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Friday October 17, 2008Gators Edged, 182-115, by Michigan in Season Opener

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Junior Clark Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) captured victories in the 100 and 200-yard breast events in the 2008-09 season-opener as the Wolverines edged the Gator men, 182-115, Friday night from Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor.

The Florida relays posed a challenge for Michigan as UF kicked off the meet with a win in the 400-yard medley relay after head coach Gregg Troy and the coaching staff put together a veteran foursome of Gator men that cruised to a victory in the 400-yard medley relay to kick off the showdown. Senior Rex Tullius (Port Orange, Fla.), and juniors Burckle, Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia) and Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) tapped in at 3:17.06.

Burckle returned later in the 400 IM to place second and again in the 100-meter breast, his specialty, to lead the field on his way to a 56.51 mark, good for first place, while senior Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) secured third (57.45) in the breast.

Fraser later finished third in the 200-yard free (1:38.89), while Tullius finished second in the 100-yard back (49.21) and fourth in the 200-yard back (1:48.99), after being edged out of third by teammate Roland Rudolph (Budapest, Hungary) (1:47.29), who finished third.

Pinzon and freshman Jose Crescimbeni (Holiday, Fla.) rallied for the Gators in the 100-yard fly to finish second and third, while Florida also sealed fourth and fifth in the event.

Freshmen men Jeff Raymond (Davie, Fla.) and Brian Howell (Cincinnati, Ohio) saw their first action as Gators in the 200 free, while veteran junior Ryan Crete (Sarasota, Fla.) led Florida in the 1000-yard free with a second-place finish (9:22.51).

In other distance freestyle action, Fraser was the top finisher for the Gators in the 500-yard free, finishing second (4:29.46), while sophomore Logan Storie (Corvallis, Ore.), senior Cody Kauffman (Harrisburg, Pa.) and Raymond placed third through fifth, respectively.

The battle between the Wolverines and UF in the 50-yard free was a hard-fought battle, as Michigan took first, second and third. Senior Jos Smith (Milledgeville, Ga.) came in fourth (21.07), while Indian River Community College junior transfers Roberto Gomez (Weston, Fla.) (21.13) and Raul Martinez (Maunabo, Puerto Rico) (21.49) finished sixth and seventh. Gomez additionally placed fourth in the 100-yard free, while Martinez placed seventh.

On the diving boards, freshman diver Anthony Lewark (Davie, Fla.) led the way in both the one (309.75) and three-meter competitions (311.25), with second-place finishes on both boards, while senior Aaron Leech (Newark, Del.) finished close behind in third in the one (240.05) and three-meter (289.65) competitions.

The Gators will return to the water next Wednesday and Thursday as both the men and women visit SEC foe LSU in Baton Rouge.  The UF men take to the water at 2 p.m.  (EDT) Wednesday, while the women will duel with the Tigers at 2 p.m. (EDT) Thursday.


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