Led by a new American
Record in the 200-yard individual medley, the University of Florida
men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams found success on day one of the
2007 USA Short Course National Championships.
Former Gator Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) set
a new American record in the 200-yard individual Medley to lead the charge for
the Florida. Lochte’s time of 1:40.08 placed him well over
a second ahead of second place finisher Michael Phelps and broke the record by
.47 seconds. Bradley Ally (Ft.
Lauderdale, Fla.) was
the Gators second-best finisher, placing 15th overall with a time of
1:48.33, a season best for the junior.
Clark Burckle and Shaune Fraser (George Town,
Cayman Islands) finished 18th and
19th respectively with times of 1:49.09 and 1:49.26. The duo finished second and third in the ‘C’
heat final. Rex Tullius (Port Orange, Fla.) and
Dustin McLarty (DeLand, Fla.) also finished back-to-back, earning
the 46th and 47th best times of the race at 1:53.20 and
Gemma Spofforth (West
turned in her best performance of the season in the 200-yard individual medley,
finishing 33rd overall with a time of 2:03.75. She was tied in the standings with Stephanie
Proud (Durham, England), who finished with the
same time. Natalie Pike (Boca Raton, Fla.)
swam a time of 2:03.85 to finish 38th overall. Former Gator Vipa Bernhardt turned in an 18th
place time of 2:00.60.
Led by senior Tobias Work
(Falmouth, Mass.) who took home a 12th place finish in the 500-yard
freestyle with a time of 4:24.27, following a fourth place finish in the ‘B’ heat
final, the Gators went on to earn four other top finishes. Work was joined in the final by freshman
Barlazs Gercsak (Budapest, Hungary) who placed 16th
overall with an eighth place finish in the final and a time of 4:31.74. Roland Rudolf (Budapest, Hungary)
was the last of the Gators to final in the event. Rudolf posted a time of 4:24.71 to rank 18th
overall, marking the sophomore’s best swim of the season. Sophomore Clark Burckle (Louisville, Ky.)
placed 28th overall with a time of 4:29.67. The sophomore bested his previous season-best
by 5.10 seconds. McLarty rounded out the
Gators’ finishers in the 500 free with a time of 4:32.88 for a 43rd
On the women’s side, the
Gators faired just as well, led by senior Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.)
who turned in a sixth place overall finish in the event. Her time of 4:44.63 marked a season
best. Junior Laurabeth Guenthner (Wellington, Fla.)
was 21st overall with a time of 4:48.15, placing fifth in the ‘C’
heat final. Proud will bring a 37th
place finish back to Gainesville,
touching the wall during preliminaries with a time of 452.79. Kim Larson (Longwood,
Fla.) finished 52nd with a time of
4:56.11, while Elizabeth Kemp (Potomac,
Md.) rounded out Florida’s
finishers with a time of 4:56.96 to place 56th overall.
Lochte was the lone Gator
to swim in the men’s 50-yard freestyle. He
secured his second win of the night, touching the wall in 19.31 seconds,
bettering the second place finisher by just .03 seconds.
On the women’s end of the
50 free, Stephanie Napier (Chattanooga,
Tenn.) turned in the Gators best
performance, earning a 33rd place finish with a time of 23.33
seconds. Kemp also took part in the
race, finishing 54th overall with a time of 23.64.
Tullius, Burckle, Fraser
and Daniel Penniman (Pensacola,
Fla.) combined to finish fifth in
the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 3:18.34, marking the second fastest
time of the season swam by a Gator 400 medley relay team. Rudolf, Ally, Tim Hughes (Winter
and Work swam a time of 3:21.68 to place 12th overall.
Spofforth, Burckle, Kemp
and Pike swam to the wall in a combined time of 3:44.60 for a ninth place
finish in the women’s 400 MR.
The Gators scored a
combined 45 points to finish the first day in fourth place. They lead rival Auburn by just five points.
Tomorrow’s events will
begin at 9:30 a.m. with preliminaries carrying through the morning. Finals are set to begin at 6:00 p.m. Those wishing to watch the event live should