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Saturday January 24, 2009Gators Split Dual With Auburn Saturday

Auburn, Ala.

In swimming and diving action from the James E. Martin Aquatics Center Saturday, the No. 6 Lady Gators battled past the No.5 Tigers, 180-120, while No. 7 Auburn rallied for a 166-132 win over Florida on the menís side. With the win, the UF women improve to 7-2 overall (3-1 SEC), while the men move to 6-2 overall (3-1 SEC) in dual meet action.

 

The Lady Gators won 11 events of the 16-event meet format, opening and closing the dual with wins in both relays. Additionally the Gators crashed the diving boards for a sweep in the one-meter competition, led by sophomore Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) in first, senior Jeana Bartell (Boca Raton, Fla.) in second and junior Kara Salamone (Hollywood, Fla.) in third. On the three-meter board, Salamone and Bartell came in first and third, respectively, while senior Whitney Stern (Safety Harbor, Fla.) and Dodson finished fourth and seventh.

 

In both the 1,000 and 500-yard distance free races, the Lady Gators excelled, showing their depth in the long events. Florida went 1-2-3 in the 1,000-yard event, led by junior Kristen Beales (Arlington, Va.) (9:47.22) with the win, freshman Melani Costa-Schmid (Palma de Mallona, Spain) (9:50.56) in second and senior Laurabeth Guenthner (Wellington, Fla.) (9:50.59) rounded out the top three finishers.

 

Costa-Schmid, Guenthner and Beales returned again for the sweep in the 500 free, finishing first (4:45.55), second (4:47.67) and third (4:49.32), respectively. All three times were NCAA provisional qualifying marks, as Costa-Schmid picked up her first standard of the season.

 

Junior Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England) led the charge in both backstroke events, her specialy, capturing both titles with times of 53.02 and 1:55.19 in the 100 and 200 swims. Freshman Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) and junior Stephanie Proud (Durham, England) finished in second and third for a sweep in the 200 back. Crippen additionally secured third in the 200 fly and 200 IM.

 

Sophomore Julianne Lago (Miami, Fla.) took the 100-yard fly for the Gators (53.52) and finished second in the 200-yard fly (1:57.66).

 

Another good win for UF in womenís action came in the 50-yard free, which junior Stephanie Napier (Chattanooga, Tenn.) captured in 23.07. Freshman Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) stepped up for the third-place spot (23.21).

 

In menís swim & dive action from Auburn, Florida was led by freshman Anthony Lewark (Davie, Fla.) and senior Aaron Leech (Naperville, Ill.) on the diving boards. Lewark finished third (320.03) in the three-meter competition, while Leech finished sixth (285.00). On the one-meter board, Lewark and Leech finished in fourth (303.53) and fifth (262.05).

 

The opening 200-yard medley relay gave the Gators an indication of the competition they were up against in the Tigers. The quartet of junior Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia), senior Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), junior Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) and senior Jos Smith (Milledgeville, Ga.) placed second (1:28.81), just out-touched by Auburnís 1:28.03.

 

Close races on the menís side became the story of the day, but the Gators escaped with several key wins. Pinzon rallied for the victory in the 100-yard back (48.11), an NCAA provisional mark, while Fraser captured the 200-yard fly (1:46.06) for the second meet in a row. Ally swam to a 2:00.01 in the 200-yard breast to capture first place.

 

Fraser returned to claim the 200 IM title, clocking in at 1:48.64 and Pinzon struck again to finish second in the 100 fly (48.44) and 200-yard IM (1:48.92).

 

Sophomore Balazs Gercsak (Budapest, Hungary) won the 500-yard free in 4:25.95 and finished third in the 200-yard free (1:38.72). Freshman Jeff Raymond (Davie, Fla.) took second in the 200 free event as Floridaís highest finisher in 1:38.68.

 

The Gators will be back in Gainesville to host another conference showdown Friday, Jan. 30, when they host Tennessee. The Vols and Gators will take to the water at 2 p.m. on the menís side, while the women will compete at 7 p.m. in the OíConnell Center.

 

Florida will continue a long weekend as it turns around Saturday, Jan. 31, for a triangular match-up with Indian River Community College and Florida Gulf Coast University, the last home meet of the season for the squad. Eleven swim & dive Gator seniors will be honored prior to the 1 p.m. meet start.

 

-UF-

 

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