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Tuesday November 20, 2007No. 6 Men's Swimming and Diving Flys by FSU, 155-88.

Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams combined to win 18 events, including three-of-four relays, to defeat Florida State.  The number six ranked men swam past the No. 24 Seminoles by a score of 155-88 while the seventh ranked women earned a 169-74 victory over the No. 21 ranked FSU.  Florida earned a combined total of 18 NCAA provisional times over the course of the meet.

 

“We swam really well tonight,” said head coach Gregg Troy.  “FSU approaches the season a little bit differently than we do.  They tend to put a big focus on this meet; it never has been for us.  I think our (swimmers) got a ready mentally and it showed.”

 

Florida opened the meet scoring two top finishes in the women’s one-meter diving.  Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) and Jennifer Funch (Cincinnati, Oh.) combined to go one-two and open up what would be a night of firsts for the Gators.

 

The Gators would later earn another first place finish from Jeanna Bartell (Boca Raton, Fla.), on the three meter board.  Her score of 306.00 automatically qualifies her for NCAA Zone competition.  Aaron Leech (Newark, Del.) had the best finishes for the men’s side, taking second on the one-meter board (273.98) and fourth on the three meter board (261.68).

 

As the meet began, the 400-yard medley relay teams took center stage and it was the Gators who came away with the two top times.  The ‘A’ squad, led by Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England), Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.), Elizabeth Kemp (Potomac, Md.) and Natalie Pike (Franklin, Tenn.), turned in a ‘B’ standard qualifying time of 3:42.42 to kick things off for the Gators.

 

Burckle later returned to the pool and remained undefeated in individual events this season, swimming to the top spot in the 200-yard freestyle.  She clocked in with a time of 1:47.67, earning a ‘B’ standard time.  Florida’s men completed a sweep led by Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands), who clocked in with a provisional time of 1:37.50.  Roland Rudolf (Budapest, Hungary), Grant Johnson (Tolland, Conn.) and Logan Storie (Corvallis, Ore.) followed, finishing in the second, third and fourth spots respectively.

 

The men picked up their first win of the night in the 400 medley relay as Rex Tullius (Port Orange, Fla.), Clark Burckle (Louisville, Ky.), Fraser and Tim Hughes (Winter Park, Fla.) combined to swim an NCAA provisional time of 317.34. 

 

Florida continued to roll as the distance freestylers took to the pool and earned seven top times.  For the women, Laurabeth Guenthner (Wellington, Fla.), Kim Larson (Longwood, Fla.) and Elizabeth Goldson (Glen Cove, N.Y.) took the top three spots.  Guenthner’s time of 9:41.18 was a career best and Gator best this season.  On the men’s side it was Tobias Work (Falmouth, Mass.), Joey Pedraza (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Ryan Crete (Sarasota, Fla.) and Cody Kauffman (Harrisburg, Pa.) that captured the top four times. 

 

In the second portion of the meet the events were different but the outcome was the same for Florida distance swimmers.  Guenthner turned in a provisional time of 4:46.07 in the 500 freestyle to lead the Gator contingent.  Larson finished second with a provisional time of 4:51.65.  Florida’s men earned a one through four finishes in the same event.  Eric Shrestha (Tallahassee, Fla.) finished fourth and was nearly five seconds ahead of Florida State’s first finisher.  Work earned his second win and another provisional time for the Gators, touching first with a time of 4:24.03.  He was followed by Fraser (4:26.21) and Storie (4:32.84).

 

The 200 breaststroke was a Burckle sweep as both Caroline and Clark took top honors.  Caroline missed an automatic qualifying time by just .61 seconds, touching the wall with a time of 2:14.80.  Clark also finished with a provisional time of 2:00.03.  Both Burckle’s remain undefeated in the 200 breast this season.  Caroline is undefeated in all individual events that she has swum. 

 

In a race that came down to the wire, Florida’s Stephanie Napier (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Colleen Healy (Cape Coral, Fla.) would come out victorious, claiming the first two places.  Napier swam to the wall in 23.29, while Healy was just behind her with a time of 23.65.

 

Senior Natalie Pike (Boca Raton, Fla.) continued to have a strong senior season as she turned in a season best time of 2:02.31 to win the 200 individual medley.  She was followed by Spofforth, who was making her return to the water after a four meet absence.  Spofforth finished with a time of 2:02.53, both her time and Pike’s were ‘B’ qualifiers.  On the men’s side it was Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) touching the wall first with a time of 1:49.36, yet another provisional qualifying time for the Gators.  Clark Burckle and Dustin McLarty (DeLand, Fla.) followed to round out the top three.

 

Pike would later come back to win the 100 freestyle, scoring her second provisional time of the meet at 50.48.  Spofforth earned her second cut as well, finishing the 200 backstroke in 1:58.67 to secure the win.  Senior Samantha Vanderbilt, who was coming off a two-win performance this past weekend, was third with at time of 1:59.83, also a provisional time.

 

Florida’s men faired just as well in the 200 back, combining to go one-two-three-four.  Rudolf just barely missed swimming to an automatic qualifying time to come in first.  His time of 1:44.19 was just two one-hundredths of a second shy of his season best time.  Rudolf was followed by Tullius, Skylar Stroman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.) and Kyle Coan (Plantation, Fla.). 

 

Two freshmen, Julianne Lago (Miami, Fla,) and Sarah Sykes (Jacksonville, Fla.) turned in provisional times in the 200 butterfly.  Lago touched in first with a time of 2:00.66, followed by Sykes with a time of 2:02.50.  Kemp completed the sweep of the top three with her time of 2:02.62.  For the men it was the seniors that led the way.  J.B. Walsh (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Hughes each turned in ‘B’ qualifiers to earn the top two spots.  McLarty followed suit, coming in third.

 

The Gators and Seminoles closed out the meet in fashion, trading finishes in the 400 freestyle relay.  On the women’s side the Gators were out-touched at the wall by two one-hundredths of a second, finishing second with a provisional time of 3:24.08.  On the men’s side it was the Gators pulling out the win on the last leg, touching the wall with a time of 3:02.22, .71 seconds ahead of FSU. 

 

“Our kids have a lot of pride,” said Troy.  “We didn’t swim well there last year and our kids took care of that this year.”

 

Florida improves their overall record to 5-1 on both sides and will remain idle through the holiday break before hitting the pool again from November 29 through December 1.  Those that have qualified will head to Atlanta for the U.S. Short Course Nationals while the remainder of the team will travel to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama Invitational.  Florida Divers will compete at the Georgia Diving Invitational.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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