn.
“We all had a lot of fun [at Auburn]; we were super supportive. We had a lot of support from the people at home, which was awesome,” said junior Sydney Lofquist. “Looking ahead to Georgia, we want to show them what we have, because they’re a really fast team.”
The Bulldogs arrive in Madison with an “insane” freshman class that includes last year’s top women’s recruit, Courtney Harnish, according to Lofquist. In addition to the freshmen, other threats for the Georgia women include sophomore Veronica Burchill and senior Megan Kingsley. On the men’s side, the Litherland triplets — Olympian Jay and his two brothers Kevin and Mick — as well as 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gunnar Bentz, all of whom are seniors, will provide a challenge for the Badgers.
“Every time a team like Georgia comes up here, it’s a big deal for us,” said junior Stephen Boden. “We take that pretty seriously because everybody’s watching. It’s a bigger spotlight when a team with a lot of Olympians comes up here.”
Matchups to watch Thursday include the Litherlands taking on Wisconsin seniors Todd McCarthy, Victor Goicoechea and sophomore Camille Hodge in the longer freestyle and individual medley races, and Burchill and sophomore Beata Nelson going to battle in the 100-yard butterfly.
“I’m excited for every event,” Boden said. “We’ve got fast people in every race. I’m pumped.”
The meet starts at 2 p.m. on Thursday at the UW Natatorium.