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Men's Swimming & Diving Headline

Sophomore Lucas Salatta earned his second top-five finish of the meet on Friday.

Friday March 16, 2007Pair Of Runner-Up Finishes Keep Men's Swimming In Top-Five At NCAA Championships

Minneapolis, MN

Sophomore Lucas Salatta earned his second top-five finish of the meet on Friday.

Second-place finishes in an individual event and a relay headlined the second day of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships for the University of Florida, as the Gators put up 63 points on Friday to maintain their top-five standing. The Gators will head into the final day of competition in fifth place with 199 points, having put 42 points between themselves and sixth-place Northwestern.

 

“We had some good breaks and some bad breaks, but it was a good day for us,” Florida head coach Gregg Troy said. “Some guys found a way to get into finals at eighth or 16th, so we were able to turn a good morning into a good night.”

 

Florida was one of only two schools to send three swimmers to the finals of the 400 IM, where sophomore Lucas Salatta (Sao Paulo, Brazil) made a late dash during the freestyle leg to earn the second-place finish just one night after placing third in the 200 IM. His time of 3:41.08 shattered his previous career best (3:45.77) by more than four seconds, while also vaulting him to third in UF history in the event. He brought his race home in 50.32 seconds, challenging winner Alex Vanderkaay of Michigan, who nipped Salatta by just .17 to take the crown. Friday’s performance was also the fifth individual All-America honor of Salatta’s career, and his first in the 400 IM.

 

“That was a great 400 IM, and he raced tough all the way,” Troy said. “You can tell that he’s a real competitor. He wasn’t too excited about losing. By the same token, not too many guys have gone faster than that, and it’s clear that he’s one tough kid.”

 

Sophomore Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) also captured a top-five finish in the 400 IM, placing fifth with a career-best time of 3:44.41. Ally, who matched his NCAA finish from a year ago, lowered his own fifth-place standing in program history with his time from Friday’s final. He and classmate Salatta both now own five All-America honors in as many career individual events at the NCAA Championships. Junior Kevin Nead (Ithaca, N.Y.) also earned All-America honors in the 400 IM for the second time, touching 15th with a time of 3:49.88. His time of 3:49.67 in the morning’s prelims session ranked as his career best.

 

Three swimmers also represented the Orange and Blue in the consolation final of the 200 free, led by junior Grant Johnson’s (Clearwater, Fla.) 10th-place finish. Johnson, who entered the day in eighth on the all-time school list, posted a career-best time of 1:34.09 to climb to fourth place on the UF chart. Freshman Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) also turned in a career best in the 200 free, registering a 1:34.96 to place 11th and finish the day in the eighth slot in the Florida record books. Freshman Roland Rudolf (Budapest, Hungary) recorded a 16th-place showing in the event with a time of 1:36.38, collecting his second individual All-America honor in as many races.

 

“It has never taken that fast of a time to get in the finals of the 200 free at the NCAA meet before, so having three guys swim tonight was big for us,” Troy said. “They all swam competitive races against extremely tough competition, which is all you can ask of anyone.”

 

The 200 MR team of freshman Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia), senior Bill Mrazek (Tallahassee, Fla.), Fraser and junior Daniel Penniman (Pensacola, Fla.) opened the night with an 11th-place finish, turning in a time of 1:26.91. The same group posted a time of 1:26.60 in prelims, eclipsing the team’s season best by nearly a second. The squad’s prelims time also tied them for third on UF’s all-time chart.

 

Junior Grant Johnson (Clearwater, Fla.), Salatta, freshman Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) and freshman Roland Rudolf (Budapest, Hungary) wrapped up Friday’s action in style for UF, cruising to a second-place finish in the 800 FR with a time of 6:17.82. The group’s mark ranked them second in school history, behind only the group of Ryan Lochte, Darian Townsend, Brian Hartley and Adam Sioui, who held the NCAA and US Open records before Arizona broke them en route to a first-place showing. Johnson, swimming the 200 free for the third time of the day, clocked a leadoff split of 1:34.20 for the Gators.

 

“The 800 free relay has sort of been our signature, but this year we didn’t look as good on paper,” Troy said. “Those guys came back and were solid across the board. Roland Rudolf was terrific on the last leg. After the way Salatta performed in the 400 IM, there aren’t many swimmers who can pull that double and swim so well in the 200 free. I also can’t say enough about Grant Johnson and the way he swam the 200 free hard three times today. He really gave everything he had for us today.”

 

Friday’s prelims also yielded a series of career-best times from Florida swimmers who did not qualify for the evening session. Freshman Clark Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) posted a personal-best time of 3:50.04 in the 400 IM to finish 19th, while the senior duo of Mrazek and Luca De Matteis (Naples, Italy) swam to career bests of 54.16 and 54.22, respectively. Mrazek, who moved into second in school history with his performance, finished 21st, while De Matteis, the third-fastest 100 breaststroker in school history following Friday’s race, placed 24th. Junior Tim Hughes (Winter Park, Fla.) earned a share of 25th place in the 100 back with a career-best time of 47.65 that moved him into eighth on the school’s list, and Pinzon’s personal-best 47.62 in the 100 fly placed him eighth in school history and 19th in Friday’s prelims session.

 

“This has been an extremely fast meet, and those guys’ times would have scored any other year,” Troy said. “I’m pleased with the way they raced hard and kept getting better. They’re right in position to score, and they’ll be better tomorrow in the 200s.”

 

Florida has now had three swimmers each earn All-America honors in three individual events at the NCAA Championships, and has accomplished that feat in at least one individual race in each of the last three seasons. On Friday, Salatta, Ally and Nead each claimed All-America recognition in the 400 IM and the trio of Johnson, Fraser and Rudolf did so in the 200 free. Thursday’s action saw Salatta, Ally and Fraser each earn the distinction in the 200 IM.

 

As a team, the Gators earned 14 All-America honors on the night, including two apiece from Fraser, Johnson, Rudolf and Salatta. With 12 career All-America accolades, Salatta is the team’s active leader, while Penniman and Ally both reached 10 career recognitions on Friday.

 

Men’s swimming action will continue from University Aquatics Center on Saturday at 1 p.m. EST, and the divers will return to competition at approximately 2:30 p.m. EST. See below for schedule of events. Live results can be accessed via www.gatorzone.com.

 

Team Top-10 Through Day Two

1. Auburn – 380 points

2. Arizona – 278 points

3. Stanford – 261 points

4. Texas – 225 points

5. FLORIDA – 199 POINTS

6. Northwestern – 157 points

7. Michigan – 141 points

8. California – 125 points

9. Southern California – 106 points

10. Tennessee – 94 points

 

 

Day Two Event Winners

Event

Name (School)

Time

200 MR

Goodrich, Maras, Puninski, Cielo (Auburn)

1:23.37^#%

400 IM

Alex Vanderkaay (Michigan)

3:40.89

100 Fly

Albert Subirats (Arizona)

44.57^#%

200 Free

Darian Townsend (Arizona)

1:33.29

100 Breast

Mike Alexandrov (Northwestern)

51.56^#%

100 Back

Albert Subirats (Arizona)

44.83%

3M Dive

Steven Segerlin (Auburn)

415.80

800 FR

Nilo, Basson, Townsend, Ritter (Arizona)

6:14.14^#%

 

^ - Denotes NCAA record

@ - Denotes American record

# - Denotes US Open record

% - Denotes pool record

& - Denotes NCAA meet record only

 

Day Two Prelims Winners

Event

Name (School)

Time

200 MR

Sacco, O’Halloran, Berens, Weber-Gale (Texas)

1:24.74

400 IM

Pat Mellors (Virginia)

3:44.61

100 Fly

Albert Subirats (Arizona)

45.84

200 Free

Dominik Meichtry (California)

1:34.00

100 Breast

Vlad Polyakov (Alabama)

52.41

100 Back

Albert Subirats (Arizona)

45.68

3M Dive

Steven Segerlin (Auburn)

401.50

 

Florida Finishes

400 IM

2. Lucas Salatta – 3:41.08

5. Bradley Ally – 3:44.41

15. Kevin Nead – 3:49.88

22. Clark Burckle – 3:50.04

 

100 Fly

25. Tim Hughes – 47.65

 

200 Free

10. Grant Johnson – 1:34.07

11. Shaune Fraser – 1:34.96

16. Roland Rudolf – 1:36.38

 

100 Breast

21. Bill Mrazek – 54.16

24. Luca De Matteis – 54.22

 

100 Back

19. Omar Pinzon – 47.62

 

Day Three Schedule of Events

1,650 Free

200 Back

100 Free

200 Breast

200 Fly

Platform Dive

400 FR

 

 

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