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Men's Swimming & Diving Headline

<i>Photo courtesy of Phillip Faulkner</i>

Wednesday February 17, 2010UF Men's 800 FR Captures SEC Title on Day One of 2010 SECs

Athens, Ga.

Photo courtesy of Phillip Faulkner

 

The Gator swimming and diving teams opened the 2010 SEC Championship Meet with a bang Wednesday at the Gabrielsen Natatorium on the UGA campus, bringing in two SEC titles, one SEC record, one Florida record and two NCAA automatic qualifying marks to put Florida tied for first place in both the men’s and women’s team competitions through day one. On the men’s side, the Gators share the first-place spot with the team from Auburn, with 100 points, while the women are tied for first with home team, Georgia (95 points).

 

“This is obviously going to be a very, very close conference meet. There are a bunch of great teams with a bunch of good swimmers swimming fast times,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “We are very pleased with the start to the meet for both our men and women. Our divers were all outstanding today. Our men’s 800 free relay is the fastest in the country right now and the women’s 200 medley relay is the third-fastest behind the two that took first and second tonight. We were about where we thought we’d be in the relays – we wish we could have been a little bit faster in the shorter relays, but overall we’re pleased. This is only day one of a four-day meet. We have three days left and we need to stay focused and race hard.”

 

On the first evening of finals competition, Gator senior Kara Salamone (Cooper City, Fla.) opened up the UF action on the one-meter springboard with the first diving title for the University of Florida women since 2001, when Robyn Grimes won the three-meter title. Salamone’s one-meter championship, her first ever, was the first one-meter title since 2000 when Grimes claimed the one-meter springboard championship.

 

“It’s absolutely awesome to win this event,” Salamone said. “I’ve been diving five years and to go out on a high note is awesome. There’s been so much preparation and a lot of hard work – good times and bad times, even tears. To be the first Florida diving one-meter champion since 2000 is so cool. I really credit everything to coach Donnie (Craine). He’s made me into everything I am as a diver today and I couldn’t have done it without him.”

 

After qualifying for finals with the fourth-place spot (303.80) in afternoon prelims, Salamone returned for finals ready to compete, posting a 326.70 to top the field. The mark was just shy of her career-best school record, established in Athens at the Georgia Invitational earlier in the fall (328.30).

 

“It was an awesome way to start our night,” diving coach Donnie Craine said. “We had nearly a perfect day on the boards and I couldn’t be more proud of our group of divers.”

 

UF junior Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) scored ninth-place consolation points for the women after finishing morning prelims with a score of 285.55.

 

Florida’s second title of the evening came in the last race by way of an SEC record swim by the Florida men’s 800-yard free relay, the fastest time in the country so far this season at 6:15.91. The quartet of Shaune Fraser (George Town, Grand Cayman), Brett Fraser (George Town, Grand Cayman), Sebastien Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa) and Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) swam a NCAA automatic qualifying mark and shattered both the SEC (6:16.25) and Florida (6:16.25) records in the process. The previous UF and SEC 800 free relay records were by the 2005 Gator team of Lochte, Townsend, Hartley and Sioui. Florida claimed the 800 free relay title for the first time since 2005 when the aforementioned Gator squad won the event.

 

“That was an awesome swim and a great race field that we competed against,” Dwyer said. “We’re really happy with how we swam, but we also have to keep in mind that this is only day one. We need to be strong through the whole meet, but the relay was a great start.”

 

In the first men’s event on Wednesday, the Gators’ 200-yard medley relay swam a second-place 1:25.10 mark that ranks third in the UF record book. Senior Omar Pinzon (Bogota, Colombia), Dwyer, Fraser and senior Roberto Gomez (Weston, Fla.) swam an NCAA automatic qualifying mark in the event, sealing a trip to the 2010 NCAA Championship Meet, hosted by Ohio State at the end of March.

 

The Florida men carried over the success to the three-meter diving board, as both Anthony Lewark (Davie, Fla.) and Colin Bell (Coral Springs, Fla.) qualified for the finals event after placing seventh and eighth in prelims, respectively. The sophomore duo completed finals with even more fire, as Bell set a new career-best (379.45) on his way to a fifth-place finish. Lewark topped his morning prelims score, improving to 355.65, but maintained his seventh-place finish.

 

Feeding off of Salamone’s diving victory, the women’s team continued to roll on with a third-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. Composed of senior Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England), sophomore Lindsay Rogers (Fishers, Ind.), sophomore Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) and sophomore Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.), Florida recorded the fifth-fastest time in the history of the program with a season-best 1:37.90 to tally 32 points in the opening swimming event.

 

Florida’s 800-yard freestyle relay for the women closed out an impressive first day of competition as the women’s quartet of sophomores Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.), Melani Costa-Schmid (Palma de Mallorca, Spain), Stafford and freshman Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.) swam a 7:03.05 second-place race, with a 1:45.29 leadoff leg by Stafford. The Gators’ time marked a season-best and third-fastest in UF history.

 

Day two of competition will kick off at 10 a.m. Thursday according to the following schedule:

Day 2: Thursday, February 18

Events:

Prelims - 10:00 a.m., Finals - 6:00 p.m.

• 500 Freestyle

• 200 Individual Medley

• 50 Freestyle

• 1-meter diving (m), 5:30 p.m.

• 3-meter diving (w)

• 200 Freestyle Relay

 

Gator fans can follow all the action from Athens at SEC Championship Central here. A recap of morning preliminaries can be found on www.GatorZone.com following each session, as well as final results and a recap after evening competition.

 

 

Feb. 17 (Wed.) Florida Finals Finishers

A NCAA Automatic Qualifying Mark

^ Season-Best Mark

* Career-Best Mark

$ SEC Record

F Florida Record

 

Women’s one-meter diving:

1. Kara Salamone (326.70)

 

Women’s 200-yard medley relay:

3. 1:37.90 (Spofforth, Rogers, Stafford, Bateman) ^

 

Men’s 200-yard medley relay:

2. 1:25.10 (Pinzon, Dwyer, Fraser (S), Gomez) A^

 

Men’s three-meter diving:

5. Colin Bell (379.45) *

7. Anthony Lewark (355.65)

 

Women’s 800-yard free relay:

2. 7:03.05 (Stafford, Bohunicky, Crippen, Costa-Schmid) ^

 

Men’s 800-yard free relay:

1. 6:15.91  (Fraser (S), Fraser (B), Rousseau, Dwyer) A^$F

 

 

Florida Prelims Finishers:

Women’s one-meter diving:

4. Kara Salamone (303.80) – finals qualifier

9. Monica Dodson (285.55) – consolation scorer

 

Men’s three-meter diving:

7. Anthony Lewark (349.75) – finals qualifier
8. Colin Bell (347.20) – finals qualifier

 

 

-UF-

 

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