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Men's Swimming & Diving Headline

Thursday October 28, 2004Swimming and Diving Earns Split with Georgia

Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida swimming and diving teams earned a split with Southeastern Conference rival Georgia. The fourth-ranked Gator men topped the 13th-ranked Bulldogs by a score of 142-96, while the No. 2 Bulldog women bested the No. 3 Gator women by a mark of 159-84 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center Natatorium on Thursday afternoon.

Capturing nine event titles, the Florida men were led by junior Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and freshman Tobias Work (Falmouth, Mass.). Lochte captured the 200-yard backstroke in an NCAA "A" time of 1:43.73 in his first meet of the season and also took top honors in the 200-yard individual medley in an NCAA "B" time of 1:47.92. Work added two individual titles of his own as he recorded first place finishes in the 500 and1,000-yard freestyle events in times of 4:29.45 and 9:09.06 respectively.

"It's good to have back-to-back challenging meets this early in the season," Head Coach Gregg Troy said. "It's great practice for the end of the year when we will have to swim well over a span of a couple of days."

Adding to the Gator success was junior Nick Borreca (Honolulu, Hawaii), who recorded a first-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 20.96 seconds and added another individual second-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a 46.11 seconds clocking.

Junior Brian Hartley (Indianapolis, Ind.) had a busy day in the pool as he notched a first-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:39.40, while earning a time of 1:49.75, to place third in the 200-yard backstroke.

Seniors Corey Welch (Larksville, Pa.) and Kris Wiebeck (Tampa, Fla.) took top honors in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:05.71) and the 100-yard freestyle (46.08 seconds) to give the Gators a total of eight individual event titles.

The 400-yard medley relay team of Lochte, Welch, Borreca and Adam Sioui (Ontario, Canada) recorded a time of 3:18.47, to claim the relay victory for the Gators.

In men's diving action, sophomore Vitor Assuncao (Orlando, Fla.) recorded two second-place performances, as he was the runner-up in both the one-meter springboard (304.05) and three-meter springboard events (325.80). Teammate Justin Schmidt (Falcon, Colo.) chipped in two third-place finishes in the springboard events, notching scores of 285.90 and 312.38.

"We will have a very tough meet tomorrow," Troy said. "Minnesota is rested and sharp. They will be ready for us and we'll have to have strong performances all around."

Though the women's team didn't clench the Florida/Georgia title that the women were after, their efforts in the water and on the boards still warranted third-place rankings in the CSCAA, and it showed on the clock.

"We didn't win, but we were up against one of the best teams in the nation," Troy said. "Georgia is by far the best team and they had an Olympian in every event we were in. Overall, we raced really well today. There are still certain areas where we need to improve, but we will do that, with time."

To show an idea of just how tough the competition at the O'Connell Center was for the women's squad Thursday evening, 38 NCAA qualifying and provisional qualifying times were garnered in only 11 events. Eleven of those qualifying times were placed by Florida swimmers, guaranteeing the women a trip to and a chance at the NCAA titles.

In the freestyle events, senior Maureen Farrell (Northridge, Calif.) marked provisional qualifying times in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle. Her time of 23.42 in the 50 and 50.70 in the 100 warranted the freestyler fourth place in both events. Coming in fifth was freshman Natalie Pike (Boca Raton) with a 100-free time of 51.64. Pike also took sixth in the 50 free (24.01).

In the women's 200 free, Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) and Mary Uhle (Sankt Ingbert, Germany) notched provisional qualifying times with efforts of 1:48.34 for fourth and 1:50.02 for sixth, respectively. Uhle also took fourth in the 500-yard freestyle, garnering another provisional qualifying time and fourth with her 4:53.74 final time.

Winning the 1,000-yard free title was sophomore Ashley Carusone (High Springs). The letterwinner took first after beating Georgia's Laura Conway by .58 of a second, clocking the race in 9:49.53. Meredith Green (Chapel Hill, N.C.) also raced the 1,000, finishing it in fourth with a 9:52.33 effort for UF in her last meet against the SEC rival. Just behind Green, sophomore Katie Ball (Cincinnati, Ohio) touched the pad in 9:57.06, securing a fifth-place finish.

Claiming her second straight 200-back title in two meets, sophomore Leah Retrum (Columbus, IN) won her ticket to the national championships by taking the 200 back in 1:56.87. She finished just ahead of sophomore Jamie Reid (Orlando), who took runner-up with a 1:59.39 clocking. Reid also garnered a NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 200 back.

Finishing silver for the Gators, Germany Olympian Vipa Bernhardt (Bad Hersfeld, Germany) swam the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:13.36, warranting a provisional qualifying time as well. In the 200 fly, the bronze was taken by senior Rebecca Harper (Richmond, Va.) after swimming 1:59.84 in the fly. Just on her heels, Carusone clocked 2:01.75 for fourth place in the 200 fly.

In the women's 200 IM, Retrum finished first for the Gators, clocking the event in 2:01.56 for third place and a NCAA provisional time. Senior Katie McCann (Walpole, Mass.) was just behind Retrum's time by 1.87 seconds as the All-American finished second for UF and fourth on the all-around.

Again, tucking away two titles on the diving boards, senior Nicole Bolt (Orlando) ran away with the competition as the three-year letterwinner took the one-meter title with a score of 290.62 and the three-meter title with a final tally of 270.00. Florida also took home runner-up in both diving events. Junior Jessica Ranieri (Huntington Valley, Pa.) finished second in the one-meter, her score 264.07. Junior Maureen McGinty (Orlando) took second on the three-meter board, her dives garnering her a final score of 262.58.

In the 400-yard freestyle relay, a team consisting of Mandy Huff (Gold Hill, N.C.), Reid, Kim Larson (Longwood) and Christine Woodruff (Orlando) took fourth in the relay event with a final team tally of 3:33.10. McCann, Retrum, Carusone and Kristin Gilliam (Gainesville) finished fifth behind their relay teammates with a 3:33.28 team effort. With the top time for UF in the 400-yard relay, Farrell, Uhle, Burckle and Pike swam a combined clocking of 3:25.88. Reid, Huff, Harper and Pike made up the women's 400-yard medley relay team. The quad garnered a time of 3:46.34 to finish in third place against Georgia.

The Gator men return to action Friday, October 29, at 4 p.m., as they host the sixth-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center Natatorium. The women's team returns to action on Nov. 5-6, as they travel with the men's team to the Purdue Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind.


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