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Sophomore Janelle Atkinson suffered an equipment problem in the first day of the NCAA Championships.

Thursday March 21, 2002Women's Swimmers Suffer Bad Luck at NCAA's

Austin, Texas

Sophomore Janelle Atkinson suffered an equipment problem in the first day of the NCAA Championships.

The 2002 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships opened competition on Thursday, March 21 at the Jamail Texas Swimming Center on the campus of the University of Texas. The No. 7 University of Florida Lady Gators stand eighth after six events with a team score of 55.

In one of the more emotional events of the evening, sophomore Janelle Atkinson (Jamaica), placed eighth in the 500-yard freestyle, one of her specialty events. After Atkinson hit the pool, her faulty goggles began to leak and fill with water causing her to slip behind. Finially, after fighting through the problem, it became to difficult to continue and she had to throw them off on the bulk head after making a turn, making her unable to catch the rest of the field.

The rest of the evening ran a bit more positively for the Lady Gators. UF started the evening with a sixth place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Led by senior Leah Martindale (St James, Barbados) the remaining team of sophomore Chantal Gibney (Dublin, Ireland), freshman Maureen Farrell (Northridge, Calif.) and sophomore Jaime Ellis (Spring, Texas) finished at 1:30.57, the school’s third fastest time. Ellis also scored 16th in the 200-yard individual medley.

Martindale claimed the highest individual finish of the night taking 12th in the 50-yard freestyle (22.80). Two Gators also swam lifetime bests in the event earlier in the day despite missing the finals cut. Farrell scored 38th with her time of 23.28 and junior Diane Tennison (Lafayette, La.) took 62nd touching the wall at 23.61.

Competition completed with the 400-yard medley relay. The Lady Gators had their fastest time of the season in the morning preliminaries and placed 11th in the evening’s consolation finals. The UF team consisted of junior Renate du Plessis (Capetown, South Africa), junior Cerian Gibbes (Trinidad), freshman Rebecca Harper (Richmond, Va.) and Martindale.

"It was a disappointing first day," head coach Gregg Troy said. "We saw some great relays. Overall, we are not as sharp as we wanted to be. We will need to clean it up for tomorrow."

Auburn leads with 153 points while Geogia is on their heels with 127. Both teams claimed NCAA records during the night, with Geogia setting two American records as well.

The championships will continue Friday with the 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke and the 800-yard freestyle relay.


200-yard Freestyle Relay

1. Georgia, 1:29.62 (Williams, Mabry, Kearns, Correia); 2. Auburn, 1:29.62 (Short, Bowen, Maxwell, Coparropa); 3. Texas (Yeo, Wanezek, Robins, Phenix)

500-yard Freestyle

1. Flavia Rigamonti, SMU (4:40.13); 2. Jessica Foschi, Stanford (4:41.10); 3. Magda Dyszkiewicz, Auburn (4:41.98)

200-yard Individual Medley

1. Maggie Bowen, Auburn (1:53.91); 2. Shelly Ripple, Stanford (1:55.58); 3. Alenka Kejzar, SMU (1:56.38)

400-yard Medley Relay

1. Stanford (3:31.74); 2. Cal (3:32.55); 3. Auburn (3:34.53)

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