Thursday October 30, 2008No. 4 Gators Defeat No. 9 Georgia, 139-102
Led by five NCAA provisional qualifying times and three new NCAA Zone Diving cuts, the No. 4 Florida swimming and diving men (2-1, 2-0 SEC) surpassed the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1 SEC), 139-102, while the No. 4 Gator women (2-2, 1-1 SEC) were edged, 143-100, by the No. 2 Lady Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 SEC) at the O’Connell Center Thursday.
Kicking off Florida/Georgia week with the season home-opener for swimming and diving, senior Laurabeth Guenthner (Wellington, Fla.) led the way on the women’s side with NCAA provisional marks in both the 1,650 and 500-yard free races. Guenthner finished second in both events to UGA’s Wendy Trott, finishes that impressed head coach Gregg Troy and the UF coaching staff.
Sophomore Balazs Gercsak (Budapest, Hungary) and junior Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) each recorded two individual event victories on the men’s side, Gercsak in the 500 (4:24.39) and the 200-yard (1:37.57) free events, and Fraser in both the 50 (20.56) and 100-yard free (45.04) races. Gercsak’s mark in the 500 free was good for an NCAA provisional qualifying time, as he edged out Georgia competitor Troyden Prinsloo by nearly a second.
“The Florida vs. Georgia match-up is a respected rivalry that’s as good as any in the SEC,” Troy said. “We swam really well today. On the men’s side, Balazs (Gercsak) had some great finishes, while Shaune Fraser also stepped it up for us. Laurabeth Guenthner also had some outstanding swims. Although she finished second in both races, she kept up with world-class talent in Trott, a finalist for South Africa in Beijing. Our women had great relays and our men got to the wall for points.”
Also leading the way for the UF women, junior Stephanie Napier (Chattanooga, Tenn.) raced to a 22.75 provisional mark in the 50-yard free, while rallying for fourth in the 100-yard free (51.04). Freshmen Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) and Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) both exhibited continuing ability to contribute for the Orange and Blue. Crippen took both the 200-yard IM (2:00.91) and 200-yard fly (2:00.34) titles, while stacking the depth in the 200-yard back, with a third-place finish (1:57.97). Stafford held it down for Florida in the freestyle events, finishing second in the 100 free (50.35) and third in the 200 free (1:48.50).
UF junior Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England), improved upon her 200-yard back NCAA provisional mark, established at LSU, finishing in 1:55.96, good for second place. Spofforth additionally rallied for third place in the 200-yard IM, clocking in at 2:02.70 behind Crippen.
On the diving front, the Florida women were led by senior Jeana Bartell (Boca Raton, Fla.) and sophomore Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.). Bartell achieved her first NCAA Zone Diving Championships qualifying mark, with her first-place, 268.88-point finish on the one-meter board. Dodson, who solidified an NCAA Zone Diving cut on the one-meter board against Michigan/Stanford, racked up enough points in the three-meter competition against Georgia to qualify in the 3M event as well (2nd place, 294.15 points).
Highlighting the day for the men in diving action, freshman Anthony Lewark (Davie, Fla.) improved upon his one-meter Zone qualifying mark with his first-place, 313.96-point finish in the one-meter competition, while placing second (341.70) on the three-meter board, also achieving an NCAA Zone cut in the 3M event.
In other men’s swimming action, the Gator men swept first through third in the 200-yard free, with the victory by Gercsak, and contributions by sophomore Brett Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands), junior Roland Rudolf (Budapest, Hungary) and freshman Jeff Raymond (Davie, Fla.), who placed, second, third and fifth, respectively.
The Florida men also captured a sweep in the 200-yard IM by senior Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), junior Clark Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) and junior Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia). The trio finished first, second and third, while teammate, freshman Brian Howell (Cincinnati, Ohio), placed seventh.
Pinzon and freshman Jose Crescimbeni (Holiday, Fla.) led the way in the 200 fly, with second (1:47.40) and third (1:49.80), while Rudolf, senior Rex Tullius (Port Orange, Fla.) and Brett Fraser solidified first, second and fourth in the 200 back.
Both Burckle and Ally returned for UF as a force in the 200-yard breast, with Burckle clocking a 1:58.79, second-place finish, and Ally tapping in third (2:00.42). In sprint freestyle action, junior transfers Roberto Gomez (Weston, Fla.) and Raul Martinez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) teamed up behind Fraser, Gomez finishing third in the 50 free (20.71) and Martinez finishing fourth (21.13). In the 100 free, Gomez touched the wall second (45.92), while Martinez clocked a 46.62 fifth-place finish.
The Gator men’s relays proved to be successful combinations as the quartet of Tullius, Burckle, Pinzon and Fraser finished first in the 400-yard medley relay (3:16.29), while Gomez, Tullius, Martinez and Rudolf rallied for second in the 400-yard free relay, clocking in at 3:03.32.
Both the Florida men and women will be back in action Nov. 8 when they host the South Carolina Gamecocks in another SEC showdown at home in the O’Connell Center. Meet time is slated for 2 p.m. (EDT).