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Saturday August 16, 2008Gators in the Olympics - August 16

BEIJING, China

Gator legend Dara Torres (U.S.) took to the pool in Beijing in the 50-meter free and 100-meter medley relay events, earning silver in American Record speed in both the 50 free and medley relay. Athletes with ties to the University of Florida were in Summer Olympic swimming, baseball and track & field action Saturday, Aug. 16. The Gators have collaboratively claimed eight Olympic medals for the 2008 campaign thus far.

 

 

Swimming

After qualifying as the No. 1 seed (24.27) in the semifinal round of the 50-meter free Friday, Torres set her sights on what would be her first individual Olympic gold medal, her 11th medal overall, in the final showdown of the event Saturday.

 

Torres earned her 11th medal in American Record speed, a time of 24.07, good for the silver medal. Torres, who previously held the American Record (24.25) from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in July, was out-touched by one-hundredth-of-a-second by Britta Steffen of Germany, who set a new Olympic Record with her gold medal swim of 24.06. Cate Campbell of Australia (24.17) rounded out the three medalists with bronze.

 

Despite falling short of gold, the 50-free performance by Torres was her best individual finish ever in the Olympic Games as she claimed bronze in the event at the 2000 Games.

 

Torres wrapped up Olympic swimming action for the Gators as the freestyle anchor leg of the U.S 4x100-meter medley relay that finished second in silver medal fashion with an American Record time of 3:53.30. Torres earned her 12th Olympic medal as she swam a split of 52.27 in attempts to hunt down Australian freestyle swimmer Lisbeth Trickett, who owns the fastest 100 free relay split in history.

 

U.S. teammate Natalie Coughlin swam an American Record 100-meter backstroke leg of the medley relay (58.94) alongside Torres, while also becoming the first woman to earn six swimming medals at an Olympiad.

 

The United States finished second to Australia (3:52.69 WR) and ahead of China (3:56.11), who finished with bronze in the 4x100 medley relay.

 

Gemma Spofforth (Great Britain) wrapped up Olympic swimming action for Great Britain, swimming the backstroke leg of the 4x100-meter medley relay that finished fourth. Spofforth split 59.05, resetting the British Commonwealth and European Records that she broke in finals of the 100-meter back (59.38) on Tuesday of Olympic competition.

 

To view all indoor swimming results from the 2008 Olympic Games, click HERE.

 

 

 

Baseball

Having already cut an early four-run deficit to one run, the U.S. Olympic Baseball Team completed its rally in the bottom of the seventh inning as consecutive two-out RBI doubles from Brian Barden and Terry Tiffee lifted Team USA to a 5-4 victory over Canada on Saturday afternoon at Wukesong Field 2.

 

Left-handed reliever Brian Duensing hurled 3.1 scoreless innings of relief and retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced to pick up the win. The U.S. is now 2-2 in Olympic competition, while Canada fell to 1-3. The U.S. will get a day off and return to action on Monday evening (August 18) at the Wukesong Main Field to face host China with first pitch set for 7 p.m. Former Gator All-American Matt LaPorta was 0-for-2 in the game and is now batting .071 (1-for-14) over the four games in Beijing.

 

 

Track and Field

Former Florida sprinter Kerron Clement (LaPorte, Texas) punched his ticket to the finals of the 400-meter hurdles at the 2008 Olympic Games at National Stadium in Beijing.

 

Clement, participating in the first Olympics of his career, finished first in his heat in a time of 48.27, which was third overall. The finals take place at 10 a.m. ET Monday.

 

It felt good, Clement said. I just lost focus on the last hurdle. Im really pleased the other guys made it through. Anything can happen. I feel confident the U.S. can go 1-2-3 in the finals.

 

Former Gator sprinter Novlene Williams-Mills (St. Ann, Jamaica), competing for Jamaica, finished first in her heat of the 400-meter run to advance to the semifinal round, which commences at 9 a.m. ET Sunday morning. Williams-Mills, competing in the second Olympic Games of her career after also participating in the 2004 Athens Games, finished in a time of 51.52.

 

Also in the 400-meter run, former Gator Tiandra Ponteen (St. Kitts) saw her Olympic bid come up short, finishing fifth in her heat in a time of 52.41.

 

 

 

 

2008 Gator Medal Count: 8   (2 Gold, 3 Silver, 3 Bronze) 

 

Gator

Country

Sport

Event

Time

Medal

Caroline Burckle

U.S.

Swimming

800-meter free relay

7:46.33

Bronze

Ryan Lochte

U.S.

Swimming

200-meter back

1:53.94

Gold

Ryan Lochte

U.S.

Swimming

800-meter free relay

6:58.56

Gold

Ryan Lochte

U.S.

Swimming

200-meter IM

1:56.53

Bronze

Ryan Lochte

U.S.

Swimming

400-meter IM

4:08.09

Bronze

Dara Torres

U.S.

Swimming

400-meter medley relay

3:53.30

Silver

Dara Torres

U.S.

Swimming

50-meter free

24.07

Silver

Dara Torres

U.S.

Swimming

400-meter free relay

3:34.33

Silver

 

 

-Go Gators-

 

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