Friday January 18, 2013Gator Swimming and Diving Weekend Preview
The University of Florida swimming and diving team will host Florida Atlantic in dual meet action on Saturday, January 19 at 1 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium. UF’s No. 7 men’s team is 4-0 overall in dual meets and 3-0 in the SEC, while the No. 9 women are 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the SEC.
It will be the second time the Gators have faced the Owls, with both teams competing at the All-Florida Invitational back in September. Florida’s men and women both finished first and FAU finished third on both sides. Coming into the meet, the Gators are undefeated against the Owls with the men holding a 15-0 record and the women 16-0.
While most of the Gators’ team will remain in Gainesville to face Florida Atlantic, nine members of the men’s team (eight swimmers and one diver) will travel to Dallas, Texas to compete in the SMU Classic that runs Friday, January 18-Saturday, January 19.
The two-day meet is designed to showcase the versatility of each school’s athletes by limiting the school to eight swimmers and one diver. The format states that each school must have one representative in each race.
The six team field will include Purdue, Louisville, Michigan, USC and SMU. The elite field features three teams that are ranked in the CSCAA top-25 as of December 4, 2012. Michigan is the top ranked team in the country, Southern California is currently No. 5 and Louisville comes in at No. 16.
The Gators have had a long break between competitions, with their last meet coming in December at the Ohio State Invitational. The women finished first of nine teams and will look to continue that success this weekend. Junior Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) has already accumulated 17 victories this season, 13 individual and four relay.
Tied with her for most on the team is freshman Natalie Hinds (Midland, Texas). Hinds holds the top times on the team in the 50 and 100 free and is a constant presence on the relays. In the distance events, junior Alicia Mathieu (Marlborough, Conn.) and freshman Jessica Thielmann (Newcastle, England) each recorded NCAA “A” cut times in the 1,650 free.
On the men’s side, redshirt junior Sebastien Rousseau (Cape Town, South African) has 12 individual event victories and fellow junior Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) is just behind him with eight. Florida has proven just how deep they are as they make up four of the top five times in the 400 IM in the SEC and three of the top four in the 200 IM.
Admission to Friday’s meet is free and fans are encouraged to park in the North Lot adjacent to the O’Connell Center, and enter through Gate 2. Fans who attend the meet will have the opportunity to win two men’s basketball tickets for the South Carolina game as well as four tickets to Link to Pink Gymnastics meet for the trivia winner.