Saturday November 8, 2008No. 5 Florida Swims Past South Carolina Saturday
Led by a talented group of freshmen on the women’s side and key veterans on the men’s side, the No. 5 Gators swept South Carolina at the O’Connell Center Natatorium Saturday. The men topped USC, 167-126, while the women out-swam the Gamecocks, 168.5-126.5, in the last home meet of the fall semester. The win improves the UF men to 3-1 (3-0 SEC), while the Lady Gators move to 3-2 (2-1 SEC). Both the Florida men and women won all but four events on each respective side to top South Carolina in the third SEC match-up of the season.
Senior Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) led the way for the Florida men with three individual event victories, cranking out back-to-back wins in the 100-yard back (50.73) and the 100-yard breast (58.13). Ally struck later in the 50 free (21.24), and also collaborated as a portion of the 400 medley and free relay quartets that both took first.
On the women’s side, freshman Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) highlighted the day UF, recording first-place victories in the 50 free (23.31) and 200 back (2:00.33), while fellow newbies Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.), Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.), Anna-Liisa Pold (San Diego, Calif.), Lily Ramirez (Gainesville, Fla.) and Maida Turnadzic (Cape Coral, Fla.) all recorded stellar swims for the Gators.
Crippen surfaced as the top-competitor in the 200 free (1:50.82) and clocked in second in the 500 free (4:53.58), while Ramirez was the winner in the 100 back (56.35). Pold followed Ramirez in the back with a second-place finish, while racing her way to an event victory in the 400 IM (4:22.09). Bateman struck in the 100-yard fly as the Gators swept first through third in the event, with Turnadzic and sophomore Julianne Lago (Miami, Fla.) taking second and third, respectively. Turnadzic then captured second in the 200 fly as well (2:03.19).
“We had a hard week of training this past week,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “We saw some great swims today, but we’re still not racing as smart as we can. Overall, we’re seeing improvement in different areas each meet, but we need to be more consistent. Our freshmen women are outstanding, and on the men’s side, we have some new faces doing some things and some young guys getting experience. Now we’ll have two weeks ahead of us to challenge the team in training, get into a regular routine and really work on laying the background to prepare for two championship-type meets at the beginning of December.”
In the 500-yard free, junior transfer Raul Martinez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) made his mark with a 4:38.36 victory, while also clocking in fourth in the 200 free (1:42.12). In other distance action, Florida swept first through third in the 1000-yard free, with the victory by junior veteran Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia). Senior Scott Thompson (Birmingham, Mich.) and freshman Austin Detra (Sarasota, Fla.) followed up with second and third. Detra additionally collaborated with Martinez in the 500 free, recording a 4:41.43 swim, good for second place.
Several other new faces on the men’s side made an impression in the defeat over the Gamecocks. Freshman Jose Crescimbeni (Holiday, Fla.) took second in the 100-yard back behind Ally, while fellow freshman Robby Kennedy (Ft. Myers, Fla.) stacked the depth with third in the 100-yard breast. Kennedy returned in the 200 breast to steal the victory with his 2:08.46 swim.
The depth of the Gator men shined through in the 200-yard fly, as UF stole first through fifth to shut out USC. The win by SEC Male Swimmer of the Week Balazs Gercsak (Budapest, Hungary) was just the tip of the iceberg. Freshman Jeff Raymond (Davie, Fla.), senior Eric Shrestha (Tallahassee, Fla.), junior Roland Rudolf (Budapest, Hungary) and freshman Gabriel Huen (Caracas, Venezuela) rallied for second through fifth, respectively. Huen, who saw his first action as a Gator in the defeat over USC, also competed strong in the 100 fly event, taking second with a time of 51.59 as Florida’s top finisher.
On the diving front, junior transfer Kara Salamone (Cooper City, Fla./Texas) took both the one-meter (289.72) and three-meter (308.78) titles for the Gators to earn NCAA Zone qualifying scores on both boards. Senior Jeana Bartell (Boca Raton, Fla.) and sophomore Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) teamed up with Salamone to take the first three spots in the one-meter competition, with Bartell finishing second (261.83) and Dodson taking third (258.90). In the three-meter Dodson was the closest finisher behind Salamone, tapping in at third (274.43), while Bartell placed fourth (244.55).
On the men’s boards, freshman Anthony Lewark (Davie, Fla.) and senior Aaron Leech (Newark, Del.) represented the Orange and Blue on the three-meter board, Lewark in second (324.15) and Leech in fourth (273.45). In the one-meter competition, sophomore Grayson Patten (West Palm Beach, Fla.) led the Gator pack with a victory (285.75), while Leech took second (279.08) and Lewark came third (276.16) to complete the one-two-three sweep on the one-meter board.
The Gators will be idle for the next two weeks as they endure a training period before heading to Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 25 for a 5 p.m. match-up with archrival Florida State.