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Men's Swimming & Diving Headline

Wednesday February 15, 2012Gators Grab Four Pieces of Hardware on First Night of SEC Championships

Knoxville, Tenn.

The first night of the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships was all about the relays, as both the men and women took to the pool for the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relay races Wednesday night at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, and collected four pieces of hardware on the night. Both squads brought home a bronze medal in the 200 medley relay, and a set of silvers after thrilling finishes in the 800 freestyle relay.

 

Following the first night of competition, both Gator squads are in sixth place with the women owning 66 points, and the men 67. With 118 points, the Lady Vols have claimed the top-spot, while there is a tie on the men’s side as Auburn and Tennessee have 106 points a piece heading into Thursday’s competition.

 

“I’m really pleased with how everyone came out and performed tonight,” remarked head coach Gregg Troy. “I told you that we would see good, hard, honest efforts from our kids and we ended up seeing just that. We’re working on the team score, which will come, but on the same token our individual times, which we saw in the women’s 800 freestyle relay.”

 

It was a nail-biting, nerve-wrecking race that closed out the first night of competition for anyone in the stands, no matter your colors, but especially those in varying shades of orange and blue as Florida and Auburn raced head-to-head until the Tigers touched the wall two tenths of a second ahead (6:20.63) of the Gators who stopped the clock at 6:20.86 (NCAA B), for the first and second fastest times in the country, respectively.

 

Sophomore Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) readied the Gators from the get-go with a personal-best 200 free performance and lead-off split of 1:34.79 – the third fastest 200 free in the nation. The sophomore was followed by teammates Connor Signorin (East Windsor, N.J), Nicholas Caldwell (Sarasota, Fla.) and Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (Madrid, Spain). Following a constant battle for first, one that had Auburn just .5 seconds leading into the final leg, freshman Solaeche-Gomez anchored the Gators with a 1:34.30 split. Despite his efforts, it simply wasn’t enough to capture the win.

 

“Unfortunately, we didn’t finish first, but with our relays not in the best spot heading into this weekend I am pleased with what we got,” said Troy. “We have a young team, but we try not to let that get in the way. I think Eduardo, Marcin…all of them showed us that tonight – they all swam hard and pushed into the wall. We gave them a run for their money on that one.”

 

Another group of underclassmen took to the water earlier in the day as freshmen Christian Homer (Trinidad & Tobago) and Matt Elliott (Peoria, Ill.), as well as sophomores Cieslak and Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.) touched in a NCAA ‘B’ provisional mark of 1:26.28 for a third-place effort and bronze medal. It was the help of Cieslak and deBorde that solidified the Gators’ place on the podium, as they were in sixth place after the first half of the race, entering the butterfly stroke. Cieslak contributed a 20.83 split with his butterfly leg, while deBorde closed with a solid 18.74 free effort to secure the hardware.

 

The women opened the night with a third-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay after the group of three sophomores – Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.), Hilda Luthersdottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) and Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia), as well as senior Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) stopped the clock in a NCAA ‘B’ 1:37.29, which stands as the fifth quickest time in Gator history. Bateman’s 21.60 anchor gave the Gators the extra boost they needed to finish ahead of fourth-place Georgia (1:37.62).

 

It was another battle between the Bulldogs and Gators when Junior Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.) kick-started the 800-freestyle relay team that finished in 7:00.32, now holds the second fastest time in the country, behind first-place finisher Georgia (6:59.42), third quickest finish in Florida’s record book and an automatic ticket to the NCAA meet in Auburn, Ala., come mid-March.

 

With the efforts of Beisel and Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.), the Gators pushed ahead and into the first-place spot heading into the last leg. Freshman Natasha Fung (Edmonton, Canada) gave her all for the Gators in the final 200 split, but wasn’t able to hold on and secure the lead as she slipped behind the Bulldogs - reigning SEC champions, and nation’s fastest 800 freestyle relay group heading into the conference championships.

 

“The girls came in and accomplished one part of the meet that we had talked about – qualifying for the NCAA meet in March. When you do that, and put in the second fastest time in the country behind the nation’s leader – it’s really not that bad,” explained Troy. “Would you love to win? Of course, but NCAA is our ultimate goal, and they made it there with their time.”

 

On the boards, sophomore Mike Lewark (Davie, Fla.) finished 16th diving three-meters from the water with a mark of 326.60, while redshirt sophomore Chris Jones (Palm City, Fla.) finished 20th with a score of 310.50.

 

Senior Kayle Doback (Lake Brantley, Fla.), the women’s lone diver at SECs finished 19th in one-meter competition with a score of 234.40.

 

The 2012 Swimming and Diving Championships will continue tomorrow morning with prelims beginning at 10 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m. Swimmers will compete in the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 200 freestyle relay tomorrow evening, with male and female divers taking off the one and three meter boards, respectively.

 

For full results, please click here.

 

For all the latest news and updates from the SEC Championships, Gator fans are encouraged to follow the swimming and diving program via Twitter @GatorZoneSwimDV and Facebook. Also, check our live blog from GatorZone.com with the latest updates from here in Knoxville. 

 

Florida top-finishers – women: 1-meter diving: Kaylee Doback, 19th (234.40); 200 medley relay: Beisel, Luthersdottir, Zalewski, Bateman, 3rd (1:37.29); 800 freestyle relay: Bohunicky, Beisel, Crippen, Fung, 2nd (7:00.32)

 

Florida top-finishers – men: 3-meter diving: Mike Lewark, 16th (326.60); 200 medley relay: Homer, Elliott, Cieslak, deBorde, 3rd (1:26.28); 800 freestyle relay: Cieslak, Signorin, Caldwell, Solaeche-Gomez, 2nd (6:20.86)

 

 

Men’s 800 Yard Freestyle Relay Splits

Marcin Cieslak (1:34.79)

Connor Signorin (1:36.56)

Nicholas Caldwell (1:35.21)

Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (1:34.30)

 

Women’s 800 Yard Freestyle Relay Splits

Jamie Bohunicky (1:45.00)

Elizabeth Beisel (1:44.23)

Teresa Crippen (1:44.94)

Natasha Fung (1:46.15)

 

Men’s 200 Yard Medley Relay Splits

Christian Homer, back (22.30)

Matt Elliott, breast (24.41)

Marcin Cieslak, fly (20.83)

Brad deBorde, free (18.74)

 

Women’s 200 Yard Medley Relay Splits

Elizabeth Beisel, back (24.78)

Hilda Luthersdottir, breast (27.35)

Ellese Zalewski, fly (23.56)

Sarah Bateman, free (21.60)

 

 

WOMEN’S TEAM SCORES AFTER NIGHT 1

Place

Team

Points

1.

Tennessee

118

2.

Auburn

101

3.

LSU

74

4.

Georgia

72

5.

South Carolina

67

6.

Florida

66

7.

Arkansas

59

8.

Alabama

58

9.

Vanderbilt

32

10.

Kentucky

30

 

MEN’S TEAM SCORES AFTER NIGHT 1

Place

Team

Points

1.

Auburn

106

1.

Tennessee

106

3.

LSU

73

3.

Georgia

73

5.

Kentucky

71

6.

Florida

67

7.

South Carolina

63

 

 

Recap: Morning Time Trials

 

It was an extremely speedy morning session here in Knoxville, Tenn., as only the men’s and women’s 200 freestyle relay teams took to the pool at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, but it wasn’t just the short amount of time at the pool that was quick, so were the Gators.

 

The men’s 200 freestyle relay composed of senior Matt Norton (Port Orange, Fla.), sophomore Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.), senior James Turner (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) and freshman Matt Curby (Oviedo, Fla.) clocked in at 1:17.73, an NCAA B cut time that was just shy of the automatic qualifying time of 1:17.69. Although the quartet was shy of the automatic mark in the morning’s time trials, the time is currently the third fastest in both the country and UF record books.

 

Norton’s lead-off split of 19.67 is the fastest of his career at Florida, and marks the third-fastest 50-yard freestyle time in school history, tied alongside 2011 Gator graduate, Brett Fraser. Additionally, the All-American’s time of 19.67 is tied for sixth nationally alongside fellow SEC competitor Drew Modrov of Auburn.

 

The mark puts two Florida swimmers in the nation’s 50-yard freestyle top-10 list, as sophomore deBorde is ranked fifth with his personal-best 19.57 recorded in Knoxville just two-and-a-half weeks ago.

 

Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia), Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.), Kaitling Frehling (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and freshman Natasha Fung (Edmonton, Canada) combined to finish the women’s 200 freestyle relay in a NCAA B 1:29.75 for a season-high performance from the Gators. Additionally, the 1:29.75 time is he seventh fastest in Gator women’s history. With the feat, Bateman is now a part of seven 200-yard freestyle relay teams that find themselves in the Orange and Blue record book.

 

Men’s 200 Yard Freestyle Relay Splits

Matt Norton (19.67)
Brad deBorde (18.91)
James Turner (19.58)

Matt Curby (19.57)

 

Women’s 200 Yard Freestyle Relay Splits
Ellese Zalewski (22.87)

Sarah Bateman (21.46)

Kaitlin Frehling (22.51)

Natasha Fung (22.91)

 

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