Men's Swimming & Diving Headline
DALLAS – Against some of the toughest competition in the country, nine members of the No. 5 University of Florida men’s swimming and diving team finished fourth with 272 points at the annual Southern Methodist University Classic Friday and Saturday at Perkins Natatorium in Dallas. Eight of the UF swimmers competing combined to swim nine season-best times, with five of those times marking personal bests.
No. 13 Michigan captured the SMU Classic title with 318 points, while No. 9 North Carolina took second (302) and No. 7 Southern California placed third (300). Host SMU finished fifth with 242 points, while No. 21 Purdue rounded out the final standings in sixth with 240 points.
“We raced very well against some very talented teams,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “We’re not where we want to be quite yet, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.), the reigning Southeastern Conference Male Swimmer of the Week, led the Orange and Blue with three event victories. The senior won the third event of Friday’s session with a NCAA qualifying time of 1:37.09 in the finals of the 200-yard freestyle, more than a second faster than second-place Daniel Madwed of Michigan (1:38.23). In the last event of night one, the captain teamed up with sophomore Sebastien Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa), freshman Connor Signorin (East Windsor, N.J.) and fellow senior Balazs Gercsak (Budapest, Hungary) to capture the 800-yard freestyle relay with a NCAA “B” cut time of 6:34.79.
Dwyer started strong again on Saturday in the third event of the evening, swimming a personal best 2:00.36 in the 200-yard breaststroke. The third-place finish in the finals of the event was Florida’s fastest time of the season by more than three seconds. The 2010 NCAA and SEC Male Swimmer of the Year capped off Florida’s weekend by winning the last individual event of the meet, clocking in at 1:47.09 in the finals of the 200-yard individual medley for yet another NCAA qualifying mark.
The other three members of the 800 free relay squad also found success, starting with Signorin. The freshman swam three personal-best times in Dallas, including both the 100 (51.04) and 200-yard backstroke (1:49.56). The New Jersey native also placed second in the consolation final of the 400 IM, with his personal-best time of 3:53.03 resulting in the first NCAA “B” cut of his career in the event.
Another Gator swimming a NCAA provisional mark in the 400 IM was Rousseau, who touched the wall in a season-best 3:52.98, which was good for third in the finals of the event. The South African would pick up another NCAA “B” cut in the finals of the 500 free, where the sophomore took fourth (4:28.00).
Gercsak also competed in the 500 free, taking second in the consolation final with a NCAA qualifying time of 4:27.33. The Hungarian went on to place second in the consolation final of the 200 free with a season-best time of 1:38.61.
Senior captain Mike Joyce (Voorhees, N.J.) and junior Marco Loughran (London, England) completed the list of Gators that swam season-best marks. Joyce had his best times of the season in the 100 and 200 breast with times of 58.41 and 2:06.14, respectively, while Loughran completed the 50 free with a time of 21.56.
Other UF swimmers competing included senior Brett Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) and sophomore Rodion Davelaar (Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles). Fraser’s best finish was fifth in the finals of the 100 free (45.04), while Davelaar’s best outing was a sixth-place 56.46 mark in the finals of the 100 breast.
Junior Anthony Lewark (Davie, Fla.), the lone UF diver representing the Gators in Texas, placed in the top three of both diving events. On Friday, Lewark placed third on the one-meter boards with a score of 315.60, before taking second on Saturday in the three-meter competition with a score of 344.63.
For full meet results, Gator fans can click here. The University of Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving team jumps back into the pool on Friday, Jan. 21, as the Gators travel to Auburn for their first road trip of the New Year. Meet time is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET. For the latest in Florida swimming and diving, fans are encouraged to follow the program on Twitter and Facebook.