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Men's Swimming & Diving Headline

Saturday December 6, 2003Swimming Teams in Second Place at U.S. Open

FEDERAL WAY, Wash.

Senior Sara McLarty (DeLand, Fla.) and sophomore Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) propelled the University of Florida to maintain its first place standing at the U.S. Open Friday night at the King County Aquatic Center. Florida leads with 315 points followed by Washington in second with 141 points and Auburn in third with 61 points.

After day two, McLarty is tied for first in the race for the Female High Points Award and Lochte is leading by five points for the Male High Points Award.

McLarty won the 400-meter individual medley with a career-best time of 4:45.38. McLarty's time is an NCAA automatic qualifying mark and qualifies her for the 2004 Olympic Trials.

"I was just thinking, 'Someone on this team needs a gold medal. Please swim a little faster, Sara - just get home,'" McLarty said. "It was an amazing race. I just swam the 200 free in consolations, and my freestyle was feeling really good, so I was relying on that last 100 (of the IM) a lot, and it worked."

Four Gators qualified for Spring Nationals in the 400-meter individual medley. Sophomore Vipa Bernhardt (Bad Hersfeld, Germany) finished second in the C finals with a time off 4:57.81. Junior Katie McCann (Walpole, Mass.) finished fifth (4:58.95), freshman Ashley Carusone (Gainesville, Fla.) finished sixth (4:59.19) and Leah Retrum (Columbus, Ind.) finished eighth (5:01.54).

McLarty finished second in the B finals in the 200-meter freestyle with another Olympic Trials mark of 2:03.03, which is also a NCAA provisional qualifying time.

The relay team of junior Maureen Farrell (Northridge, Calif.), Bernhardt, junior Rebecca Harper (Richmond, Va.) and sophomore Mary Uhle (Sank Ingbert, Germany) finished fourth in the 400-meter medley relay with a time of 4:19.32.

Former Gator Renate duPlessis finished fifth in the 100-meter backstroke with an Olympic Trials qualifying time of 1:04.20. Farrell finished fourth in the B finals with a time of 1:04.99 to qualify for Summer Nationals.

duPlessis also finished fourth in the 100-meter butterfly with another Olympic Trials qualifying time of 1:00.37.

Lochte finished third in the prelims of the 200-meter freestyle (1:51.55) before going on to finish third in the event with a time of 1:50.75. Both swims were Olympic trials qualifying times as well as NCAA provisional marks.

After registering the eight-best mark in the prelims of the 400-meter individual medley (4:30.81), Lochte shaved more than three seconds of that time to finish fifth in the finals with an Olympic trials and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:27.16.

The men's 400-meter medley relay team of senior Chris Kellam (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.), freshman Bill Mrazek (Tallahassee, Fla.), junior Gabriel Mangabeira (Piratininga, Brazil) and senior Carlos Jayme (Goias, Brazil) swam to a fifth-place finish with a time of 3:52.20.

After recording the 19th-best time in the prelims in the 100-meter backstroke (58.83), Kellam finished first in the C final with a mark of 58.61. Mangabeira also won the 100-meter fly C final with a time of 55.14 after touching the wall in 56.38 in the prelims.

The Gators will finish Day three of competition Saturday. Preliminary competition begins at Noon (ET) and finals will take place at 9 p.m. (ET). Results will be available at www.usaswimming.org and GatorZone.com.

-UF-

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