Florida swimming and diving team split a decision Saturday afternoon against Tennessee at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center, when the No. 7 Gator men defeated the No. 20 Volunteers 162-138, and the No. 2 Gator women fell to the No. 10 Lady Volunteers, 120-178.
With the win, the men end the season without suffering a loss in dual competition all throughout the 2011-12 season with a 6-0-1 record, and improve to 3-0-1 against SEC opponents heading into the conference championships Feb. 15-18, also in Knoxville, Tenn. The women’s tilt with the Lady Vols ends their dual season with an 8-1 overall, and 5-2 SEC record.
It is the first time in program history that the women’s squad has fallen to Tennessee in its 26th annual history.
“We didn’t swim as well as we would have liked to today. Tennessee raced real tough – they were a good competitor,” said head coach Gregg Troy. “Our men swam pretty well today, we certainly have a ways to go, but I was pleased with the way they faced today. The women we just didn’t swim especially well the front half of the meet, but picked it up in the latter half of the races. Tennessee swam really swim well, and hats off to them for that.”
The men won eight races, and went on to sweep two events, as the women claimed three event titles on the day.
Last week’s SEC Male Swimmer of the Week, sophomore Marcin Cieslak, led the Gators with three individual wins, all NCAA ‘B’ provisional times, on the day. He combined to sweep both fly events for the second consecutive week, and claim his third 200 fly title in seven consecutive meets to remain undefeated on the year in the event, completing the 100 and 200 fly in 47.77 and 1:48.49, respectively. Cieslak also touched the wall in 1:37.65 to lead all swimmers in the 200 free.
“Marcin swam exceptionally well for us today. He lifted our team,” said Troy. “But it wasn’t just him, we had good swims from Brad deBorde and Connor Signorin too. They all came out and raced hard for us against the Volunteers.”
His advantage in the 200 fly led the way for a Gator sweep in the event as fellow sophomore Signorin finished second (1:49.63) and senior Gabriel Huen finished third (1:49.70).
Another trio combined for a one-two-three Gator finish in the 500 free when Jonathan Jordan touched in 4:29.06, Jason Taylor in 4:30.21 and Nicholas Caldwell in 4:31.25 to finish first through third, respectively.
Senior Sarah Bateman and sophomore deBorde combined to take the top-spot for the men and women, respectively, in both the 50 and 100 free. Bateman has yet to drop a first-place finish in the 50 free, and continued her hot streak today when she finished in 22.13 and went on to take the 100 in 49.10 – both NCAA “B” cuts. deBorde took the 50 in 19.57 (NCAA “B”) and the 100 free in 44.48 for the pair of wins.
Bateman also finished second in the 100 fly, when she stopped the clock in 54.43.
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel added a trio of top-three finishes for the Gators, touching first in the 200 back (1:56.15), second in the 1,000 free (9:40.32) and third in the 100 back (54.23) – with both her times in the backstroke events accounting for NCAA ‘B’ provisional times.
Other first-place finishers for Florida included Teresa Crippen in the 200 IM (2:00.88) and Taylor in the 1,000 free (9:16.64). Freshman teammate, Caldwell, followed Taylor’s finish in the 1,000 free with a time of 9:20.78 for second.
Freshman breaststroker Matt Elliott also tabbed a victory when he claimed the 200 breast in 1:59.27 and added a top-three finish when he took second in the 100 breast when he stopped the clock at 55.15. Both times for Elliott were NCAA “B” provisional marks.
Three members of the women’s squad additionally provided Florida with sets of second-place finishes. Junior Jamie Bohunicky clocked in at 1:46.69 in the 200 free, and 4:47.63 in the 500 free for a set of deuces; sophomore Hilda Luthersdottir finished second in both the 100 and 200 breast with times of 1:02.24 and 2:14.39, respectively; while Crippen added a pair of second-place finishes in the 200 fly (1:56.59) and 200 back (1:57.12).
Additional top-three finishes for the Gator women were sophomore Natasha Fung who took second in the 200 free (1:47.91); Molly Dubrasky who finished third in the 200 fly (2:00.29); Alicia Mathieu who touched in 9:55.62 for third in the 1,000 free; Julia Nagy who took third in the 500 free (4:51.93); and Rebecca Rainer with a third-place finish in the 200 breast (2:14.81).
For the men a group of freshmen added points as Matt Curby took second in the 100 back (50.01) while Dan Wallace and Ricky Munch and Christian Homer each finished third in the 200 (2:04.05) and 100 breast (56.79) and 100 fly (49.24), respectively.
Four Florida relays finished second, as both the women and men took the runner-up spot in the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. For the women, the group of Bateman, Luthersdottir, Ellese Zalewski and Kaitlin Frehling finished second in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:41.85, while Bohunicky, Beisel, Fung and Zalewski combined to take second in the 400 freestyle relay (3:22.33). It was Homer, Elliott, Cieslak and Matt Norton who finished the 200 medley relay in 1:30.05 for second and Wallace, Scott Heil, Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez and Signorin tho took the 400 free in 3:03.67 and the second-place finish.
For the divers, Mike Lewark took second off the 1-meter boards with 318.23 points and fifth off the 3-meter boards with a 310.50 score. His teammate Chris Jones finished ahead in the 3-meter competition with 245.45 points for third, and took fifth off the 1-meter boards with 291.53 points. Senior Kaylee Doback, the women’s lone competitor on the boards, took second off the 3-meter boards (309.75) and fourth off the 1-meter spring board with 267.00 points.