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Thursday February 16, 2012Gators Take Home Three Gold on Second Night of SEC Championships

Knoxville, Tenn.

Three Gator sophomores were named 2012 SEC Champions following their performances Thursday night at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn., as Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) and Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) combined to take the top-spot in both the women’s and men’s 200 IM races, respectively, and Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.) took home the conference crown in the men’s 50 freestyle – all in NCAA automatic qualifying times.

 

The wins gave Florida a boost that it needed coming out of the first night as both teams were ranked sixth in the meet. Following tonight’s performance the men have taken a second-place finish with 276 points, behind No. 1 Auburn with 301 points – with just a 25 point spread – while the women are placed fourth with 198.5 points behind No. 1 Georgia (274), No. 2 Tennessee (249) and No. 3 Auburn (228.5).

 

“We swam really well tonight,” said head coach Gregg Troy. “We swam great this morning, and well tonight. I think we were a little tired coming into the finals this evening, but that’s because of how we swam in the prelims to get here. We got our NCAA automatic qualifying times, and even managed to break two school records with Elizabeth and Brad, which isn’t something that you get to do everyday.”

 

“There’s still work to be done, and better swimming to come,” remarked Troy, but added an interesting note – “Now, we have a swim meet on our hands.”

 

Beisel, fresh off her record-breaking performance this morning produced again when she touched the wall first in 1:54.89, and claimed the third SEC championship title of her young career as a Florida Gator. Last year, as a freshman, Beisel won both the 200 back and 400 IM en route to being named the 2011 SEC Female Freshman of the Year.

 

“I’m a little disappointed with the time (1:54.89). I thought I was going to be able to go faster than this morning. But it’s the best time by two seconds over what my time was before, so I can’t really complain and I’m glad I was able to get the win for the team,” said Beisel.  “I knew exactly where I was. In the breaststroke leg, when everybody started catching me – it always happens – I just try to swim my own race and put the blinders on, I guess. It’s awesome.”

 

Cieslak followed Beisel’s lead when he finished the men’s 200 IM in a personal-best 1:43.01, to put gold medal around his neck and force a Florida sweep for the top spot in the event. The first-place performance is a slight improvement from last year, when the then freshman took home silver.

 

After the race, Cieslak was somewhat speechless, providing only a big smile and quick thumbs up, but words later came around as he explained the importance of the win.

 

“I got second last year, so this is really great. I have had guys pushing me all year and I really wanted to win. This is my best time, and faster than last year. I feel like I am making progress. My goal was 1:43 and that is what it took to win. The atmosphere here is great.”

 

deBorde’s nation-leading 19.25, 50 free performance from this morning’s preliminary heat carried over in tonight’s final. The Longwood, Fla., native fought head-to-toe for the 19.29 time with Auburn’s Drew Modrov (19.32) to record a time just four hundredths of a second off his personal-best, that earned him his first career SEC crown and a gold medal.

 

“I have really been working on this race a lot. I have the best training mates in the sprint group this year. We have really been pushing to have a good finish this in the 50. It is a great win for Florida. I wanted to go a little faster but I am pretty happy with my time.”

 

Senior Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) finished third in the women’s 50 freestyle, just one hundredth of a second off her own quickest time and school record (22.00), when she touched in 22.01 behind LSU’s Amanda Kendall and Auburn’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace who both recorded times of 21.92, and 21.35 for the silver and gold, respectively.

 

In the 500 free, Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.) had a strong effort in the first few legs, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Georgia who controlled the race and continued to gain speed throughout, as Amber McDermott touched in 4:37.15 for the first-place finish and Shannon Vreeland closed out the podium with a third-place effort of 4:39.72. Fellow junior Corinne Showalter (Sarasota, Fla.) finished eighth for the second consecutive year when she touched in 4:43.51, as both her and Bohunicky recorded NCAA ‘B’ provisional marks.

 

In the women’s consolation final, three swimmers represented the Gators in Alicia Mathieu (Marlborough, Conn.) who beat her previous best time set in this mornings prelim with a mark of 4:47.01 to take the 11th overall finish; Molly Dubrasky (Estero, Fla.) who touched in 4:44.66 for 14th and Angelina Ballatore (Gainesville, Fla.) who clocked in at 4:49.78 for 16th overall.

 

Two other Gators were in the pool behind Beisel when she won the 200 IM in Hilda Luthersdottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) and Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.) who finished in 1:58.75 and 1:59.00 for fifth and seventh, respectively.

 

Sarra Lajnef (Tunis, Tunisia) represented UF if the women’s 200 IM consolation final with a 2:01.61 time that pinned her 15th overall.

 

A duo of Gators finished two-three in the men’s 500 free finals as junior Jason Taylor (Plant City, Fla.) recorded the fastest time of his career after he touched in 4:18.99 for the silver medal, and freshman Nicholas Caldwell (Sarasota, Fla.) earned his first piece of SEC hardware as he took bronze with a 4:20.11 mark. Martin Grodzki of Georgia finished in 4:16.94 to take the top-spot and claim gold.

 

To open the race, Caldwell recorded a 49.99 in the first 100 split, as just one of two swimmers to open the first 100 under 50 seconds.

 

Taylor and Caldwell were followed by teammates, sophomore Connor Signorin (East Windsor, N.J.) who touched in 4:20.59 for fourth, and freshman Carlos Omana (Miami, Fla.) who finished eighth in 4:24.45.

 

Following Cieslak in the 200 IM were a trio of freshmen – Eduardo Solaeche (Madrid, Spain), Dan Wallace (North Berwick, Scotland) and Matt Curby (Oviedo, Fla.) – who finished for fourth through sixth, respectively, each with NCAA B provisional times. Together, they all out-bested their previous career times as Solaeche touched in 1:45.10, Wallace in 1:45.33 and Curby in 1:45.77.

 

Freshman Matt Elliott (Peoria, Ill.) and senior Brian Howell (Cincinnati, Ohio) each swam in the consolation final with Elliott taking 10th overall with the quickest mark of his career, 1:46.96, and Howell finishing 15th out of all competitors (1:48.16).

 

In the final individual event of the night for the men, redshirt senior Matt Norton (Port Orange, Fla.) who joined deBorde in a pool overflowed with Auburn swimmers, finished eighth in a NCAA B 19.78. Senior James Turner (Ft Pierce, Fla.) represented the Orange and Blue in the consolation finals with a 19.96 mark

 

The 200 free relay closed out Thursday night’s competition as the group of Bateman, Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia), Bohunicky and Frehling touched in 1:29.32 for fifth place. While the men’s quartet of deBorde, Norton, Turner and Curby stopped the clock at 1:17.86 for second, a spot on the podium and a silver medal.

 

Three Gators dove off the boards, but didn’t manage to progress to the evening finals. For the men, sophomore Chris Jones (Palm City, Fla.) finished 11th off the one-meter springboard with 310.20 points to lead UF. He was followed by teammate, sophomore Mike Lewark (Davie, Fla.),  who finished with a score of 306.65 for 13th.

 

Senior Kaylee Doback (Brandon, Fla.) finished 13th in three-meter competition after she cored 291.85 points, as the Gators lone diving representative on the women’s squad.

 

The 2012 Swimming and Diving Championships will continue tomorrow morning with prelims beginning at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. Swimmers will compete in the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 400 medley relay tomorrow evening, with male divers taking off the platform.

 

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

 

TOP FINISHERS

Women: 3-mtr diving – Kaylee Doback, 13th (291.85); 500 free – Jamie Bohunicky, 6th (4:40.63) ; 200 IM – Elizabeth Beisel, 1st (1:54.89); 50 free – Sarah Bateman, 3rd (22.01); 200 freestyle relay – Bateman, Zalewski, Bohunicky, Frehling, 5th (1:29.32)

 

Men: 1-mtr diving: Chris Jones, 11th (310.20); 500 free – Jason Taylor, 2nd (4:18.99) ; 200 IM – Marcin Cieslak, 1st (1:43.01); 50 free – Brad deBorde, 1st (19.29); 200 freestyle relay – deBorde, Norton, Turner, Curby, 2nd (1:17.86)

 

 

Women’s 200-Yard Freestyle Relay Splits

Sarah Bateman: 22.06

Ellese Zalewski: 22.45

Jamie Bohunicky: 22.39

Kaitlin Frehling: 22.42

 

Men’s 200-Yard Freestyle Relay Splits

Brad deBorde: 19.48

Matt Norton: 19.36

James Turner: 19.37

Matt Curby: 19:65

 

 

WOMEN’S TEAM SCORES AFTER NIGHT 2

Place

Team

Points

1.

Georgia

274

2.

Tennessee

249

3.

Auburn

228.5

4.

Florida

198.5

5.

LSU

176

6.

South Carolina

116

7.

Arkansas

113

8.

Alabama

110

9.

Kentucky

54

10.

Vanderbilt

46

 

MEN’S TEAM SCORES AFTER NIGHT 2

Place

Team

Points

1.

Auburn

301

2.

Florida

276

3.

Georgia

208

3.

Tennessee

208

5.

LSU

168

6.

Kentucky

116

7.

South Carolina

95

8.

Alabama

67

 

DAY 2 MORNING PRELIMS RECAP

 

We’re halfway through Day two of the 2012 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships as morning prelims have come to a close at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn., and in normal Gator fashion, they did it quickly. So quickly that a pair of sophomores in Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) and Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.) each broke school records and recorded automatic qualifying times to their respective NCAA meets in March.

 

Patiently waiting his time, deBorde accomplished a feat in which he has hoped to pass for over a year. At last year’s NCAA meet when the Longwood native tied teammate Brett Fraser for the second-quickest 50-free performance in Gator history (19.63) and quickest ever by a UF freshman, he knew he could crack the top-spot. Just a few weeks ago, coincidentally enough here at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center, it looked like deBorde could do it again when he touched in 19.57. It wasn’t enough to be No. 1, but he separated himself from Fraser for sole possession of the runner-up spot.

 

The time finally came this morning when he stopped the clock at 19.25, enough to pass Brett’s older brother – Shaune Fraser (19.30) and claim the fastest time ever swum by a Gator since the program began in 1930 in the 50 free. Not only did the sophomore sprinter swim the fastest time in UF history, it is also the fastest 50 free by a Division I male swimmer on the year.

 

“I can’t believe that it happened this morning – I just didn’t see it coming. It didn’t feel like I swam that fast,” said deBorde. “It’s a great feeling though, to pass your own best time – to break the school record. Fingers crossed that it all goes just as well tonight.”

 

Beisel’s 1:54.83 finish in the 200 IM was just three tenths of a second off the SEC record (Morgan Scroggy, Georgia, 1:54.58), is the fastest mark of her career in the event, breaks Gator great Gemma Spofforth’s now second-best record of 1:55.39 set in 2010 and is the third-fastest time in the country. Her performances is just one of two, alongside Spofforth’s, in the UF record books under 1:57.06.

 

“I didn’t expect to go that fast, or reach the qualifying time,” explained Beisel, “but it all is very nice. It’s even more comforting to know that I reached the automatic qualifying time for NCAAs – whether or not I’ll swim it in March, we’ll see.”

 

Throughout the race Beisel recorded both the fastest fly split (25.24) and mid-way split (54.05) of the morning throughout all eight women’s 200 IM preliminary heats

 

14 other Gator swimmers will join deBorde and Beisel in tonight’s finals session. Eight other members of the men’s team will swim tonight in Nicholas Caldwell (Sarasota, Fla.), Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland), Matt Curby (Oviedo, Fla.), Matt Norton (Port Orange, Fla.), Carlos Omana (Miami, Fla.), Connor Signorin (East Windsor, N.J.), Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (Madrid, Spain), Jason Taylor (Plant City, Fla.) and Dan Wallace (North Berwick, Scotland).

 

The women bring with them five other swimmers: Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.), Hilda Luthersdottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland), Corinne Showalter (Sarasota, Fla.) and Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.).

 

With 16 Orange and Blue caps in tonight’s individual events, the Gators will be the most represented team in the water. Georgia has 15 swimmers competing individually, Auburn will be represented with eight, host Tennessee with five and LSU with three.

 

For the men, redshirt senior Norton will join deBorde after he finished his preliminary heat in 19.74 – he enters the race with a seventh-place seed.

 

Four Gators will swim in both the 500 free and 200 IM. Taylor (4:19.11, personal best) and Caldwell (4:19.12, personal best) enter the 500 free finals with the second and third fastest qualifying times, respectively, and will be joined by Omana who touched in 4:21.82 (personal-best), and Signorin who stopped the clock at 4:23.87.

 

UF enters the 200 IM with four of the top-five times from this morning’s prelims from three freshmen and one sophomore. Wallace leads the group after dishing out a 1:45.67 (personal best) effort for the second quickest time, and is backed by Cieslak who clocked in at 1:45.68. A pair of freshmen in Solaeche-Gomez, and Curby, who recorded times of 1:45.93 and 1:46.37, respectively, both career-best turnouts, holds the top four and five spots.

 

Bateman enters the 50 free just behind reigning SEC and NCAA Champion Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (21.46) of Auburn, who holds the nations quickest time in the event. Bateman’s own time of 22.08, which seeds her second heading into the finals, is just eight hundredths of a second off of her own school record (22.00), which she hopes to break tonight.

 

Senior, K. Smith, and sophomore, Luthersdottir, will each join Beisel tonight in the 200 IM as the No. 5 (1:59.22) and No. 8 (1:59.35), respectively.

 

Although she will not swim in tonight’s finals, junior Sarra Lajnef (Tunis, Tunisia), put in a personal-best swim after she touched in 2:00.95. It was the first output of her career in which she has ever recorded at the 2:00 minute mark, surpassing her previous best of 2:01.11.

 

Juniors Bohunicky (4:42.49) and Showalter (4:42.59) will swim in the 500 free finals, as the No. 7 and No. 8 seed, respectively.

 

Check GatorZone.com this evening for a full recap of tonight’s finals from the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. Swimmers will take to the pool for final heats of all this morning’s events, as well as the 200 freestyle relays. For all the latest up-to-date information about the Florida swimming and diving team, make sure to follow us on Twitter at @GatorZoneSwimDv.

 

Other Gator finishers not advancing to finals

 

Men

500-yard freestyle

Scott Heil, 22nd, 4:32.58*

Jonathan Jordan, no place, 4:30.65

 

200-yard individual medley

Matt Elliott, 12th, 1:47.65*

Brian Howell, 16th, 1:48.39

 

50-yard freestyle

James Turner, 11th, 19.92

Christian Homer, 24th, 20.58*

 

Women

500-yard freestyle

Alicia Mathieu, 10th, 4:43.77*

Angelina Ballatore, 12th, 4:45.92

Molly Dubrasky, 15th, 4:49.32*

Sharla Milne, no place, 4:47.02*

Lauren Neidigh, no place, 4:52.04*

 

200-yard individual medley

Sarra Lajnef, 15th, 2:00.95*

Natasha Fung, 19th, 2:01.41*

Trish Regan, 25th, 2:02.35

 

50-yard freestyle

Kaitlin Frehling, t-11th, 22.80

Ellese Zalewski, 18th, 22.91

 

*indicates personal-best time

 

 

 

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