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Friday March 23, 2012Cieslak and Solaeche-Gomez Collect Hardware, Gators In Seventh Heading Into Final Night Of NCAAs

Federal Way, Wash.

Two Gators earned podium finishes on the second night of Division I NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships Friday evening at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash., as sophomore Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) and freshman Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (Madrid, Spain) each made their way to the medal stand for the Orange and Blue. The duo’s pair of top-eight finishes, along with a seventh-place performance by the 800 freestyle relay helped put Florida in the 7th-place position with 125 points heading into the final night of competition.

 

“We were better today than yesterday,” said head coach Gregg Troy. “We had some really good swims in the 400 IM – a tough race – and Marcin was outstanding in the 100 fly.”

 

“We’re still not on all eight cylinders, but we have a good day tomorrow, which is our best day,” explained Troy. “We just have to keep clawing up there and staying in all the races.”

 

Cieslak grabbed his second, top-three individual finish of the meet this evening when he pushed into the pad at 45.86 – both the quickest time of his career and second-quickest time in Florida history – in the 100 fly. After he took second in the 200 IM last night, Cieslak put together another swift swim tonight in the 100 fly. With the first 50 behind him, Cieslak found himself in the middle of the field with the fourth-fastest opening 50 split, and again at the 75-yard marker. It wasn’t until his final push off the wall that Cieslak propelled ahead and managed to push into the pad for the third-place finish.

 

“It feels great,” exclaimed Cieslak. “This is my second time swimming in the NCAA Championships, last year I only swam in the B final, and this year I got to swim in the A finals. Not only was I able to do that but, to get my fastest time and finish third is a big improvement”

 

Before Cieslak’s second top-three finish, two freshmen represented the Gators with Solaeche-Gomez swimming up in the championship finals and Dan Wallace (North Berwick, Scotland), swimming down.

 

“Eduardo and Dan each gave us really good, strong medley swims,” said Troy. “The thing with both of them is that you have one that just returned from his trials (Dan Wallace), and another one getting ready to leave (Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez) – so they have done a lot. For them to stand up and be as good as they were today is not only extremely helpful for our team, but really outstanding.”

 

Solaeche-Gomez timed in at 3:45.12 in the 400 IM to earn the first All-American honor of his career in the Orange and Blue. Although Austen Thompson of Arizona held a clear lead throughout the duration of the race, the remaining spots needed to be filled, as the fourth through eighth place finishes were all closed in under a second, including Solaeche-Gomez’s 3:45.12 effort..

 

Wallace clinched the top-spot in the consolation final in a head-to-head race in which he was the only freshman in the pool when he touched the wall in a personal-best 3:44.36.

 

After maintaining a steady pace, Wallace gained speed with each change of stroke, but it wasn’t until the final 150 yards that his chance of touching first could be seen. The latter-half of his breaststroke put him just a nose ahead of the competition, but it was his final push, with his free stroke that allowed Wallace, the youngster in the pool, to push into the pad first.

 

The relays both opened and closed out Friday’s competition for the Gators, as both picked up All-American nods.

 

The 200 medley relay of Cameron Martin (Clearwater, Fla.), Matt Elliott (Peoria, Ill.), Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.) and Matt Norton (Port Orange, Fla.) took to the pool first for the Gators, as the group combined to touch in 1:27.68 for 14th overall.

 

Off of their podium finishes, Cieslak and Solaeche-Gomez joined forces with Connor Signorin (East Windsor, N.J.) and Nicholas Caldwell (Sarasota, Fla.) in the 800 free relay to make yet another trip to the medal stand and close out the night. Together, the group touched in 6:24.38 to finish seventh, and notch another All-American honor to their names.

 

Diver Mike Lewark (Davie, Fla.) finished 28th off the three-meter springboard after he collected 309.30 points.

 

“On paper it may not seem like Mike is putting together great dives, but he really is doing well for us out here,” said head diving coach Donnie Craine. “This is a big thing for him to even make it out here and get the chance to compete – it’s the first time that we have had a diver at NCAA’s in six years. He just needs to shake the nerves off a little”

 

After the first full day of competition, the top-10 teams are as follows, from first through 10th: Cal (379.5), Texas (343.5), Arizona (283), Stanford (277), Michigan (199), Auburn (178.5), Florida (128), USC (119), Louisville (110) and Indiana (102).

 

For full results from the second night of competition at the Division I Swimming and Diving Championships, please click here.

 

The final day of the 2012 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships will conclude tomorrow with prelims beginning at 11 a.m. PT and finals taking off at 7 p.m. PT. Swimmers will compete in the 1,650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and 400 free relay, while the divers will take off the platform.

 

Live times can be found by following this link. Free, live streaming of Friday 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 men’s swimming and diving at the NCAA Championships, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/swimmingdiving/men 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.

 

200 Medley Relay, 14th, 1:27.68
Cameron Martin, back, 22.13

Matt Elliott, breast, 24.79

Brad deBorde, fly, 21.27

Matt Norton, free, 19.49

 

400 IM

Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez,

Dan Wallace, 9th, 3:44.36

 

100 Fly

Marcin Cieslak, 3rd, 45.86

 

800 Free Relay, 7th, 6:24.38

Marcin Cieslak, 1:35.31

Connor Signorin, 1:35.72

Nicholas Caldwell, 1:36.38

Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez, 1:36.97

 

2012 GATOR ALL-AMERICAN HONOREES THROUGH NIGHT TWO

Name

All-America

Honorable Mention All-America

Nicholas Caldwell (1)

800 Free Relay

 

Marcin Cieslak (5)

200 IM, 100 Fly, 200 Free Relay, 800 Free Relay

400 Medley Relay

Matt Curby (3)

200 Free Relay

200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay

Brad deBorde (2)

200 Free Relay

50 Free

Matt Elliott (2)

 

200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay

Cameron Martin (2)

 

200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay

Matt Norton (1)

 

200 Medley Relay

James Turner (1)

200 Free Relay

 

Connor Signorin (1)

800 Free Relay

 

Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (2)

400 IM, 800 Free Relay

 

Dan Wallace (1)

 

400 IM

 

 

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