Friday March 22, 2002Women's Swimmers Renew Confidence at NCAA's
After some bad luck led to a slow start, the No. 7 University of Florida women’s swimmers competed like a new team in the second day of the NCAA Championships hosted on the campus of the University of Texas. The Lady Gators will enter the final day of competition in eighth place with 154 points.
In an electric, but delayed start to the evening, the 200-yard medley relay team of junior Renate du Plessis (Capetown, South Africa), junior Cerian Gibbes (Trinidad), junior Cara Teague (Sugarland, Texas) racked up the school’s second fastest time (1:40.24) and a seventh place. The time was just 19 tenths of a second shy of the school record set in 1990.
Sophomore Sarah McLarty (DeLand, Fla.) followed the relay team with a second finals swim, scoring sixth in the 400-yard individual medley. The score marks the third All-America honor she was one in her two years of collegiate competition. Fellow sophomore Jaime Ellis (Spring, Texas) also pulled out some important points with her 11th place finish in the event (4:15.09).
In the second multiple-scoring event for the Gators of the evening, UF tallied 14th and 15th in the 100-yard butterfly. The faster of the pair was freshman Rebecca Harper (Richmond, Va.) who turned in a time of 54.21. Following Harper was du Plessis, who touched the wall in 54.49. Both set new lifetime-best performances in the morning’s preliminary rounds.
Florida then topped the consolation finals of the 200-yard freestyle, winning both top spots for ninth and 10th overall. Sophomore Janelle Atkinson (Jamaica) took the higher place with her time of 1:46.66, her new collegiate best. On the heels of Atkinson was fellow sophomore, and active Gator Olympian, Chantal Gibney (Dublin, Ireland) who swam 1:46.77.
The Lady Gators then finished the night with another spectacular relay, carding the fastest time of the season in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The team of Atkinson, McLarty, Gibney, and Ellis scored a time of 7:07.85 to place xx.
"I am extremely proud of these women," head coach Gregg Troy said. "They really came back after a poor day yesterday. I have never seen a group of swimmers make the comeback that they did today. They had a lot of lifetime best performances and I am really pleased. This shows just the tremendous amount of character that they have."
Auburn continues to lead the field with 337 points while defending national champion Georgia trails close behind with 270.
The championships will conclude Satuday, March 23. The final day will include the 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly, 400-yard freestyle relay and the 1,650-yard freestyle-the strongest event for UF.
1. Auburn 337
2. Georgia 270
3. Stanford 215
4. Arizona 207
5. Texas 202.5
6. USC 194.5
7. California 178
8. Florida 154
9. SMU 124
10. Ariz. St. 101
200-yard Medley Relay
1. Stanford, 1:37.79 (Wagner, Kirk, Ripple, Boutwell); 2. California, 1:37.88 (Coughlin, Stitts, Henriques, Becks); 3. Auburn, 1:37.94 (Anderson, Swander, Christianson)
400-yard Individual Medley
1. Maggie Bowen, Auburn (4:04.69); 2. Alenka Kejzar, SMU (4:06.70); 3. Mirjana Bosevska, Virginia (4:09.75)
1. Natalie Coughlin, California (50.01); 2. Shelly Ripple, Stanford (51.50); 3. Joscelin Yeo, Texas (52.52)
1. Sarah Tolar, Arizona (1:44.66); 2. Stefanie Williams, Georgia (1:44.88); 3. Jessi Perruquet, North Carolina (1:45.65)
1. Tara Kirk, Stanford (59.03); 2. Maggie Bowen, Auburn (59.94); 3. Anne Poleska, Alabama (1:00.08)
1. Natalie Coughlin, California (49.97); 2. Susan Woessner, Indiana (53.23); 3. Beth Botsford, Arizona (53.45)
800-yard Freestyle Relay
1. Arizona, 7:05.10; 2. Auburn, 7:06.70; 3. Georgia, 7:06.77