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Friday January 30, 2009Two NCAA Automatic Times Lead No. 5 Florida Past No. 7 Tennessee, 174-125

Gainesville, Fla.

Led by two NCAA automatic qualifying times from junior Sarah Peterson and freshman newcomer Jemma Lowe, the No.5-ranked Lady Gator swimming and diving team got the best of No. 7 Tennessee Friday evening, defeating the Lady Vols, 174-125, in the Stephen C. OíConnell Center.

 

Florida moves to 8-1 overall, 4-1 in SEC play, while Tennessee drops to 8-2 overall, 3-2 in conference swimming duals.

 

In her first meet as a Gator, Lowe swam to a 1:53.65 in the 200-yard butterfly, punching her ticket to her first-ever NCAA Championship meet. Lowe cruised past the NCAA ďAĒ cut (1:54.95) by nearly a second and a half. Her victory in the 200-yard fly was one of nine Florida victories against Tennessee in the final SEC showdown of the season for both teams. Lowe additionally tacked on an NCAA provisional mark in the 100-yard fly, also securing the win in 53.27.

 

Just two events earlier, Peterson flew to a 52.81 in the 100-yard backstroke, surpassing the 53.01 NCAA ďAĒ standard in pool-record time. Peterson then returned in the 200-yard back to finish third with a 1:56.85, an NCAA provisional qualifying mark, in addition to her contributions in both the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.

 

Another freshman, Melani Costa-Schmid (Palma de Mallona, Spain) stepped it up for the Orange and Blue, securing victories in the 200 (1:47.22) and 500-yard free (4:44.62) events.

 

In addition to Costa-Schmidís win in the 500 free, Florida claimed the second and third-place spots as well, with senior Laurabeth Guenthner (Wellington, Fla.) (4:47.07) and Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) (4:51.19) in second and third.

 

Juniors Kristen Beales (Arlington, Va.) and Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England) claimed the remaining two swimming victories for the Gators, Beales in the 1,000-yard free (9:41.46) and Spofforth in the 200-yard IM (2:00.69). Guenthner and Crippen finished second and third behind Beales in the 1,000-yard free, while Spofforth additionally finished second in the 100-yard back (53.32) behind Petersonís NCAA automatic bid.

 

Junior Kara Salamone (Hollywood, Fla.) led the way for the Lady Gators on the diving front, finishing first in the one-meter competition (312.15) and second on the three-meter board (311.78). Salamone was just edged out by UTís Jodie McGroarty, who placed first on the three-meter board with a score of 312.15. Senior Jeana Bartell (Boca Raton, Fla.) finished third in the three-meter competition (285.53).

 

Florida returns to action Saturday, Jan. 31, as it honors six senior women prior to hosting a showdown between in-state opponents Florida Gulf Coast University and Indian River State College. One-meter diving competition is slated to begin at 11:30 a.m., while the seniors will be honored at 12:30 p.m. Swimming competition will kick off at 1 p.m. from the Stephen C. OíConnell Center Natatorium.

 

-UF-

 

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