Friday March 16, 2012Beisel, Crippen & 800 Free Relay Gather Top-10 Finishes on Second Night of NCAAs
The night may have not have been swam according to plan – but the Gators still put together strong swims and retain a positive outlook heading into the final night of competition at the 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the James E. Martin Aquatic Center in Auburn, Ala. With 97 points, the Gators are just shy of a top-10 spot in the field coming in at 11th – two points behind 10th-seeded Arizona State with 99 points – continually seeking strong swims on Saturday.
“We raced really well, much better today than yesterday,” started Florida head coach Gregg Troy. “We were a little quicker, just a little stronger in the morning, and while l am a little disappointed with some of the results, all the girls that swam tonight gave terrific efforts.”
Many dubbed the 400 IM the “race of the meet” from the get-go. It featured a stacked field that was predicted to not only threaten, but also crash through the NCAA record with the Gators’ very own Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) as a contender to accomplish the feat.
While she wasn’t able to break the record, Beisel swam the third, sub-four-minute effort of her career in as many races when she touched in 3:59.37 for the third lowest swim overall. While it didn’t crack her own personal-best, school-record time of 3:58.35 set at the 2012 SEC Championships, it marks the seventh fastest 400 IM in NCAA history. With that feat, she holds three of the top-seven times in the event.
Beisel was bested by the defending 400 IM NCAA Champion, Katinka Hosszu of USC, who broke the NCAA, American and U.S. Open record after stopping the clock at 3:56.54, and Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz who clocked in at 3:57.89 – a time also good enough to best all three standing records.
Fellow Florida teammate, Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.), who also appeared in the 400 IM championships ‘A’ finals finished sixth overall with a 4:04.83 swim. The finish gives her nine individual All-American honors and 14 overall throughout her time at Florida. The senior has her toughest day tomorrow, with a double in the 200 back and 200 fly where she finished fourth and sixth, respectively, at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.
Senior Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.) swam down for the Gators in the 400 IM, stopping the clock at 4:13.59 to finish 16th in the field and help give the Gators a point and push them into the top-10 team standings.
In Troy’s retelling of the 400 IM, “Both Elizabeth and Teresa gave great efforts in the 400 IM. It was a little short of what we think we can do, but there are no complaints. Everybody raced well and then came back and swam hard in the 800 freestyle relay.”
The Gators also had strong performances from junior Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.) and sophomore Hilda Luthersdottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland).
On his breakout swimmers of the night, Troy explained, “They gave us some big breakthroughs, especially for Jamie. Not only did they swim well this morning to swim again tonight, but they came back and went faster tonight and swam very well.”
Luthersdottir broke her own school-record in the 100 breast after she touched in a fiery 1:00.05, to crack her previous leading time of 1:00.10, set at last year’s NCAA Championships, by five-hundredths of a second. The swim was the fastest of the consolation final to pin her ninth overall.
Bohunicky also added a significant finish for Florida after she stopped the clock in a career-low 1:44.79 to finish second in the consolation final and garner a tenth-place overall finish for the Orange and Blue. With the time, Bohunicky jumps from ninth to fifth overall in Florida record books.
The 800 freestyle relay group of Bohunicky, Beisel, Crippen and the Gators’ lone freshman in Natasha Fung (Edmonton, Canada) closed-out the night with a strong performance, in a tight race from start-to-finish. The group combined to record the third-quickest time in school history after they touched the wall and stopped the clock at 7:00.84 for a sixth-place, podium finish.
“It was a great effort by that group of girls,” explained Troy. “We don’t have a lot of people here swimming for us – all of those girls were a little tired to come back and finish with that race. We were in the hunt, but fell just a little bit short from what we thought we might go.”
After the first full day of competition, the top-10 teams are as follows, from first through 10th: Cal Berkeley (311), Georgia (247), USC and Arizona tied for third with 226 points a piece, Stanford (222), Tennessee (186), Texas A&M (185), Auburn (184), Texas (146) and Arizona State (99). Florida is just two points shy of the 10th-place spot with 97 points.
Full results from day two of competition at the 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships can be found here.
“We’re kind of in a four-team fight for tenth right now,” said Troy on his expectations for the last day of competition. “It’s always one of our goals to be as high as we can, swim as far as we can into the top-10. We’ve been fortunate enough to not be out of the top-10 for the past few years, so we have our work cut out for us tomorrow.”
The 2012 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships will wrap-up tomorrow with prelims beginning at 11 a.m. CT and finals taking off at 7 p.m. CT. Live times can be found by following this link. Free, live streaming of Saturday morning’s prelims will be provided free of charge by clicking here. ESPN will be streaming the finals at www.WatchESPN.com.
For all the latest information on Florida women’s swimming and diving at the NCAA Championships, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/swimmingdiving/women or, for up-to-the-minute updates from Auburn, Ala., follow swimming and diving on Twitter @GatorZoneSwimDv. You can also follow the Gators on Facebook.
Elizabeth Beisel, 3rd, 3:59.37
Teresa Crippen, 6th, 4:04.83
Kirsten Smith, 16th, 4:13.59
Jamie Bohunicky, 10th, 1:44.79
Hilda Luthersdottir, 13th, 1:00.05
800 Free Relay, 6th, 7:00.84
Jamie Bohunicky, 1:45.14
Elizabeth Beisel, 1:44.68
Teresa Crippen, 1:44.04
Natasha Fung, 1:46.98