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Saturday March 24, 2012Gators Finish Eighth At NCAAs, Cieslak Grabs Third Top-Three Finish

Federal Way, Wash.

The University of Florida men’s swimming and diving team collected 27 All-American honors and finished 8th in the field with 157 points to closeout the 2011-12 season. The eighth-place finish marks the 12th consecutive time in head Coach Gregg Troy’s 14-year helm of the Gators’ swimming and diving program

“We’re a little disappointed – you always are when you don’t take the top-spot – but that can only go to one team,” said Florida head coach Gregg Troy on his team’s performance at the 2012 Division I Swimming and Diving Championships in Federal Way, Wash. “I don’t think we could have done better than fifth or sixth, but we raced pretty well.”

“There were a couple of spots that we were just a little rocky. Even though this season is over we still have a couple of things we still need to clean up,” Troy remarked. “Overall though, it was a good season.”

Sophomore Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) made both his third championship final and top-three finish of the 2012 Division I Swimming and Diving Championships on the final night of swimming when he overcame a deficit in the pool and touched in a personal-best 1:41.36 to take home his second bronze-plated trophy in as many days. Although it is a new career-low swim for the 2012 SEC Swimmer of the Year, it still pins him second in the UF history books behind record holder, Shaune Fraser at 1:40.75.

“My goal is to get faster every time I go to race is to get faster,” explained Cieslak. “At SECs I went a little bit faster than before, and tonight I went even faster – it feels really good.”

Until he was halfway through the race, which he has claimed is his favorite event; Cieslak maintained a comfortable sixth-place position. It wasn’t until his turn into the final 50 yards the he gained the momentum he needed to push ahead and go from sixth to third. With his final 50-yard split timed at 25.94, Cieslak maintained the third-place spot and nabbed the 11th All-America honor of his two-year career in the Orange and Blue.

“Marcin swam extremely well for us this over the past three days,” explained Troy. “He stepped up in every race that he swam and gave us the best performance that he could. He’s just an extremely versatile swimmer. He goes to the blocks and races tough every time”

Teammate, Cameron Martin (Clearwater, Fla.) represented Florida in the consolation finals of the 200 fly with a 1:44.11 performance for 11th overall and an Honorable Mention All-America honor in the race in back-to-back years.

Also swimming down for the Gators was sophomore Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.), in a stacked 100 free consolation final, who pushed into the pad at 43.62 to finish 15th in the event. The top two spots in the consol final were taken in a head-to-head race with Texas’ Daxon Hill and Ohio State’s Jason Schnur, but the remaining spots were all with in half a body lengths behind the pair, neck-and-neck with one another, as the 11th through 16th-place swimmers all touched within six-hundredths of a second.

 

The 400 freestyle relay quartet of deBorde, Matt Norton (Port Orange, Fla.), James Turner (Ft. Pierce, Fla.) and Matt Curby (Oviedo, Fla.) combined to touch the wall in 2:54.34. deBorde sparked the Gators in his opening leg with a 43.44 split to put the Gators in second after the opening 100-yard split. Norton maintained that speed, but the competition wasn’t enough as Michigan, Louisville, Iowa and Michigan pulled ahead in the final stretch to out-touch Florida.

Although none of them compiled points for Florida, three Gators took to the water in the mile, including a team-best performance by sophomore Connor Signorin (East Windsor, N.J.). While it wasn’t his best swim, Signorin continued to gain momentum with each split to eventually gain a lead halfway through his respective heat that he wouldn’t give-up in the remaining 550 yards. In the final 100 yards of the grueling race, Signorin catapulted three body lengths ahead to take the top time of his heat.

Originally in ninth before the final 1,650 heat, the swimmers kicked-off the night with speedy times, including the two fastest times in American history from Chad La Tourette of Stanford (14:24.35) and Martin Grodzki of Georgia (14:24.08). With those eight quick performances, Signorin jumped from ninth to seventeenth overall in the race to fall shy of an Honorable Mention All-America honor in the event.

The Gator sophomore was joined by freshmen Nicholas Caldwell (Sarasota, Fla.) and Carlos Omana (Miami, Fla.) who touched in 15:15.02 and 15:28.76, respectively, for the 18th and 21st finish in the 1,650 free competition.

Diver Mike Lewark (Davie, Fla.) concluded his NCAA Championship debut off the platform with a 274.10 performance for 24th overall.

“I’m really proud of how Mike came in and performed this week,” remarked Florida head diving coach Donnie Craine. “It was a big deal for him to make it here and get the opportunity to perform for us. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve and we’ll see him here again next year.”

With the last night of NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships completed, the Gator men have finished their 2011-12 season with a top-10 national finish, to mark the 12th consecutive year that Troy has brought home a top-10 finish for the Orange and Blue. While the season is over, many of the Gators will continue to train and swim with the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

For all the latest information on Florida men’s swimming and diving, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/swimmingdiving/men or, for up-to-the-minute information on everything Florida swimming, follow swimming and diving on Twitter @GatorZoneSwimDv. You can also follow the Gators on Facebook. 

1,650 Free
Conor Signorin, 17th, 15:00.09
Nicholas Caldwell, 26th, 15:15.02
Carlos Omana, 29th, 15:28.76

100 Free
Brad deBorde, 15th, 43.62 

200 Fly
Marcin Cieslak, 3rd, 1:41.36
Cameron Martin, 11th, 1:44.11 


400 Free Relay, 13th, 2:54.34
Brad deBorde, 43.44
Matt Norton, 43.25
James Turner, 43.36
Matt Curby, 44.02

2012 GATOR ALL-AMERICAN HONOREES

Name

All-America

Honorable Mention All-America

Nicholas Caldwell (1)

800 Free Relay

 

Marcin Cieslak (6)

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

400 Medley Relay

Matt Curby (4)

200 Free Relay

400 Free Relay

Brad deBorde (3)

200 Free Relay

50 Free, 100 Free, 400 Free Relay, 200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay

Matt Elliott (2)

 

200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay

Cameron Martin (3)

 

200 Fly, 200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay

Matt Norton (2)

 

400 Free Relay, 200 Medley Relay

James Turner (2)

200 Free Relay

400 Free Relay

Connor Signorin (1)

800 Free Relay

 

Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez (2)

400 IM, 800 Free Relay

 

Dan Wallace (1)

 

400 IM

 

2012 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TOP-10 FINISHERS

Place

Team

Points

1.

California

535.5

2.

Texas

491

3.

Stanford

426.5

4.

Arizona

396

5.

Michigan

271

6.

Auburn

254.5

7.

USC

192

8.

Florida

157

9.

Louisville

156

10.

Indiana

140

TOP FLORIDA FINISHERS BY EVENT

50 Freestyle: Brad deBorde, 12th (19.50); 100 Free: deBorde, 15th (43.62); 200 Free: Nicholas Caldwell, 22nd (1:36.88); 500 Free: Connor Signorin, 27th (4:20.40); 1,650 Freestyle: Connor Signorin, 17th, 15:00.09; 100 Back: Matt Curby, 31st (48.67); 100 Breast: Matt Elliott, 22nd (53.76); 200 Breast: Matt Elliott, 18th, 1:56.65; 100 Fly: Marcin Cieslak, 3rd (43.86); 200 Fly: Marcin Cieslak, 3rd (1:41.36); 200 IM: Marcin Cieslak, 2nd (1:42.26); 400 IM: Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez, 7th (3:45.21); 200 Free Relay: (deBorde, Norton, Turner, Curby), 7th (1:18.17); 400 Free Relay: (deBorde, Norton, Turner, Curby), 13th (2:54.34); 800 Free Relay: (Cieslak, Signorin, Caldwell, Solaeche-Gomez), 7th (6:24.38); 200 Medley Relay: (Martin, Elliott, deBorde, Norton), 14th (1:27.68); 400 Medley Relay: (Martin, Elliott, Cieslak, deBorde), 11th, 3:10.03

 

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