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Friday October 27, 2006No. 5 Gator Women Down No. 16 Golden Gophers 165-127

Gainesville, Fla.

In the first-ever meeting between the Florida and Minnesota swimming and diving teams, the No. 2 Gators (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) used 11 event wins to down the No. 16 Golden Gophers (1-1, 1-0 Big Ten), 165-127, Friday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

“The women’s team came out very strong today, and I was impressed with the way they swam after such an emotionally charged meet against Georgia just yesterday,” said ninth-year head coach Gregg Troy.

 

The Gators jumped into an early lead as their two relay teams claimed first and second in the 200-yard medley. The quartet of junior Caroline Drab (Lund, Sweden), sophomore Lauren Winter (Dalkeith, Australia) and freshmen Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England) and Elizabeth Kemp (Potomac, Md.) took first with a time of 1:44.33, while the UF ‘B’ team clocked in less than a tenth of a second later at 1:44.42 for second place.

 

Junior Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) and sophomore Kelsy Smith (Cary, N.C.) used a pair of career-best times in the 1,000-yard freestyle to finish 1-2. Burckle broke the 10-minute mark for the first time in her collegiate career as she touched the wall in 9:49.37, and Smith swam the event in 10:02.31.

 

Junior Natalie Pike (Boca Raton, Fla.) tallied Florida’s first NCAA provisional qualifying time of the day with a first-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.25), and junior Samantha Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.) followed with the Gators’ fourth-straight first-place finish of the day in the 100-yard backstroke (56.34).

 

The Gators finished 1-2-3 in the 200-yard butterfly, with sophomore Stephanie Cota (Granite Bay, Calif.) and senior Ashley Carusone (High Springs, Fla.) taking first and second place, respectively, with ‘B’ cut times of 2:00.67 and 2:02.39. Sophomore Jenny Lago (Wellington, Fla.) rounded out the top-three places with a time of 2:05.31.

 

Kemp notched the first individual win of her collegiate career in the 50-yard freestyle as she clocked in at 23.48. Burckle and Vanderbilt followed with their second individual wins of the meet, with Burckle recording a provisional qualifying time of 50.91 in the 100-yard freestyle and Vanderbilt completing the 200-yard backstroke in 2:02.54. Junior Amanda Hartley (Tallahassee, Fla.) posted the Gators’ final individual win in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:22.11), marking the team’s first victory of the year in the event.

 

“Caroline (Burckle) has been outstanding so far this year. She has done a great job training, and she’s further along than we expected her to be at this point in the season. Natalie (Pike) and Samantha (Vanderbilt) were also very good today, as were Lauren (Winter) and Gemma (Spofforth). As a coaching staff, we’re pleased with most everything we’ve been seeing. We still have some weaknesses right now, too, but at this point, we’re happy with how well we’ve been performing,” added Troy.

 

UF swam exhibition in the final three events, but Winter’s time of 56.79 in the 100-yard butterfly and Carusone’s NCAA B time of 4:20.22 in the 400-yard IM would have been good enough for two more individual wins. The quartet of freshman Jenne Ballatore (Gainesville, Fla.), Pike, Winter and Burckle also would have claimed the 400-yard freestyle relay after clocking in at 3:27.01.

 

In the diving portion of the meet, sophomore Whitney Stern (Safety Harbor, Fla.) collected wins in both events. Her first-place score of 288.90 on the three-meter board marked her second NCAA automatic qualifying score of the season, and her 256.72 on the one-meter was good enough for a provisional qualifying score.

 

“Whitney (Stern) is really coming along as a diver. She’s probably a little bit further ahead than she was at the end of last season, and if she keeps improving at this rate, then she’s destined for a great year,” said diving coach Donnie Craine.

 

Florida will next travel to Baton Rouge, La., to swim against SEC opponent LSU on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. EST.

 

Event

Winner

School

Time

1M Dive

Whitney Stern

Florida

256.72

200 MR

Spofforth, Drab, Winter, Kemp

Florida

1:44.33

1000 Free

Caroline Burckle

Florida

9:49.37

200 Free

Natalie Pike

Florida

1:49.25

100 Back

Samantha Vanderbilt

Florida

56.34

100 Breast

Kim Kazika

Minnesota

1:05.57

200 Fly

Stephanie Cota

Florida

2:00.67

50 Free

Elizabeth Kemp

Florida

23.48

3M Dive

Whitney Stern

Florida

288.90

100 Free

Caroline Burckle

Florida

50.91

200 Back

Samantha Vanderbilt

Florida

2:02.54

200 Breast

Amanda Hartley

Florida

2:22.11

500 Free

Yuen Kobayashi

Minnesota

4:51.65

100 Fly

Jennifer Chang

Minnesota

57.45

400 IM

Jenny Shaughnessy

Minnesota

4:22.87

400 FR

McCarthy, Kezbers, Kobayashi, Tukey

Minnesota

3:29.40

 

-UF-

 

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