Thursday December 4, 2008Gators Capture Two National Titles, Two Championship Records & One School Record at U.S. Nationals
Two record-breaking national title performances for the No. 5 UF women’s 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relays highlighted day one of the 2008 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming Short Course National Championships at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center Thursday. Nine individual Gators, including two former UF swimmers, and both UF men’s and women’s relays qualified for finals on the first day of the championship meet.
Eighteen UF swimmers rallied for season-best times on both the men’s and women’s side, including five career bests, 10 NCAA provisional qualifying marks and one automatic qualifying standard for junior Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England).
The 200 free relay quartet of junior Stephanie Napier (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Spofforth and two freshmen in Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) and Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) shattered the U.S. Nationals Championship Record with its 1:29.61 finish en route to capturing the fastest time in Florida history in the relay.
The four women broke the previous team record of 1:29.96 set in the spring by Napier, Spofforth and 2007-08 Florida seniors Colleen Healy and Natalie Pike.
“We were extremely pleased with our performances today,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “Our focus and one of our main goals was to do a really good job in all of our relays. We made that our priority and we did a great job. We secured NCAA provisional marks in all of them and had one automatic qualifying time in Gemma Spofforth’s leadoff backstroke leg. This is the best we’ve swum at this point in the year in quite awhile.”
On the men’s side, the Gator 200 free relay improved from eighth in prelims to fifth overall in the final showdown, clocking a time of 1:19.89, additionally a season-best mark.
Both the men’s and women’s 400-yard medley relays finished the night with a bang as well. The men’s “A” and “B” relays both solidified NCAA B standards, finishing third and fifth overall, while the women’s 400 medley relay captured its second national title performance of the night with the second Championship Record-breaking swim of the day for UF. Spofforth, freshman Lindsay Rogers (Fishers, Ind.), sophomore Julianne Lago (Miami, Fla.) and Stafford collaborated for a 3:34.66, the second-fastest time in UF history to date, in the final race of the evening.
Spofforth’s 51.62 backstroke leadoff leg was an NCAA automatic qualifying mark, as she shattered the 53.01 standard, while Tullius secured an NCAA B mark (47.22) as the leadoff leg of the men’s third place 400 medley relay. The mark was a career-best time for Tullius.
Leading the way for the Lady Gators with an individual NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the 500-yard free was junior Kristen Beales (Arlington, Va.), who cruised to a ninth place, 4:47.15 preliminary mark. Beales returned in finals of the 500 free to clock an even faster 4:46.92 to improve to eighth place. Junior Liz Kemp (Potomac, Md.) additionally recorded a stellar 500-yard free swim in preliminaries, tapping in at a career-best 4:54.67.
Also representing the Gators with career-best marks in the 50 free were sophomores Brett Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) and Lago. Fraser swam to a 21.13 to finish 52nd overall, while Lago tapped in at 23.89, an 88th-place finish out of the 115-woman field.
Freshman Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) was Florida’s highest finisher in the 200-yard IM, while Bateman led the way as UF’s lone representation in finals of the 50-yard free. Crippen swam to a 15th-place finish in the IM, while Bateman rallied for a time of 23.05 in the 50 free to finish 21st overall and fifth in the “C” final of the event.
Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) walked away with 20th in the 200 IM (1:48.18), while the Florida veteran women stacked the depth in the 500-yard free. Beales’ (4:46.92), senior Laurabeth Guenthner (Wellington, Fla.) (4:46.68) and junior Stephanie Proud (Durham, England) (4:49.80) secured eighth, 13th and 15th-place, respectively.
Former Gators Ryan Lochte and Ricardo Monasterio continued to represent the Orange and Blue well after graduating from UF. Lochte, who qualified for finals in both the 50 free and 200 IM, earned a gold medal in the 200 IM event and finished seventh overall in the 50 free. Monasterio took to the water in the 500-yard free, recording a 4:29.11, 16th-place finish.
Day two of U.S. Nationals kicks off with prelims at 9:30 a.m. Friday, while finals action is set to commence at 6 p.m. Competition is also set to commence at the 2008 Princeton Invite Friday. Follow action from the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center here. For complete results and a recap after each day of action at both the U.S. Short Course Nationals and the Princeton Invite, visit www.GatorZone.com.
Florida Results (Thursday, Dec. 4)
50 Free (W)
21st – Sarah Bateman (23.05)
25th – Stephanie Napier (23.22)
56th – Lily Ramirez (23.61), Season Best
59th – Shara Stafford (23.64)
88th – Julianne Lago (23.89), Season & Career Best
50 Free (M)
7th – Ryan Lochte (19.39)
52nd – Brett Fraser (21.13), Season & Career Best
54th – Shaune Fraser (21.16)
60th – Raul Martinez (21.33)
500 Free (W)
8th – Kristen Beales (4:46.92), Season Best, NCAA B Standard
13th – Laurabeth Guenthner (4:46.68), Season Best, NCAA B Standard
15th – Stephanie Proud (4:49.80), Season Best <4:49.76, 17th in prelims>
36th – Liz Kemp (4:54.67), Season & Career Best
53rd – Shara Stafford (5:01.57)
500 Free (M)
16th – Ricardo Monasterio (4:29.11) <10th in prelims (4:24.79)>
19th – Roland Rudolf (4:25.91)
41st – Logan Storie (4:32.14), Season Best
42nd – Clark Burckle (4:32.31)
43rd – Shaune Fraser (4:32.36)
46th – Balazs Gercsak (4:33.04)
50th – Cody Kauffman (4:33.45), Season Best
55th – Ryan Crete (4:35.16), Season Best
200 IM (W)
15th – Teresa Crippen (2:01.78) <2:01.05 in prelims>
27th – Lily Ramirez (2:02.89), Season Best
33rd – Kirsten Smith (2:03.57), Season Best
38th – Gemma Spofforth (2:03.88)
76th – Anna-Liisa Pold (2:07.38), Season Best
79th – Lindsay Rogers (2:07.79)
200 IM (M)
1st – Ryan Lochte (1:40.89)
20th – Bradley Ally (1:48.18)
49th – Rex Tullius (1:52.65), Season Best
52nd – Mike Joyce (1:53.89)
200 Free Relay (W)
1st – 1:29.61, Florida Record, Season Best, NCAA B Cut, U.S. Nationals Championship Record
10th – 1:33.57
200 Free Relay (M)
5th – 1:19.89, Season Best, NCAA B Cut
11th – 1:22.80
400 Medley Relay (W)
1st – 3:34.66, Season Best, NCAA B Cut, U.S. Nationals Championship Record
Gemma Spofforth, NCAA Automatic Standard (51.62 leadoff back leg), Season Best
5th – 3:42.86
Stephanie Proud, NCAA B Cut (54.36 leadoff back leg), Season Best
400 Medley Relay (M)
3rd – 3:12.39, Season Best, NCAA B Cut
Rex Tullius, NCAA B Cut (47.22 leadoff back leg), Career Best, Season Best
5th – 3:14.67, NCAA B Cut
Roland Rudolf, (48.50 split), Career Best, Season Best
*Blue indicates finals qualifiers