Saturday January 17, 2009No. 6 Florida Finishes Second at Dallas Morning News Classic
Behind senior Bradley Ally’s (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) NCAA automatic standard Friday and three first-place finishes Saturday, No. 6 Florida rallied for a second-place finish at the Dallas Morning News Classic, which concluded Saturday at the Joe Perkins Natatorium. The Gators racked up 311 points, falling short to the University of Michigan (346), a team that also edged the Gator men in UF’s 2008-09 season-opening meet Oct. 17.
While Michigan and UF claimed the top two spots, host SMU (272) took third, North Carolina (256) came in fourth, and Arizona State (227) and Southern California (223) placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
After Ally’s automatic qualifying mark in the 400 IM Friday, the Gators returned to competition at the Dallas Morning News Classic Saturday ready to race.
The Orange and Blue kicked off the evening with a second-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay thanks to stellar swims by juniors Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia), Clark Burckle (Louisville, Ky.), Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) and Roberto Gomez (Weston, Fla.). The contingent of UF men finished the race in season-best 1:28.21 and were just out-touched by first-place Michigan (1:28.15).
Burckle clocked a NCAA provisional mark in the 200 breast, claiming the title with a 1:58.13 swim, while Ally finished first in the consolation final (1:58.32). Gator senior Rex Tullius (Port Orange, Fla.) followed Burckle’s lead, capturing the 200 back title with a 1:44.45, while Pinzon clocked a 1:45.24 to finish first in the consolation final.
Sophomore Balazs Gercsak (Budapest, Hungary) hit the water in the 500 free, clocking a season-best 4:22.14, improving his NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the event. Brett Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) represented the Gators in the consolation final of the 500 free, touching the wall at 4:26.71, good for eighth place and a season-best time. Fraser shaved approximately 16 seconds off the 4:42.93 mark he swam Jan. 7 in the Gators’ dual with Virginia.
In the 100 free, Gomez swam to a second-place finish (44.29) and Ally finished third (45.31) in the consolation final.
Freshman Anthony Lewark (Davie, Fla.) represented the Orange and Blue on the diving boards, finishing third in the three-meter competition, racking up a score of 314.60.
As swimming action continued, the Gators worked hard to close the gap with the Wolverines. Shaune Fraser was victorious in the 200-yard butterfly (1:44.56), while Gercsak struck again, finishing second in the consolation final (1:49.38). Pinzon rallied for third in he 200 IM (1:49.18) and Tullius finished third (1:51.00) in the consolation heat of the short medley race.
The 2009 Dallas Morning News Classic concluded with the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Florida quartet of both Fraser brothers, Ally and Gomez swam to a 1:20.73, being just edged by Michigan, who placed first in 1:20.09. Third-place finisher and host, SMU, also clocked a 1:20, tapping in at 1:20.94.
1. Michigan: 346
2. Florida: 311
3. Southern Methodist: 272
4. North Carolina: 256
5. Arizona State: 227
6. Southern California: 223