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Sunday December 5, 2010Florida Men and Women Each Finish Second at 2010 Big Al Open

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With less than half of its roster traveling, the University of Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each finished second at the 2010 Big Al Open at DeNunzio Pool in Princeton, N.J. Following the last day of competition Sunday, both the UF men and women fell just short to host Princeton in the final overall team standings.

 

“We came back today with a new focus and it showed with some outstanding performances,” associate head coach Martyn Wilby said. “As a team, we have to take the positives from this meet and use them to move forward. We definitely saw some good things from the team this weekend.”

 

Sunday’s finals started with Florida winning four of the first five events, while recording NCAA qualifying times in all four victories. Alicia Mathieu (Marlborough, Conn.) started off the last session of the weekend by swimming the fastest women’s 1,650-yard freestyle by a freshman in school history. Mathieu’s first-place NCAA “B” cut time of 16:10.41 is currently fifth-fastest in the country this season (second in the SEC), and is eighth in school history. Coming in second with an NCAA “B” cut of her own was sophomore Sharla Milne (Lithia, Fla.), who finished in 16:25.77.

 

Up next was the men’s 1,650 free, where sophomore Jonathan Jordan (Tampa, Fla.) placed first in a personal-best 15:27.72. The time, which earned Jordan his first victory of the season, marked the sophomore’s first career NCAA qualifying time in the event.

 

Following the 1,650 events, freshman Trish Regan (Carmel, Ind.) captured the women’s 200-yard backstroke. Regan clocked in at a personal-best 1:57.69, two seconds quicker than the next-fastest competitor. The freshman earned her first career NCAA qualifying time, while giving Regan her first-ever collegiate individual event victory.

 

After winning her first collegiate event yesterday in the women’s 100-yard butterfly with her first NCAA “B” cut time, freshman Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia) continued her best weekend as a member of the Orange and Blue on Sunday. Zalewski, who is 9,961 miles from home, won both the 100 free and 200 fly with NCAA qualifying times. The Australian captured the 100 free with SEC-freshmen best finish of 49.61. The personal-best NCAA “B” cut time is the second-fastest by a Gator this season (Sarah Bateman, 49.29), while being the fastest by a Florida freshman since Shara Stafford’s 48.53 mark at the 2009 SEC Championships. Zalewski continued her weekend dominance in the butterfly event with a personal-best NCAA qualifying time of 1:59.42 in the 200 fly.

 

On top of Zalewski’s success in the 100 free and 200 fly, Florida’s men also raced well in each event Sunday. Junior Gabriel Huen (Caracas, Venezuela) won his second event in as many days, completing his weekend sweep of the butterfly events by touching first in the 200 fly with a season-best 1:49.51. In the 100 free, freshman Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.) swam a personal best, taking second with a UF freshmen season-best finish of 44.82.

 

“Alicia’s 1,650 freestyle started off the evening on a great note, and the team fed off it,” Wilby continued. “Ellese continued to show her versatility by coming back to win the 100 free, while Brad wrapped up his outstanding weekend with several strong swims.”

 

In diving competition, senior Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) won her second event of the weekend and first platform event of the season with a season-high 280.75. On the men’s side, Florida’s best finish in the platform event came from junior Colin Bell (Coral Springs, Fla.), who took second in the event with a season-best 307.30.

 

For full results of the final day of this weekend’s competition, Gator fans can click here. The diving squad now will break from competition for the duration of the month before diving back into action from Jan. 3-5, 2011 as part of the Tennessee Diving Invitational, The No. 4 men’s team (2-2, 2-0 SEC) and No. 4 women’s squad (2-3, 0-1 SEC) also will take an extended absence from competition before coming back home next year on Jan. 7 to host Georgia Tech in the Gators’ first home dual meet since Oct. 11 against Virginia. For the latest in Florida swimming and diving, fans are also encouraged to follow the program on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Big Al Open Final Team Standings

MEN

Rank

Team

Score

1.

Princeton

1256

2.

FLORIDA

883.5

3.

Columbia

644

4.

Brown

529.5

5.

Rider

250

6.

U.S. Military Academy

64

7.

Unattached

45

8.

Drexel

27

WOMEN

Rank

Team

Score

1.

Princeton

1190

2.

FLORIDA

828

3.

Washington State

820

4.

Brown

440

5.

Rider

310

6.

Rutgers

63

7.

Drexel

32

8.

Columbia

14

 

 

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