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Saturday December 1, 2007Gators Turn in Several Top Times at Alabama, Nationals

Atlanta, Ga.

Florida swimming had one of their best days of the season thus far, earning several top finishes at the U.S. Short Course Nationals, while also earning qualifying times in several events at the Alabama Classic.

Clark Burckle swam to a season best time of 2:00.05 to earn a fifth place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke at Nationals. His finish was the best by a current Gator at the meet. Bradley Ally was 28th in the same event with a time of 2:03.66. Former Gator Vipa Bernhardt was the lone swimmer for Florida on the women’s side, placing second in the ‘B’ final with a time of 2:13.48.

Former Gator Ryan Lochte swam to his second American record of the meet in the 200-yard backstroke. Lochte’s time of 1:36.81 was nearly 5 seconds better than the rest of the field. Roland Rudolf finished first in the ‘C’ final of the same event, touching the wall with a time of 1:45.46. Rex Tullius rounded out the Gator finishes in the event, swimming to a time of 1:51.22 to place 45th.

Tobias Work swam his way to an 18th place finish in the 1,650 free with a time of 15:29.38. Work was joined by Dustin McLarty who swam to a time of 42nd place finish with a time of 15:56.30.

In the 100-yard freestyle, Daniel Penniman was the lone Gator representative, swimming to the wall with a time of 45.67 to finish 34th overall. On the women’s side Natalie Pike had Florida’s best finish, placing 37th with a time of 50.84. Pike was joined by Liz Kemp who placed 53rd with a time of 51.14.

The 200-yard butterfly was a successful event for the Gators as Shaune Fraser placed 14th with a time of 1:48.47. Tim Hughes was 31st with a time of 1:49.87 while Burckle was 52nd with a time of 1:52.88 and Ally was 62nd with a time of 1:55.98. Liz Kemp was Florida’s lone swimmer on the women’s side, finishing 69th with a time of 2:04.75.

Fraser, Ally, Penniman and Rudolf combined to swim to a time of 3:02.47 to finish sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay while Hughes, Work, Burckle and Tullius placed 12th with a time of 3:06.26. For the women, Pike, Burckle, Kemp and Napier combined for a time of 3:22.43 to place seventh.

In Alabama, the Gators earned top times in each event, led by Joey Pedraza and Stacy Nedrud who led off the night with first and second place performances in the 400-meter individual medley. Pedraza took the first place time on the men’s side with a swim of 4:33.94, while Nedrud was second for the women with a time of 4:59.77.

Julianne Lago had another solid performance in the 100-meter butterfly, swimming her way to a third place finish with a time of 1:02.34. Lago was joined by Skylar Stroman on the men’s side who turned in a Gator-best seventh place finish with a time of 58.37 in the finals.

Jenne Ballatore was Florida’s top finisher in the 200-meter freestyle, touching the wall with a time of 2:05.26. Kyle Coan turned in the Gators’ best men’s finish, swimming to a time of 1:54.52 in the finals to finish third overall. Coan returned with the Gators’ third best finish in the 100-meter back, taking eighth overall in the finals with a time of 59.74.

In the 100 breaststroke, Amanda Hartley finished third overall in the event with a time of 1:13.64, marking the Gators best finish in the event. Samantha Vanderbilt will join finish first overall with a time of 1:03.59 in the 100-meter back.

The Gator women wrapped up the evening in style, swimming their way to a first place finish in the 800-meter free relay. The combination of Elizabeth Goldson, Sarah Sykes, Lago and Ballatore touched in with a ‘B’ qualifying time of 8:25.48. The Florida men were just as effective, sweeping first and second place. Pedraza, Storie, Matt Norton and Ryan Crete swam to the top time of 7:45.07. They were joined by Brett Jones, Brett Fraser, Coan and Skylar Stroman who swam their way to second place with a time of 7:49.07.

In Athens, Monica Dodson dove to a season and Gator career best score of 315.15 to finish first on the three-meter board. Sarah Ellerby placed fifth with a score of 261.20 and was joined by Jeanna Bartell who was sixth with a score of 257.35. Whitney Stern was seventh (251.80), Jenny Funch finished eighth with a time of 232.30 and Jeniree Flores placed 10th with a score of 241.85. On the men’s side, Aaron Leech was fifth with a score of 291.50 on the one-meter board while Grayson Patten finished ninth with a score of 248.25.

The Gators will be in action again tomorrow as all three meets wrap up.
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