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Men's Swimming & Diving Headline


Saturday January 26, 2008No. 5 Gators Fall to No. 8 Auburn, 165-135

Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida fifth ranked men’s and seventh women’s swimming and diving teams split the decision with Southeastern Conference rival, Auburn University on Saturday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.  The Florida women defeated No. 2 Auburn for the first time since the 1993-94 season, 165-135, while the men dropped the meet by the same score to the eighth ranked Tigers.


The Florida men stand at 9-2 on the season, 3-1 in the SEC while the women improve to 9-1 overall and 4-1 in the SEC.


The Gators put together a combined four automatic qualifying times, 20 provisional times and 12 Olympic Trials cuts en route to the split with the Tigers.  The Gators took the lead on the women’s side after the one meter diving concluded and followed with a first place finish in the 200 medley relay to close out the meet.


“The thing we were looking for today with the women was getting their racing times up.  We had great competition with a really good Auburn team,” said head coach Gregg Troy.  “There were a lot of close races, but we won a lot of them.  We put ourselves in a situation where we had some people step up to a whole new level.  As far as the men, we are really pleased with the way they swam.” 


Samantha Vanderbilt, Amanda Hartley, Colleen Healy and Elizabeth Kemp finished with a provisional time of 1:57.34 to earn 11 points for their team and add some padding to the early score.


Jeana Bartell and Monica Dodson helped the Gators along with first and second place finishes in both the one and three meter diving events.  Bartell swept both events, with a score of 266.54 on the one meter and 275.78 on the three meter.  Dodson was second on each with scores of 262.12 on the one meter and 273.83 on the three meter.


The Gator men fell behind early thanks to some high scores from the Auburn divers, but Florida closed the Gap throughout the meet, including in the second to last event, finishing 1-2-3 in the 200 IM.  Bradley Ally led the way with a time of 2:06.74.  He was followed by Dustin McLarty (2:08.08) and Omar Pinzon (2:08.58).


“For the most part the men raced really tough and are as focused as they should be at the end of the season,” said Troy.  “We had some veterans and some young guys step up, taking International Class athletes to the end of the race and that was huge.”


The Gators sealed the meet on the women’s side with a first place finish in the 200 free relay.  Caroline Burckle, Healy, Kemp and Stephanie Napier took first with a provisional time of 1:46.26.  The Gator men’s quad of Daniel Penniman, Shaune Fraser, Tim Hughes and Jos Smith touched in with a time of 1:34.86 for second place.


Individually, the Gator swimmers were led by Laurabeth Guenthner, who swam to a career best time, by nearly seven seconds, in the 1,500-meter free with a time of 16:40.74.  Guenthner tallied her second win of the day in the 400 free, taking the win by 3.36 seconds with a time of 4:17.37, tallying 18 points in leading her team.


“Laurabeth has improved every year for three years,” said Troy.  “She has taken her competition to a whole new level and was real key in the women’s win today.”


Florida also received strong swims from Natalie Pike, Gemma Spofforth, and Stephanie Proud.  The three combined for a total of 34 points individually.  Pike picked up a second place finish in the 200 free with a time of 2:03.03, qualifying her for the Olympic Trials and adding another provisional time to her credit this season.  Spofforth and Proud combined to finish 1-2 in the 100 back.  Spofforth swam to an automatic qualifying time of 1:03.26, marking her best time this season.  Proud turned in a B standard for the Gators with her second place time of 1:04.88, which was also a season best. 


The sophomore tandem reversed places in the 200 back, with Proud coming out on top with an automatic qualifying time of 2:15.66.  Spofforth picked up her second automatic invite to the NCAA meet as well, finishing second with a time of 2:16.40.  Both swimmers’ times served as season bests in the long course format.


Pike later picked up a third place finish in the 200-meter individual medley.  The senior swam to a Trials qualifying time of 2:20.01.  Leah Retrum picked up her second win of the year, qualifying for the NCAA meet with her win in the IM.  Retrum touched in with at time of 2:18.81.


For the men, Logan Storie led off the individual scoring with nine points in the 1,500-meter free.  Storie touched in with a Trials cut time of 15:41.70, swimming away from the competition and finishing 10.22 seconds ahead of the rest of the field for his best time of the season.  Storie added to his first place times with a swim of 4:02.70 in the 400 free.  In a race for the wall, Storie stretched it out to take the win.


Clark Burckle finished his afternoon with 13 points, winning the 200-meter breast with a provisional time of 2:19.04.  He also took second in the 100 breast, touching in with a time of 1:04.80, just missing the wall by .32 seconds for first place.


Tobias Work brought home six points in the distance events for the men, placing third in both the 1,500 and 400 free events.  Work finished the 1,500 with a time of 15:56.27 and the 400 free with a tie of 4:03.92.


Fraser continued to have a solid season heading into the SEC and NCAA meet.  Fraser was out touched at the end of the 200-meter free, finishing with a provisional time of 1:52.77.  Fraser also picked up a third place finish in the 100 free with a time of 52.34, missing second place by just .04.


Kemp was the Gator’s top finisher for the women, touching in with a provisional time of 58.21, ahead of Burckle who was fourth with a time of 58.40.


On the women’s side Hartley and Burckle finished just .01 seconds apart to take second and third in the event.  Hartley was second with her time of 1:12.96 and Burckle was just behind her, swimming in with a time of 1:12.97.


J.B. Walsh and Hughes combined to go 1-2 in the 200-meter fly.  Both picked up provisional and Olympic Trials qualifying times, touching in at 2:03.48 and 2:03.56 respectively.  Hughes is now qualified for the Olympic Trials while Walsh will swim for his native Philippines in Beijing this summer.


On the women’s side in the same event, freshman Sarah Sykes swam a provisional time of 2:17.01 to finish second, while Lindsay Woodward was third with a time of 2:20.46.


The 50 free turned in another provisional time for the Gators, led by Stephanie Napier on the women’s side who finished third with a time of 26.61 and Jos Smith on the men’s side, who finished with a time of 23.67.


The Gators will return to action next weekend as they travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the Volunteers.  The women will swim Friday night at 7 p.m. while the men will wait until Saturday at 1 p.m. 


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