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Men's Swimming & Diving Headline

Senior Bill Mrazek set the school record in the 200 breast on Saturday in his final career race.

Saturday March 17, 2007Mrazek Breaks School Record As Men's Swimming Finishes Fourth At NCAA Championships

Minneapolis, MN

Senior Bill Mrazek set the school record in the 200 breast on Saturday in his final career race.

The eighth-ranked University of Florida men’s swimming and diving team rode a school record in the 200 breast and three top-five performances to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships on Saturday. The Gators recorded 321 points during the three-day meet, finishing behind only Auburn (566), Stanford (397), and Arizona (371).

 

In eight years under head coach Gregg Troy, UF has now produced top-five finishes at the national championships four times, including each of the last three seasons, and never finished lower than ninth. The effort is Florida’s best since also finishing fourth at the 2002 meet, and their 321 points are the team’s highest output since recording an identical total in 1986.

 

“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys,” Troy said. “A lot of people were down on us heading into this season, but we took a lot of pride in what we did, and we hung together. We have a fantastic coaching staff that really gave all they had to get these guys prepared, and I just want to thank them for their work. Today was one of the best single-day performances I’ve ever been a part of as a coach.”

 

Juniors Tobias Work (Falmouth, Mass.) and Grant Johnson (Clearwater, Fla.) got the evening started for UF with season and career-best performances, respectively, in the 1,650 free. Work’s time of 15:02.52 earned him a 10th-place finish and the second All-America honor of his career, while Johnson took 19th with a mark of 15:12.04.

 

“Tobias was sick at a really crucial point of the year, and he is one of the prime examples of the way we rallied as a team,” Troy said. “He raced hard tonight and gave us all he had.”

 

Sophomore Lucas Salatta (Sao Paulo, Brazil) wrapped up a strong individual meet with a third-place showing in the 200 back, registering a time of 1:41.86. He led a group of three UF swimmers in the finals of the 200 back, and was followed closely by freshman Roland Rudolf (Budapest, Hungary) in fourth. Rudolf’s time of 1:42.14 was a career best, and moved him from ninth to fifth on the school’s all-time chart. Fellow rookie Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia) notched a 13th-place finish with a time of 1:44.41, earning his first individual All-America distinction. Pinzon’s time of 1:43.56 in Saturday’s morning session marked a personal best.

 

“We needed something to jumpstart us tonight, and the 200 backstrokers did the job,” Troy said. “Those were big points, and they got us on the path to catching Texas for fourth place. Our entire team was energized after that race.”

 

The 200 breast saw senior Bill Mrazek (Tallahassee, Fla.) lead three Gators to All-America accolades with a school-record performance and a fifth-place finish in a time of 1:55.37. Mrazek, who garnered the first individual All-America honor of his career in the effort, only lowered the school record of 1:55.84 that he set during the morning session. Sophomore Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) touched the wall less than five tenths of a second behind Mrazek, taking sixth with a career-best time of 1:55.85 that also ranks as the second-fastest in program history. Senior Luca De Matteis (Naples, Italy) reached All-America status in the 200 breast for the third-straight year with a 10th-place effort, while turning in a career-best time of 1:56.51. All three of the UF swimmers posted times in the finals session of the 200 breast that were better than the school record of 1:56.53 that De Matteis held heading into the meet.

 

“Our breaststroke swimmers could not have put together a better performance at such a key time,” Troy said. “The fact that three guys broke the school record is a testament to their will and desire, and shows how hard they’ve worked. It was a great way for two seniors to go out.”

 

Freshman Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) swam to his second fifth-place finish of the championships in the 200 fly, giving him three individual All-America honors at his first NCAA meet. He recorded a time of 1:44.08 during finals, but his mark of 1:43.95 in the morning session was a new career best and placed him sixth in the all-time UF annals. Junior Tim Hughes (Winter Park, Fla.) captured the initial individual All-America title of his career in the same race, finishing 13th with a time 1:45.23. Like Fraser, he turned in a career-best time during prelims with a clip of 1:45.21.

 

UF capped the meet with a seventh-place performance in the 400 FR, as the quartet of junior Daniel Penniman (Pensacola, Fla.), Ally, Fraser and Jos Smith (Milledgeville, Ga.) combined for a time of 2:55.08. The group of Salatta, Ally, Fraser and Penniman posted a time of 2:53.12 in the morning session, good for fifth in the UF record book.

 

Penniman also competed in the 100 free during Saturday’s prelims, placing 18th with a career-best time of 43.33 that makes him the sixth-fastest performer in UF history in that event. Junior J.B. Walsh (Virginia Beach, Va.) also turned in a career-best 1:47.18 en route to a 24th-place finish in the 200 fly during the morning session. Sophomore Rex Tullius (Port Orange, Fla.) swam to a 28th-place finish in the 200 back (1:45.26), while junior Kevin Nead (Ithaca, N.Y.) touched 37th in the same event with a time of 1:47.14.

 

With three swimmers each earning All-America honors in two different individual races on the night, Florida completed the meet having sent at least three swimmers to finals five times over the three-day competition. The Gators brought 41 All-America honors back from Minneapolis, running their all-time total to 1,009. UF’s 41 All-America performances are its most since collecting 42 in 2001, and Salatta became the team’s active leader with 14 career accolades after earning seven at the meet for the second time in as many years.

 

Final Team Top-10

1. Auburn – 566 points

2. Stanford – 397 points

3. Arizona – 371 points

4. FLORIDA – 321 POINTS

5. Texas – 296 points

6. Northwestern – 221 points

7. Michigan – 207 points

8. California – 176 points

9. Southern California – 145 points

10. Minnesota – 131 points

 

 

Day Three Event Winners

Event

Name (School)

Time

1,650 Free

Larsen Jensen (Southern California)

14:26.70%

200 Back

Matt Grevers (Northwestern)

1:38.71

100 Free

Cesar Cielo (Auburn)

41.17^#%

200 Breast

Vlad Polyakov (Alabama)

1:52.71%

200 Fly

Patrick Oneil (California)

1:42.98

Platform

Steven Segerlin (Auburn)

414.90

400 FR

Andkjaer, Cielo, Targett, Lundquist (Auburn)

2:46.56^#%

^ - Denotes NCAA record

@ - Denotes American record

# - Denotes US Open record

% - Denotes pool record

& - Denotes NCAA meet record only

 

Day Three Prelims Winners

Event

Name (School)

Time

200 Back

Matt Grevers (Northwestern)

1:41.55

100 Free

Ben Wildman-Tobriner (Stanford)

42.05

200 Breast

Vlad Polyakov (Florida)

1:54.82

200 Fly

Gil Stovall (Georgia)

1:43.66

Platform

Steven Segerlin (Auburn)

427.45

400 FR

Godec, Meichtry, Adrian, Copeland (California)

2:51.28

 

Florida Finishes

1,650 Free

10. Tobias Work – 15:02.53

19. Grant Johnson – 15:12.04

 

200 Back

3. Lucas Salatta – 1:41.86

4. Roland Rudolf – 1:42.14

13. Omar Pinzon – 1:44.41

28. Rex Tullius – 1:45.26

37. Kevin Nead – 1:47.14

 

100 Free

18. Daniel Penniman – 43.33

 

200 Breast

5. Bill Mrazek – 1:55.37

6. Bradley Ally – 1:55.85

10. Luca De Matteis – 1:56.51

 

200 Fly

5. Shaune Fraser – 1:44.08

13. Tim Hughes – 1:45.23

24. J.B. Walsh – 1:47.18

 

 

 

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