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Women's Swimming & Diving Headline

<i>Photo courtesy of Walt Middleton</i>

Saturday March 20, 20102010 National Champions: Gator Women's Swim & Dive Brings Home First NCAA Title Since 1982

West Lafayette, Ind.

Photo courtesy of Walt Middleton

For the first time since the Gators won the inaugural women’s NCAA Championships in 1982, the University of Florida women’s swimming and diving team brought home the NCAA National Championship, using two national titles in the 100 back and 200 free relay and a wealth of depth to carry the Gators through to the very last relay Saturday at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind. Head coach Gregg Troy was named the 2010 NCAA Women’s Coach of the Year as the Gators racked up 382 points for the victory over second-place Stanford (379.5).

 

Heading into the final two events of the evening, the Gators stood in fourth place behind Stanford, Arizona and California. A third-place finish in the women’s platform by senior Kara Salamone (Cooper City, Fla.) and an eighth-place standing from junior Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) propelled the Gators into first place with 350 points, jumping Stanford, Arizona and California, who had no platform divers, on the way.

 

Florida finished the 400-yard free relay in school-record fashion, led by seniors Liz Kemp (Potomac, Md.) and Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England), sophomore Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) and anchor leg, freshman Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.), who clocked a 3:13.43 third-place finish.

 

“This was really a team effort and there was no room for error,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “When Gemma took second in the 200 back, we had other performances that made up for it, like Teresa Crippen’s third-place back finish and then fifth in the 200 fly. We had tremendous efforts all around and our divers were outstanding under Donnie. Our coaching staff has done a tremendous job. Not only Martyn (Wilby), Donnie (Craine) and Leah (Stancil) here, but Pete (Knox) and Anthony (Nesty) who are with our men right now, all played a big part in what happened this week.”

 

Twelve Gators earned All-America status, shattering five Florida records and reeling in two national titles on the way to the team victory. The last time the Gator women’s team won the NCAA National Championship, it was also on March 18-20, but in Gainesville, and UF topped second-place finisher Stanford, 505-383. The 2010 NCAA Title was Florida’s second NCAA swimming and diving title with wins in 1982 and 2010, but its third national title overall after also winning the AIAW title in 1979.

 

“This was a Cinderella weekend for us. I just can’t say enough,” Troy added. “We kept focus on what we wanted to do. It feels great. In the final relay, we wanted to make sure we had solid starts and raced fast. We have been knocking on the door for a few years now and we’ve always had a big desire to excel.”

 

Stanford (379.5), California (363), Arizona (359.5) and Georgia (342.5) rounded out the top five team finishers behind the Gators.

 

On the final night of racing and diving, Florida used seven championship final appearances to pull off the unexpected, including a two-three finish in the 200-yard back from Spofforth and sophomore Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.). Crippen additionally placed fifth in the 200-yard fly as the Gators’ top finisher ahead of sophomore Jemma Lowe (Hartlepool, England), who took sixth. Sophomore Melani Costa-Schmid (Palma de Mallorca, Spain) pulled off a seventh-place finish in the mile to help the Gators with 12 points to kick off the evening.

 

“This day was an emotional rollercoaster,” Spofforth said. “We didn’t really, honestly, think we were going to win and to come out with such a victory is a great feeling. We have a lot of great people behind us. I was so disappointed with my backstroke finish because I swam her race (winner, Kateryna Fesenko, Indiana) and not my race. There were lots of tears, but I have put them all behind me because to win this title with all of my teammates is much more amazing and important to me than an individual title.”

 

Spofforth, who would have become the first four-time 200 back NCAA champion if she won, completed her career with seven national titles, including the 100 back Friday and as a member of the 200 free relay Thursday.

 

“We really didn’t know we had won, even after the relay,” Crippen said.  “I was in the stands. We all quickly looked to Coach Troy, who did the math on the spot. When he gave us the final nod that we’d won, we started screaming. When Shara (Stafford) saw us from the pool deck, she started jumping so high and screaming, which let the relay know that we had done it. We are super excited.”

 

ESPN2 will air a 90-minute show of the 2010 Women’s NCAA Championships at 1:30 p.m. (ET), Tues., April 6.

 

Coach and Student-Athlete Quotes:

Head coach Gregg Troy overall thoughts:

“This was really a team effort and there was no room for error. Every point was critical. When Gemma took second in the 200 back, we had other performances that made up for it, like Teresa Crippen’s third-place back finish and then fifth in the 200 fly. We had tremendous efforts all around and our divers were outstanding under Donnie. Our coaching staff has done a tremendous job. Not only Martyn (Wilby), Donnie (Craine) and Leah (Stancil) here, but Pete (Knox) and Anthony (Nesty) who are with our men right now, all played a big part in what happened this week. This was a Cinderella weekend for us. I just can’t say enough. We kept focus on what we wanted to do. It feels great. In the final relay, we wanted to make sure we had solid starts and raced fast. We have been knocking on the door for a few years now and we’ve always had a big desire to excel.”

 

Diving coach Donnie Craine:

“Gregg and I talked about the diving on Saturday morning. We thought that if we got one diver in the championships and one in the finals, we would be set up well for a third-place team finish. When both Kara and Monica made the championship, we knew if it all panned out right, we would have a shot at first. Our divers did absolutely fantastic. They did a great job tonight under a little pressure.”

 

Senior diver Kara Salamone (third in platform):

“I just really wanted to help my team as best as I could. I knew going into the final even that we had a chance to win. I tried to stay focused on every dive because I knew the higher I could place, the more points would go towards our team. It was an absolutely perfect way to finish my career at Florida. My last dive was one of the best twisters I have ever done and I can’t think of a better way to end my last meet as a Gator.”

 

Senior swimmer Gemma Spofforth:

“This day was an emotional rollercoaster. We didn’t really, honestly, think we were going to win and to come out with such a victory is a great feeling. We have a lot of great people behind us. I was so disappointed with my backstroke finish because I swam her race (winner, Kateryna Fesenko, Indiana) and not my race. There were lots of tears, but I have put them all behind me because to win this title with all of my teammates is much more amazing and important to me than any individual title. This team is going to be amazing for years to come. We have only four seniors graduating, one junior this year and a bunch of freshmen and sophomores that will help this team continue to succeed.”

 

Sophomore swimmer Teresa Crippen:

“We really didn’t know we had won, even after the relay. I was in the stands. We all quickly looked to Coach Troy, who did the math on the spot. When he gave us the final nod that we’d won, we started screaming. When Shara (Stafford) saw us from the pool deck, she started jumping so high and screaming, which let the relay know that we had done it. We are super excited.”

 

2010 Top Five Team Finishers

1. Florida, 382 points

2. Stanford, 379.5 points

3. California, 363 points

4. Arizona, 359.5 points

5. Georgia, 251 points

 

2010 UF National Titles (2)

1. 200-yard free relay (Stafford, Spofforth, Napier, Bateman): 1:27.79

2. 100-yard backstroke: Gemma Spofforth, 50.92

 

UF Records Set at 2010 NCAA Championships (5)

1. 200-yard free relay (Stafford, Spofforth, Napier, Bateman): 1:27.79

**Previous: Napier, Spofforth, Stafford, Bateman (2009; 1:28.15)

2. 50-yard freestyle: Shara Stafford, 22.16

**Previous: Stephanie Napier (2009; 22.17)

3. 400-yard individual medley: Teresa Crippen, 4:02.91

            **Previous: Teresa Crippen (2009; 4:05.00)

4. 100-yard freestyle: Shara Stafford, 47.81

            **Previous: Shara Stafford (2010;47.99)

5. 400-yard freestyle relay: Kemp, Stafford, Spofforth, Bohunicky, 3:13.43

            **Previous: Kemp, Spofforth, Stafford, Napier (2009; 3:14.37)

 

UF NCAA Swim & Dive Notes

·          Florida brought home its first swimming and diving national championship title since 1982, earning Florida’s 24th all-time national championship title in any sport

·          UF head coach Gregg Troy was named the NCAA Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the first time after being crowned the NCAA Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year in both 2002 and 2004

·          The last time the Gators won the NCAA National Championship, it was also on March 18-20 and UF topped second-place finisher Stanford, 505-383, at home in Gainesville

·          The Gators racked up their 101st and 102nd national titles, taking the 200 free relay and 100 back races in West Lafayette

·          The Gators placed in the top five at NCAAs for the fourth time in head coach Gregg Troy’s tenure and in the top 10 for the 11th season

·          Florida won its first-ever 200-yard freestyle relay national title on day one of NCAAs. The quartet of Spofforth, Stafford, Napier and Bateman clocked a school record 1:27.79 in the race to chalk up Florida’s 101st national title all-time

·          For Stafford, Napier and Bateman, the UF relay victory marked their first NCAA titles

·          On the second day of competition, Spofforth defended her 100-yard back NCAA title with a 50.92 swim, three-peating in the event and chalking up her sixth individual NCAA title, her seventh overall, after contributing to the 200 free relay title on day one

·          Spofforth’s 100-yard back title marked UF’s fifth 100 back title in Gator history, with the last three belonging to the senior. Spofforth additionally became one of five swimmers in NCAA history to win three straight in the event [Sue Walsh (UNC), Betsy Mitchell (Texas), Lea Loveless (Stanford) and Natalie Coughlin (California)]

·          Sophomore Teresa Crippen shattered her own UF record in the 400-yard individual medley (4:05.00) on day two, taking second with a time of 4:02.91 to U.S. Olympian, American and NCAA Record Holder, Julia Smit, of Stanford

·          Sophomore Shara Stafford shattered her own school record (47.99) in the 100-yard freestyle, turning in a 47.81 to finish fourth in the field on the final day of competition in West Lafayette

 

2010 UF All-America Performances (by student-athlete)

1. Sarah Bateman (3 honors): 200 free relay, 50 free^, 200 medley relay

2. Stephanie Napier (1 honor): 200 free relay

3. Gemma Spofforth (7 honors ): 200 free relay, 200 IM^, 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay, 100 back, 200 back, 400 free relay

4. Shara Stafford (6 honors): 200 free relay, 50 free, 400 medley relay, 800 free relay, 100 free, 400 free relay

5. Melania Costa-Schmid (3 honors): 500-yard free^, 800 free relay, 1650 free

6. Lindsay Rogers (2 honors): 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay

7. Jemma Lowe (4 honors): 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay, 100 butterfly^, 200 fly

8. Teresa Crippen (4 honors): 400 individual medley, 800 free relay, 200 back, 200 fly

9. Kara Salamone (2 honors): three-meter diving, platform

10. Jamie Bohunicky (2 honors): 800 free relay, 400 free relay

11. Liz Kemp (1 honor): 400 free relay

12. Monica Dodson (1 honor): platform

^ indicates honorable mention

 

SATURDAY FINALS RESULTS

F – Florida record

* – Career best

 

1650-yard freestyle

7. Melani Costa-Schmid: 16:01.72 *

20. Corinne Showalter: 16:13.81

 

200-yard backstroke

2. Gemma Spofforth: 1:50.24

3. Teresa Crippen: 1:50.99

 

100-yard freestyle

4. Shara Stafford: 47.81 * F

                    

200-yard butterfly

5. Teresa Crippen: 1:53.90 *

6. Jemma Lowe: 1:54.05

 

Platform diving

3. Kara Salamone: 307.45

8. Monica Dodson: 219.65

 

400-yard freestyle relay

3. Kemp, Stafford, Spofforth, Bohunicky: 3:13.43 F

 

 

SATURDAY PRELIMINARY RESULTS

F – Florida record

* – Career best

 

200-yard backstroke

1. Gemma Spofforth: 1:52.62

2. Teresa Crippen: 1:52.94

 

100-yard freestyle

5. Shara Stafford: 48.31

 

200-yard breaststroke

39. Kirsten Smith: 2:14.55

 

200-yard butterfly

5. Jemma Lowe: 1:54.61

6. Teresa Crippen: 1:54.91 *

 

400-yard freestyle relay

4. Kemp, Stafford, Spofforth, Bohunicky: 3:14.96

 

Platform diving

6. Monica Dodson: 291.55

7. Kara Salamone: 280.30

 

-UF-

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