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Saturday February 17, 2007Swimming Tallies Nine Provisional Times at Bulldog Invite

Athens, Ga.

The University of Florida swimming and diving squads tallied nine NCAA provisional-qualifying times during day one of the Bulldog Invitational, a last chance meet being held on the campus of the University of Georgia this Saturday-Sunday. The two-day invite offers swimmers a final shot at qualifying and improving their standings for the upcoming NCAA Championships.


“We had some very solid swims in the morning preliminaries, but tonight’s swims were much stronger,” Florida swimming and diving assistant coach Hollie Bonewit-Cron said. “Everyone is doing their best to make this last meet count, and to post the qualifying times they need to make the NCAA meet. The pressure is on, but the squads are handling it very well.”


Freshman Jenne Ballatore (Gainesville, Fla.) and junior Samantha Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.) each recorded a pair of ‘B’ cuts at the Gabrielsen Natatorium. Ballatore topped her prelim time of 1:49.82 in the 200 freestyle by more than a second as she clocked in at 1:48.70 in the final. Senior Kristin Gilliam (Gainesville, Fla.) narrowly missed the provisional standard after touching the wall in 1:50.40 in the event, just one-tenth of a second off of the cut. Vanderbilt led the way for the Gator women in both the morning and night swims of the 100 backstroke, where she recorded a time of 55.81 in the prelim and 55.14 in the evening. Vanderbilt would have led a 1-2-3 Gator finish if the events were open for scoring, as freshman Sarah Peterson (Franklin, Tenn.) and senior Kristen Harris (Holmdel, N.J.) notched ‘B’-times of 55.51 and 55.86, respectively. Junior Amanda Hartley (Tallahassee, Fla.) and sophomore Stephanie Cota (Granite Bay, Calif.) tacked on the final Gator provisional times for the women’s squad, with Hartley clocking a time of 1:03.32 in the 100 breast, and Cota completing the 500 freestyle in 4:49.34, nearly five seconds better than her prelim time of 4:54.04.


On the men’s side, junior Dustin McLarty (DeLand, Fla.) notched the lone ‘B’ time of the day for the men, as his time of 3:52.60 in the 400 IM met the provisional standard.


In diving action, sophomore Jeana Bartell (Boca Raton, Fla.) and freshman Jennifer Funch (Cincinnati, Ohio) qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving, which is the first step in advancing to the NCAA Championships. Bartell recorded a score of 265.50 on the 1-meter dive, and Funch posted 267.85 points in the event. On the 3-meter board, Bartell and Funch again met the Zone qualifying score of 280, with Bartell scoring 283.50 and Funch scoring 282.25.


Sophomore Jonathon Wilcox (Bellevue, Wash.) would have won both events, as his Zone-qualifying scores of 364.90 on the 1-meter and 390.00 on the 3-meter would have topped the field of seven competitors in the finals. Senior Justin Schmidt (Falcon, Fla.) and sophomore Aaron Leech (Newark, Del.) also advanced to the Zone meet, as Schmidt posted scores of 343.95 (1-meter) and 357.95 (3-meter), and Leech scored 306.75 in the 1-meter final and 321.20 in the 3-meter prelims.


The Bulldog Invitational will conclude on Sunday. Prelims are set to begin at 10 a.m. with finals on tap for 4 p.m.




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