Saturday January 29, 2011Seniors Honored as Florida Sweeps Tennessee
Senior Monica Dodson is the only senior on the women's team
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 5/8 University of Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams sent 12 seniors out in style Saturday, sweeping Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee on Senior Day at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The No. 5 men’s team defeated the No. 7 Vols, 198-101, while the No. 8 Gator women triumphed over the No. 10 Lady Vols by a 180-120 margin.
“We saw improvement once again today,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “I’m really proud of the effort our team showed out there. The women continue to overcome adversity, while the men’s side had young men like Alex Martin and John Lehtonen step up and race well.”
The 97-point victory for the UF men is the most lopsided win over UT in school history, while being the most points scored by the Gator men and the largest margin of victory in a one-day dual meet since a 208-88 conquest over Florida Atlantic on Jan. 26, 2001. The 198 points were the most in a one-day SEC dual meet since outscoring South Carolina, 248-68, on Oct. 27, 2000, which was also the last time the men of Orange and Blue had a 90-plus point margin of victory in SEC competition.
The Florida women improved to a perfect 25-0 all-time against the women of Tennessee, winning by the largest margin of victory against UT since a 157-86 win on Jan. 26, 2007. The 60-point victory over Tennessee was the biggest SEC win for the Gator women since defeating Auburn by 80 (195-115) on Jan. 22, 2010. Last year’s Senior Day in Gainesville against the Tigers also marked the last time the UF women topped the 180 mark in scoring.
On a day recognizing him and 10 other seniors, captain Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) won three separate events, including swimming the fastest NCAA time this year in the 400-yard individual medley. Dwyer clocked in at a personal best and NCAA “B” cut time of 3:44.73, the eighth-fastest mark in school history. Earlier in the meet, Dwyer won the 200-yard freestyle with a NCAA provisional mark and UF season-best time of 1:34.33, the fastest time in the SEC (fourth nationally). In the first swimming event of the day, Dwyer teamed up with redshirt sophomore Marco Loughran (London, England), freshman Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) and fellow senior Brett Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) to capture the 200-yard medley relay with a UF season-best tying NCAA “B” cut of 1:28.84.
All three of Dwyer’s teammates picked up victories as well, including sweeps of the backstroke and butterfly events. Loughran swept the 100 and 200 back with NCAA qualifying times of 47.78 and 1:44.01, respectively. Both UF season-best times were top-five marks in the SEC this year, while his finish in the 200 back is 11th-fastest nationally. Cieslak swept the 100 and 200 fly with UF season-best and NCAA provisional times, including swimming the second-fastest mark in the SEC this year in the 100 fly (47.84). Cieslak swam the fastest time by a SEC freshman (third overall) in the 200 fly this season (1:45.45), with the time ranking 12th nationally. The Polish newcomer also finished fourth with a NCAA “B” cut and personal-best time of 3:54.29 in the 400 IM, giving him the third-fastest time by a SEC freshman this season. Fraser picked up his lone individual event win of the day with a 44.38 finish in the 100 free.
An Olympian from the Cayman Islands, Fraser picked up his second relay win of the day in the final event of the afternoon, pairing with junior James Turner (Ft. Pierce, Fla.), freshman Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.) and sophomore Sebastien Rousseau (Cape Town, South Africa) to capture the 400-yard freestyle relay with a NCAA “B” cut time of 2:58.50, UF’s fourth cut of the season in the event. Individually, Turner finished second in the 50 free (personal-best 20.38) and 100 free (season-best 44.69). Rousseau also finished second in a race, swimming a personal best NCAA qualifying time of 1:37.77 in the 200 free. Finishing fourth in the same event with a collegiate- best NCAA “B” Cut time of 1:38.23 was sophomore Jonathan Jordan (Tampa, Fla.). Jordan’s best finish of the day came in the 500 free, where the sophomore took second with a personal best and NCAA provisional time of 4:25.02.
Having one of the best meets of his career was sophomore John Lehtonen (Rochester Hills, Mich.), who captured his first victory of the season in the men’s 200-yard breaststroke with a blistering personal and UF season-best time of 1:57.81. Lehtonen’s first NCAA “B” cut of the season was the sixth-quickest in school history, second-fastest in the SEC this season and the fastest mark by a UF swimmer since the school record was broken at the 2009 NCAA Championships. Lehtonen also finished second in the 400 IM with a personal best and NCAA qualifying time of 3:49.71, the fifth-fastest SEC time this season (11th nationally).
Other winners for the Gator men included senior Balazs Gercsak (Budapest, Hungary) and freshman Connor Signorin (East Windsor, New Jersey). On a day recognizing him, Gercsak triumphed in the 500 free with a season-best NCAA qualifying time of 4:24.73. Ten events earlier in the 200 fly, the Hungarian took second with a season-best NCAA provisional mark of 1:46.74. Signorin found success in the 1,000 free, where the Jan. 11 SEC Male Freshman of the Week finished first with a collegiate-best 9:08.84. The time is the sixth-fastest in the SEC in the event this year (second fastest by a SEC freshman).
Senior Alex Martin (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) celebrated his Senior Day by taking third in the 400 IM with his first NCAA “B” cut of the season. Martin’s personal-best time of 3:51.66 is the sixth-fastest mark in the SEC this year in the event. Other Gators picking up their first NCAA “B” cuts of the season included junior Gabriel Huen (Caracas, Venezuela) in the 200 fly (season-best 1:48.05) and freshman Karl Wolk (Calgary, Canada) in the 200 back (1:45.46)
On the women’s side, freshman Hilda Luthersdottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) had her best meet as a Gator with three NCAA qualifying times, including a sweep of the breaststroke events and a win as a member of the Gator 200 medley relay squad. Luthersdottir swam the fastest time by an SEC freshman this season (fifth overall) in the 100 breast, with her NCAA qualifying time of 1.02.29 being the third-quickest mark in Florida history. Ten events later, the Iceland native swam the sixth-fastest 200 breast in school history, finishing in a UF season-best 2:13.64 (sixth fastest in the SEC in 2010-11).
In the first women’s swimming event of the day, Luthersdottir joined junior Lily Ramirez (Gainesville, Fla.), fellow freshman Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia) and junior Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) in winning the 200 medley relay with a UF season-best NCAA provisional mark of 1:39.53. The time was the second-fastest by a SEC school this year. Bateman had an impressive meet of her own, winning the 50 and 100 free with NCAA “B” cut times. Bateman’s 22.45 in the 50 free was just .04 off her season-best of 22.41, while her 49.23 in the 100 free is tied for seventh quickest in the SEC and is the fastest UF time this season in the event.
Freshman Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) won multiple events as well, winning the 1000 free (9:48.58), 200 back (NCAA “B” cut 1:55.75) and 400 IM (NCAA “B” cut 4:11.66). Beisel’s collegiate-best time in the 1,000 free was the seventh-fastest mark in the NCAA this season in the event (third in the SEC).
Junior Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) and sophomore Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.) also recorded multiple NCAA provisional times with numerous second-place finishes. Crippen took second in the 200 fly (1:59.47) and 200 back (1:57.44), while Bohunicky barely missed out on first in the 200 free (1:46.54) and 500 free (4:47.67). Bohunicky’s time in the 200 free was a UF season best and is currently seventh in the SEC in the event.
Other NCAA “B” cuts for the UF women included junior Julia Nagy (Viera, Fla.) in the 200 free (personal-best 1:48.80), freshman Trish Regan (Carmel, Ind.) in the 200 back (1:59.01), sophomores Corinne Showalter (Sarasota, Fla.) and Sharla Milne (Lithia, Fla.) in the 500 free (4:51.39 and 4:51.91, respectively) and junior Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.) in the 400 IM (4:19.49).
In diving competition, Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) won the lone event for the Gators, winning the women’s three-meter competition with a score of 352.13. The score was less than 10 points off of her own school record (362.11 on Oct. 11, 2010 vs. Virginia), and was her ninth overall victory of the season (fifth on the three meter). Honored earlier in the day as the lone senior on the UF women’s team, Dodson placed second on the one-meter boards with a score of 284.63.
Freshman Michael Lewark (Davie, Fla.) led the Gator men in diving, finishing second on the one-meter boards and third on the three-meter boards. Lewark took second with a 326.93 score in one-meter competition, and then dove his way to a third-place career-high 366.15 on the three-meter boards.
For complete meet results, click here. The UF swimming and diving teams hosts their last regular-season dual meet Sunday, Jan. 30, against Indian River State College at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Diving will begin at 11 a.m., with the dual meet starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free. For the latest in Florida swimming and diving, fans are encouraged to follow the program on Twitter and Facebook.