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Stephanie Napier broke Dara Torres' record in the 50 free with a time of 22.30.

Thursday February 21, 2008Napier, Burckle Break School Records as Gators Lead SEC Championships

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Stephanie Napier broke Dara Torres' record in the 50 free with a time of 22.30.

Stephanie Napier  and Caroline Burckle each broke school records in the 50 free and 500 free, respectively, to lead the University of Florida women’s swimming and diving team to a first place standing after day two of the Southeastern Conference Championships.

 

As a team, the Gators currently lead defending SEC and National Champion Auburn, with a total of 272 points to Auburn’s 230 points.  Tennessee currently sits in third place with a total of 200.5 points.  For the evening, Florida totaled seven automatic qualifying times and four provisional times. 

 

“The women have been outstanding,” said Head Coach Gregg Troy.  “We had a great day.  Obviously Caroline Burckle was great, but across the board we had great swims.  We had solid relays and our diving really helped.  This was one of our better days.  We have to continue to do what we are doing.”

 

Burckle went out fast and came home to break her own SEC record with a time of 4:34.87.  She was just off Janet Evan’s NCAA mark of 4:34.39, falling behind in just the last 50 meters.  Her time was the second fastest ever by a collegian, behind Evans, and set a new pool record as well.  Her new record betters Tami Bruce’s record of 4:38.03, a record that had been in place since 1988, by 3.16 seconds.  Burckle won the 500 in her freshman year and by winning the event this year brings the Championship back to Gainesville after a two year layoff.  A Gator woman had won the event every year from 2001-05.  The win was Burckle’s second SEC Championship of the meet as well as second SEC record.

 

Florida picked up more points from both Kim Larson and Laurabeth Guenthner, who placed seventh and eighth with times of 4:44.71 and 4:44.89.  For Guenthner, her time was an improvement upon her preliminaries finish and serves as a new personal best.

 

Napier, who tied Florida great Dara Torres’ school record of 22.38 in the preliminaries, returned to place her name at the top of the record books with her swim of 22.30 in the finals.  Napier collected an automatic qualifying time, punching her ticket to Columbus with her record-breaking swim.

 

Gemma Spofforth continued her record setting performance at this year’s championships, touching in with the third place and third-best time in the 200 individual medley.  Spofforth’s time of 1:57.46 places her just .40 seconds off school record pace.  Natalie Pike improved upon her placing from last season as well as her standing, touching in with a fourth place time of 1:58.98 to move her up to seventh on the UF all-time list.  Senior Leah Retrum turned in her best swim in the event this season, touching the wall with a fifth place time of 1:59.29.  Stephanie Proud touched the wall in 2:00.46 to finish seventh.

 

In her first SEC Championships, freshman Monica Dodson went out and finished fourth with her second best total on the three-meter board this week of 305.70.  She placed fourth in the preliminaries with her second-best score of the season, 306.50.

 

Florida’s relay team of Napier, Pike, Healy and Liz Kemp wrapped up the evening with a fourth place finish and a time of 1:30.20.  The time was the second fastest ever by a UF 200 FR team and served as an automatic qualifying time. 

 

The Gators will return to the water tomorrow for day three of the championships.  Live results can be found on www.rolltide.com.

 

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