Monday June 3, 2013Gators Putting Together Strong Performances in International Competitions
While the 2012-13 NCAA season has ended members of the University of Florida swimming and diving team are continuing to compete in international meets during the off-season. Several current and former Gators competed the past two weekends in the 2013 Mel Zajac Jr International meet and then traveled to Santa Clara, Cal. for the final event in the 2013 Arena Grand Prix Series. Both were long course meets as swimmers are preparing for the 2013 FINA World Championships in July.
Up first, the group of junior Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.), junior Brad deBorde (Longwood, Fla.), freshman Natalie Hinds (Midland, Texas), former Gator Ryan Lochte, freshman Sinead Russell (Burlington, Ontario), freshman Jessica Thielmann (Newcastle, England) and junior Ellese Zalewski competed in the Mel Zajac meet in Canada. Five different Gators claimed victories during the three day meet.
Lochte put up a strong showing, winning four of his six events and finishing second in the other two. He won the 200m back (1:59.56), 200m free (1:50.15), 200m IM (2:00.15) and 100 free (50.97). Both Russell and Hinds each had two wins on the weekend. Russell swam her way to victory sweeping the backstroke events with a time of 2:10.13 in the 200m back and 1:01.24 in the 100m back. She also finished second in the 100m free (56.61).
Hinds clocked wins in the 50m free (25.87) and the 100m free (55.50) with personal-best times. She also swam personal-bests in the 50m fly (27.08) to finish third and the 100m fly (1:02.16) to take fifth. Sprint specialist deBorde took the win in the 50m free for the men. He tied for first with a time of 23.67 after swimming the fastest time of 23.54 in prelims. deBorde also finished third in the 50m fly in a personal-best time of 25.27 and won the B-Final of the 100 fly (56.04) and the 100 free (52.30).
With another sprint race win for the Gators, Zalewski took first in the 50m fly. She touched the wall in a personal-best time of 27.00 to win the race. Zalewski added a third place finish in the 100m back (1:03.16), sixth in the 50m free (26.95), seventh in the 200m free (2:05.33) and ninth in the 100 fly (1:03.50). Beisel only competed in two events, as she was eighth in the 400m free (4:24.22) and 13th in the 200m free (2:07.99). Thielmann grabbed second in the 400m free with a time of 4:16.29. She added two more A-Final swims taking sixth in the 800m free in 8:59.47 and seventh in the 400m IM with a time of 5:05.13.
Most recently seven current and former Gators competed in the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara. With the conclusion of the Arena Grand Prix Series, Ryan Lochte claimed the title of 2012-13 Arena Grand Prix Series men’s champion after collecting 68 points during the six-event series. The former Gator standout collected four wins in five events in Santa Clara. He took first in the 400m IM with a meet record time of 4:11.36, the record was previously held by Michael Phelps. He added wins in the 100m fly (52.29), 200m back (1:57.51) and the 200m IM (1:58.07) then finished second in the 100 free with a time of 49.53.
Another former Gator in the field was Conor Dwyer, who also made it the A-final of all of his events in California. Dwyer secured two second place finishes after touching the wall in 3:48.20 in the 400m free and 2:00.19 in the 200m IM. He also claimed two third place finishes, both in personal-best times stopping the clock at 49.59 in the 100m free and 4:15.39 in the 400m IM.
Joining Lochte and Dwyer were current UF swimmers Beisel, Zalewski, freshman Corey Main (Auckland, New Zealand), sophomore Billy Silva (Gainesville, Fla.), sophomore Dan Wallace (North Berwick, Scotland) and junior Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia).
Beisel competed in five events, advancing to the A-Final in four and the B-Final in one event. Beisel swam a tough double with her two events from London, the 400m IM and 200m back on Saturday. She clocked in third in the 400m IM with a time of 4:46.60 then finished eighth in the 200m back with a time of 2:16.79. On the final day she grabbed another third place finish with her time of 2:12.74 in the 200m fly and then took fourth in the 200m IM (2:14.17).
The only other female for the Gators was Zalewski, who competed in five events during the Grand Prix and set personal-bests in all five. She started the meet off with a stellar swim in the 100m free, as she won the B-Final in a time of 55.25 which was the fifth fastest time of all the finals. Her best finish came in the 100m fly where she took eighth with her best time of 1:00.23 coming in prelims. Zalewski added an 11th place finish in the 200m fly (2:13.06) and was 19th in both the 200m free (1:59.33) and 50m free (25.55).
For the Gator men, Main swam personal-best times in all three events as he finished sixth in the 200 back in a time of 1:59.86, eighth in the 100m back touching the wall in 55.28 and was 30th in the 100m fly in 55.58. Also recording a top-10 finish was Silva who took ninth in the 1,500m free after finishing in a time of 16:03.22. Silva also advanced to the finals in the 400m IM, finishing 14th in a time of 4:30.01 and swam a personal-best time of 1:56.50 in the 200m free.
Wallace secured two top-10 finishes and posted some solid times in all four events he swam. He won the B-Final in the 400 IM to finish 10th, posting a time of 4:18.79 which was a personal-best and the fourth fastest time of all the finals. He then did the same in the 200m IM, finishing 10th in a time of 2:02.55 that was the fourth fastest time of the day.
Coming up the Gators will look to qualify for the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain from July 19-August 4. Gators Sinead Russell and Hilda Luthersdottir have already qualified for their home country’s team. The USA World Championship Trials will take place June 25-29 in Indianapolis, Ind.