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Friday February 20, 2009Lady Gators Maintain First Place After Day Three of SECs; Men in Second

Auburn, Ala.

Four SEC Championships, one SEC record, five UF records and four pool records highlighted day three of the swimming and diving 2009 SEC league meet Friday from the James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Ala. Twenty-six Florida swimmers and two women’s divers qualified for finals on day three of the four-day Championship meet.

The Gator women maintained their first-place status after day three (534), while Auburn (526) and Georgia (498.5) are second and third, respectively. On the men’s side, Florida climbed from third place to second (405) and sits in between Auburn (588.5) in first and Tennessee (397.5) in third.

“We had great effort from both our men’s and women’s programs today. We came in and had some great swims and we’re pleased with that,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “Our women ended the day on a high note with a school record in the 400-yard medley relay, but we were a little disappointed on the men’s side to swim the second-fastest time in the country and then get disqualified on an exchange. We know that we have to come in ready to race tomorrow and that we need to have a strong last day to maintain our performance so far.”

An SEC Championship and pool record in the 400-yard IM by senior Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and a school record in the women’s 400-yard IM by junior Stephanie Proud (Durham, England) kicked of Friday finals of the SEC Championships for the Gators.

Ally led the field for the duration of the race, extending his lead on the breaststroke and freestyle legs, clocking a career-best 3:41.35 to set a new James E. Martin Aquatics Center pool record and better his NCAA automatic qualifying mark. Ally was the only swimmer in the field to clock an NCAA automatic mark as he racked up his fifth individual SEC title, his second 400 IM, crown after winning the same race in 2007.

Proud battled it out with Auburn’s Ava Ohlgren, the defending SEC Champion and record-holder in the women’s 400 IM, to clock a second-place finish and new UF record (4:07.56) in the event. Proud’s time marked a career-best mark and shattered a 25-year-old record, set by UF great Tracy Caulkins’ 4:07.75 in 1984.

Not only did Proud reel in a second-place finish for Florida, Gator freshmen Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.) and Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) placed third and fourth, respectively.

Following the stellar IM swims, Florida’s Jemma Lowe (Hartlepool, United Kingdom) turned around for UF’s second Championship swim of the night in the 100-yard fly, lowering her UF record set in prelims and clocking a 51.65, the only swimmer in the finale to achieve an NCAA automatic qualifying mark. Gator Julianne Lago (Miami, Fla.) touched in third for a career-best 52.17.

The Fraser brothers struck in the 200-yard freestyle as Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) defended his SEC title in the event, clocking a 1:33.73 in the championship final. In the consolation final, Brett Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) swam to an even faster, 1:33.62, to finish first in the heat, ninth overall, and capture a pool record in the event.

The defending SEC and NCAA champion in the 100-yard back, junior Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England) defended her SEC title with a 50.56 after clocking an SEC, pool and UF record (50.53) in prelims. Spofforth’s two swims marked the second and third-fastest all-time swims in the event and served as NCAA automatic qualifying marks.

After swimming the second-fastest time in the country in the 100-yard back and setting a new pool record in prelims, junior Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia) swam to a second-place, 46.46 finish in finals, while senior Rex Tullius (Port Orange, Fla.) finished fourth with a career-best 46.49. Both Pinzon and Tullius surpassed the 46.69 to automatically qualify for the NCAA meet.

After claiming the No. 1 seed in the platform diving competition heading into finals, junior Kara Salamone (Hollywood, Fla.) dove to a score of 282.55 to place fourth, while sophomore Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) improved her prelims score (250.15) to place sixth in the evening finale with 266.40 points.

In the final event of the evening, the 400-yard medley relays, both the UF men and women swam to second-place finishes in UF record time, but due to an early exchange on the men’s side, the Gators were disqualified, surrendering their second-place, 3:06.91, NCAA automatic qualifying finish that was the second-fastest 400-yard medley relay performance in the nation.

On the bright side in the women’s 400 medley relay, the Gators eclipsed the previous UF record (3:33.94) with a 3:31.41 mark, also an NCAA automatic qualifying mark, to place second. The relay time was additionally under SEC record pace. Spofforth re-set her SEC and UF record in the 100-yard back with a 50.46 split to open the relay. Freshmen Lindsay Rogers (Fishers, Ind.), Lowe and Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) swam the breast, fly and free legs, respectively.

The final day of competition in the 2009 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships is Saturday. Prelims begin at 10 a.m. (CST), while finals are slated to start at 6 p.m. (CST). A complete recap and results from the meet will be available on www.GatorZone.com Saturday evening.

Florida Notes

§  Ally’s 400 IM title was the fifth individual SEC title of his career and was his second 400 IM title after capturing the crown in 2007 (200 IM & 400 IM: 2009, 200 IM: 2008, 400 IM & 200 breast: 2007)

§  Gemma Spofforth won her second-consecutive consecutive 100-yard back SEC title, her third career SEC title after winning the 100 & 200-yard back events in 2008 at both the SEC and NCAA championships

§  Spofforth set the SEC record in the 100-yard back in prelims (50.53) and then re-set her own record on the first leg of Florida’s 400-yard medley relay with a time of 50.46

§  Shaune Fraser won his third-consecutive 200-yard freestyle title, his fifth career-title (200 free: 2009, 200 free: 2008, 200 free, 200 fly, 800 FR: 2007)

§  Florida has won seven SEC titles so far in the 2009 championship meet and set 13 NCAA automatic qualifying marks

§  Jemma Lowe won the first SEC title of her career in the 100-yard butterfly in UF record time (51.62), setting the record in prelims and improving it in finals

§  Through day three of the 2009 SEC meet, the Gators have set 11 UF records (W200 MR, M200 FR, Women’s 3M diving, W50 free, W200IM, W200 FR, W100 fly, M100 breast, W100 back, W400 IM, W400 MR), seven James E. Martin Aquatics Center pool records (W200 MR, M200 IM, W200 FR, M100 back, W100 back, M400 IM, M200 free) and three SEC records (W200 MR, W200 FR, W100 back)

Florida Quotes

Bradley Ally, Florida, Men’s 400 Individual Medley

“I felt that I swam a smart race. The 400 IM is a very interesting event. If you go too hard, you die out. If you go too slow you won’t have enough speed to win. I have been working on my turns and other stuff in practice. Working hard in practice is the key to winning consistently and that’s what I have been doing and it has paid off.”

 

Jemma Lowe, Florida, Women’s 100 Butterfly

“This morning felt really weird. At the end of the race, I felt out of breath. I didn’t feel like I could go any faster. My strategy tonight was just to try real hard and see what happens. I think the key to winning was getting my head down at the finish and swimming really hard from the start ”

 

Shaune Fraser, Florida, Men’s 200 Freestyle

“I just wanted to go out and race well. I was sick yesterday so I wanted to make sure to give my all today. It is a great honor to win a championship for Florida and I hope I can win some more. ”

 

Gemma Spofforth, Florida, Women’s 100 Backstroke

“This morning I was extremely excited. I was mad before the race because the record had just been broken. I was ready to take it back. But tonight I was a little disappointed. I was trying to come in and get the NCAA record and I was a little bit short of that. We haven’t fully tapered for this meet, so we will go back to training and then bring it down for NCAAs.”   

 

 

Florida Finals Results

Men’s 400-yard IM

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Bradley Ally          3:41.35    1st        Pool record, career-best, second-fastest all-time,

                                                            NCAA automatic qualifying mark

Clark Burckle       3:48.30    5th        NCAA B standard

Brian Howell         3:48.63    6th        NCAA B standard, career-best

Joey Pedraza        3:48.94    9th        NCAA B standard, career-best

Ryan Crete           3:50.93    13th     NCAA B standard, career-best

Scott Thompson   3:54.34    15th    

 

Women’s 400-yard IM

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Stephanie Proud   4:07.56    2nd       UF record, NCAA B standard, career-best

Kirsten Smith       4:08.65    3rd       NCAA B standard, career-best

Teresa Crippen    4:09.46    4th        NCAA B standard, career-best

L. Guenthner         4:12.81    10th     NCAA B standard, career-best

Kristen Beales      4:15.85    13th     NCAA B standard, career-best

 

Women’s 100-yard fly

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Jemma Lowe         51.65        1st        UF record, NCAA A cut, career-best

Julianne Lago       52.17        3nd       NCAA B cut, career-best time

Rebekah Epley     53.96        14th     NCAA B cut

 

Men’s 200-yard free

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Shaune Fraser      1:33.73    1st        Career-best, NCAA B cut

Jeff Raymond        1:35.55    5th        NCAA B cut

Brett Fraser          1:33.62    9th        Pool record, career-best, NCAA B cut,       

                                                            sixth-fastest swim in country

Balazs Gercsak    1:36.24    12       NCAA B cut

 

Women’s 200-yard free

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Shara Stafford      1:45.28    6th        NCAA B cut

Liz Kemp               1:47.53    13th     NCAA B cut   

 

Men’s 100-yard breast

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Clark Burckle       53.41        5th        NCAA B cut

 

Women’s 100-yard breast

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Lindsay Rogers    1:01.33    10th     NCAA B cut, career-best

 

Men’s 100-yard back

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Omar Pinzon         46.46        2nd       NCAA automatic cut

Rex Tullius           46.49        4th        NCAA automatic cut, career-best

Brett Fraser          48.09        13th     NCAA B cut   

 

Women’s 100-yard back

Swimmer               Time          Place   Notes                                                             

Gemma Spofforth 50.56        1st        NCAA A cut, third-fastest all-time

Julianne Lago       54.74        16th     NCAA B cut

 

Women’s Platform Diving

Diver                     Score        Place   Notes                                                             

Kara Salamone     282.55     4th       

Monica Dodson    266.40     6th        Career-best

 

-UF-

 

 

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