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Thursday February 8, 2007Three Freshman Make Finals Appearance as Florida Improves to Fourth in SEC Championships

Lexington, Ky.

The No. 8 University of Florida men’s swimming and diving team capitalized on a sweep of the 200 individual medley and two second-place finishes during day two of the 2007 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships to maintain its second-place standing Thursday evening in Lexington, Ky., at the Lancaster Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The No. 6 Florida women improved their day one placing as they moved up to fourth place during the second day of competition, after beginning the four-day conference swimming championships in ninth place.

 

“The Florida swimming teams had a really good day. We swam very well in this morning’s prelims, and almost everyone improved their times and their places throughout the day,” Florida head coach Gregg Troy said. “I’m really proud of the way people raced. We seem to be getting better in each session.”

 

The Gator men made a dominating statement in the second individual male event of the night, as sophomore Lucas Salatta (Sao Paulo, Brazil), freshman Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) and sophomore Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) swept the 200 IM with their second trio of ‘A’ cuts in as many swims. The threesome, who all collected career-best times in the final, recorded the third, fourth and fifth best times in Florida history and topped the Lancaster Aquatic Center pool record, went head-to-head in lanes 3-4-5 as a result of also posting the top-three times in the morning’s preliminary heats. SEC Champion Salatta (1:44.71) topped second-place Fraser (1:44.75) by four-hundredths of a second, and Ally finished a mere one-hundredth of a second behind Fraser in 1:44.76 for third place.

 

“Lucas, Shaune and Bradley were outstanding in the 200 IM all the way around,” Troy said. “To have three guys that can swim that fast and that close together speaks volumes of their capabilities.”

 

Senior Luca De Matteis (Naples, Italy) clocked the top time for the Gators in the men’s B-Final of the 200 IM, where his provisional-qualifying time of 1:48.65 was good for second place in the heat. Sophomore Ron Ballatore (Gainesville, Fla.) took fifth in the same heat with a time of 1:49.92.      

 

For the second-straight year, the Florida men’s squad sent more swimmers to the finals heats than any other school in the 500 free, where freshman Roland Rudolph (Budapest, Hungary) became the first Gator swimmer of the evening to reach the medal stand. Rudolph turned in a second-place, NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 4:17.90 in the A-Final of the 500 free, where he fell just three-tenths of a second shy of Georgia’s Sebastien Rouault (4:17.59), who claimed first place for the third-straight year. Juniors Grant Johnson (Clearwater, Fla.) and Tobias Work (Falmouth, Mass.) took fourth and fifth places, respectively, with ‘B’ times of 4:21.10 and 4:24.31.

 

“Roland just missed his first championship win, but with a little more experience, he’ll be on the podium. He went against a real quality guy tonight. Tobias also swam very well, especially after falling ill a few weeks ago. He came back, though, and he’s swimming at right around his best times,” Troy added.

 

In the B-Final of the 500 free, freshman Clark Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) notched a time of 4:27.75 to finish fourth in his heat, while sophomore Cody Kauffman (Harrisburg, Pa.) and junior Dustin McLarty (DeLand, Fla.) followed to finish fifth and sixth.

 

Junior Leah Retrum (Colombus, Ind.) was less than two seconds from the medal stand in the women’s 200 IM final, where she clocked a ‘B’ time of 2:01.13 to finish in fourth place. Also making an appearance in the A-Final of the event was junior Natalie Pike (Boca Raton, Fla.), who’s career-best and provisional time of 2:02.27 was good for eighth-place in the heat. Senior Ashley Carusone (High Springs, Fla.) took the top place in the B-Final as she touched the wall in ‘B’ time of 2:01.51.

 

The Florida women also placed six swimmers in the night swims of the 500 free, where SEC record holder Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) finished fifth in a time of 4:45.47. Junior Kim Larson (Longwood, Fla), who clocked a career-best, ‘A’ time of 4:45.44 in the morning preliminaries, took seventh with a finals time of 4:47.53, and junior Katie Ball (Cincinnati, Ohio) claimed eighth after touching the wall in 4:49.73. All three women collected ‘B’ times in their evening swim.

 

Sophomore Laurabeth Guenthner (Wellington, Fla.) reached a career-best time of 4:47.12 in the B-Final of the 500 free, which was good for first place in her heat. Sophomore Stephanie Cota (Granite Bay, Calif.) took fourth in the same heat with a time of 4:49.05, and freshman Kristen Beales (Arlington, Va.) took sixth as she clocked in at 4:51.84 in her first-ever SEC appearance as an individual.

 

“The women have been doing a great job of staying in the meet. They’re moving up in the standings and positioning themselves to finish in the top two,” Troy said. “The individual swims were good tonight. Leah was especially good in the 200 IM, and I’m real pleased with our women that raced in the 500 free. We could probably still be a little bit better, but we’ll take today’s performances.”

 

During the finale of day two, the Florida men’s quartet of junior Daniel Penniman (Pensacola, Fla.), Salatta, junior Tim Hughes (Winter Park, Fla.) and Ally took second place in the 200 freestyle relay with a season-best time of 1:19.16, which ranks 10th all-time in Florida’s annals. The Florida women’s 200 freestyle relay foursome of freshman Stephanie Napier (Chattanooga, Tenn.), freshman Elizabeth Kemp (Potomac, Md.), Pike and sophomore Lauren Winter (Dalkeith, Australia) notched a season-best time of 1:32.13 to finish sixth.

 

Florida sent one swimmer to the men’s and women’s 50 free A-Finals, where Penniman clocked in a ‘B’-cut time of 20.07, two-hundredths of a second off his preliminary and season-best time of 20.05, for eighth place. Freshman Stephanie Napier (Chattanooga, Tenn.) finished fifth in her respective A-Final with a career-best and automatic-qualifying time of 22.61, and freshman Elizabeth Kemp (Potomac, Md.) swam to a seventh-place finish in the B-Final with a provisional-qualifying time of 23.34, which was one-tenth of a second short of her career-best time (23.24) that she set during the opening leg of the 200 free relay competition Thursday evening.

 

There’s a lot of events tomorrow, and although we’re not especially great in the 100 events, we’ve got one of our better relays coming up in the 400 medley relay. Tomorrow will be important in positioning ourselves for the final day,” Troy concluded.

 

The Gators return to SEC action Friday with day three of the conference championships. Live results can be seen via live scoring by visiting www.ukathletics.com. A full recap, scoring summary and quotes from Gator finals swimmers will be available following the conclusion of each day at www.gatorzone.com.

 

Men’s Standings

Place

Team

Score

1.

Auburn

450.50

2.

FLORIDA

311

3.

Georgia

216.50

4.

Alabama

153.50

5.

South Carolina

138

6.

Tennessee

133

7.

LSU

126

8.

Kentucky

65.60

 

Women’s Standings

Place

Team

Score

1.

Auburn

336

2.

Kentucky

231

3.

Georgia

228.50

4.

FLORIDA

209

5.

LSU

203.50

6.

Tennessee

183

7.

Alabama

101

8.

South Carolina

94

9.

Arkansas

88

10.

Vanderbilt

46

 

Day Two Event Winners

M 500y Freestyle

Sebastien Rouault, Georgia

4:17.59

W 500y Freestyle

Claire Maust, Georgia

4:40.15

M 200y IM

Lucas Salatta, Florida

1:44.71

W 200y IM

Ava Ohlgren, Auburn

1:57.74

M 50y Freestyle

Cesar Cielo, Auburn

19.03^

W 50y Freestyle

Kara Lynn Joyce, Georgia

21.73

M 200y Freestyle Relay

Auburn

1:16.52

W 200y Freestyle Relay

Kentucky

1:29.27

^ - Denotes SEC record

 

SEC Championships Schedule for Friday, Feb. 9, 2007:

Preliminary Competition

10 a.m.         400 Individual Medley

                   100 Butterfly

                   200 Freestyle

                   100 Breaststroke

                   100 Backstroke

                   400 Medley Relay Time Trial

 

Finals Competition

6 p.m.           400 Individual Medley Final

                   100 Butterfly Final

                   200 Freestyle Final

                   100 Breaststroke Final

                   100 Backstroke Final

                   400 Medley Relay Timed Final

 

*Events are both men’s and women’s at scheduled time, unless otherwise noted.

 

-UF-

 

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