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Saturday December 7, 2002UF Swimmers Sweep U.S. Open High Point Honors

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -

University of Florida swimmers Sara McLarty (Deland, Fla.) and Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) earned the Female and Male Swimmer High Points Awards Saturday night at the U.S. Open in Minneapolis, Minn. As a combined team score, Florida won the University portion of the team championship with 779 points over second-place University of Minnesota with 691 points. The women's team won the Female University title with a score of 401, while the men finished second in the male portion with 378 points.

"This means twice as much winning it with Ryan," McLarty said. "It's great to win the high point award, but it was mentally tough getting up for the 12th and 13th swims."

McLarty finished competition at the U.S. Open Saturday with two top five performances. She placed third in the 800-meter freestyle in a time of 8:44.28 and placed fourth in the 200-meter butterfly in a time of 2:16.88. She qualified for the finals in each preliminary race she participated in and finished in the top five in five of six events. McLarty began competition Thursday winning her first U.S. Open title in the 400-meter freestyle (4:25.64). She finished runner-up in the 400-meter individual medley (4:51.63), third in the 200-meter IM (2:19.00) and ninth in the 200-meter freestyle (2:04.69).

Lochte, a freshman on the Gators' swim squad, sealed the award with a fourth-place finish in the 1,500-meter freestyle in a time of 15:50.17. His point total of 66 was one better than Keith Beaver's second-place total of 65. Overall, Lochte placed in four events at the meet, and just missed a fifth placing by two one-hundreths of a second in the 200-meter freestyle in Friday's portion of the meet. Lochte got things started on Thursday night with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:04.63, and followed that with a sixth-place finish in the 400-meter freestyle in a time of 3:59.44. Lochte's lone placing Friday night came in the 400-meter individual medley with a third-place effort with a time of 4:29.37.

Freshman Vipa Bernhardt (Bad Herfeld, Germany) placed third in the 200-meter breaststroke touching the wall in a time of 2:31.89 and sophomore Rebecca Harper finished sixth in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:17.44. Sophomore Meredith Green (Chapel Hill, N.C.) qualified for two finals races, finishing 11th and 12th , respectively in the 200-meter butterfly (2:19.46) and the 800-meter freestyle (8:59.62).

The 400-meter freestyle Florida B relay team consisting of sophomore Maureen Farrell (Northridge, Calif.), junior Chantal Gibney (Dublin, Ireland), freshman Mary Uhle (Sankt Ingbert, Germany) and senior Diane Tennison (Lafayette, La.) finished fourth in a time of 3:54.41. The Florida A team consisting of freshman Amanda Huff (Golf Hill, N.C.), McLarty, senior Renate duPlessis (Capetown, South Africa) and Chapman finished ninth in the 400-meter freestyle relay.

Other Florida women's swimmers to compete in the finals on day three included: senior Anna Chapman (St. Simons Island, Ga.) and freshman Jamie Tannhauser (Seattle, Wash.) in the 800-meter freestyle in 9:05.51 and 9:06.40, respectively; sophomore Katie Kennedy (Ft. Myers, Fla.) in the 200-meter breaststroke (2:43.13); and junior Casey Seland (Longwood, Fla.) in the 200-meter butterfly (2:19.79).

Other Gator male swimmers to place during Saturday's finals included junior Carlos Jayme (Goias, Brazil) in the 100-meter freestyle (51.33) and sophomore Gabriel Mangabeira (Piratininga, Brazil) in the 200-meter butterfly (2:07.03). Two Gator relay teams also placed for the second straight night, as the Florida A team finished fourth in the 400-meter freestyle relay in a time of 3:30.79, while the Florida B team took sixth with a time of 3:37.06. Members on the A team included: Jayme, Mangabeira, junior Scott Schultz (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and sophomore Kris Wiebeck (Tampa, Fla.). Members of the B team included: Lochte, sophomore Adam Sioui (Ontario, Canada); junior Chris Kellam (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.); and senior Philip Norris (Longwood, Fla.).

In diving, the men's and women's diving teams competed at the Texas Diving Invitational in Austin, Texas. On the one-meter springboard, junior Nicole Bolt (Orlando, Fla.) finished fifth in the finals with a score of 273.00. Sophomore Zach Wilcox (Yarrow Point, Wash.) finished fourth on the three-meter springboard with a score of 523.40. Freshman Chris Comfort (Coral Springs, Fla.) took sixth-place with a total score of 474.20.

The Florida women's swimming and diving team will be back in action Jan. 11, as the Gators host Texas at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center Natatorium. The men will return to action Jan. 16, as UF will travel to take on Southern Methodist in Dallas, Texas.

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