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Freshman Caroline Burckle finished second in the women's 500 freestlye.

Thursday March 17, 2005Burckle Takes Second in 500 Free, W. Swim Finishes Fifth After Day One

West Lafayette, IN

Freshman Caroline Burckle finished second in the women's 500 freestlye.

The No. 3 University of Florida Gator swimming team finished the first day of the 2005 NCAA Championships in 5th place with 96 points. The Gators trail first place Georgia (211), second place Auburn (137), third place Arizona (120) and fourth place Stanford (108), as the championships concluded day one at the Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind.

"We swam well, but I feel there are a couple of spots where we could have been better," head coach Gregg Troy said. "Caroline Burckleís 500 freestyle was a good race, and our medley relay was a close one. We feel pretty good about where we are in the standings. We let a few points slip away. We have to be a little bit better."

Starting the finals for day one was Floridaís 200-free relay team, consisting of Maureen Farrell (Northridge, Calif.), Mary Uhle (Sankt Ingbert, Germany), Natalie Pike (Boca Raton) and Candace Weiman (Castro Valley, Calif.). The Gators clocked a 1:31.95 to finish eighth in the finals. The eventís winner, Georgia, notched a new NCAA, American, U.S. Open and pool record with a 1:28.10 performance.

Coming off a second-place finish in this morningís preliminary round with a time of 4:40.50 was freshman Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.), representing Florida in the womenís 500-yard freestyle. Burckle touched the wall in 4:38.89 to finish the event as the second-fastest 500-free swimmer at the national meet. Burckle currently holds the Southeastern Conference record in the event, notching the league title with a 4:38.32 clocking.

"Overall it was a pretty good swim. I felt like I gave it my all, but in my mind, I still wanted to swim faster," said Burckle. "It was a good race, and I was happy with how I did. Emily Mason had a wonderful race. She is a great person and a good competitor. She held on the whole way and I am very happy for her."

In the next event, qualifying for the consolation final in the 200 individual medley after this morningís preliminary round was sophomore Weiman and senior Katie McCann (Walpole, Mass.). Weiman clocked a 2:00.23, bettering her prelim time by .13 of a second for a 12th-place finish. McCann swam a 2:00.61 in the IM to finish the event in 13th. In the finals for the Gators, sophomore Leah Retrum (Columbus, Ind.) took a 5th-place seat as she clocked a 1:58.84 in the event. Retrumís time is the fastest time swam this season by a Gator in the 200 IM, defeating her time garnered this morning (1:59.07). Taking home the title was Auburnís Kirsty Coventry, swimming the second-fastest time ever recorded in the event after clocking a 1:54.37.

"That was my best swim in NCAAs. Last year I didnít score all that well," Retrum said. "Coming off of SECs, I decided to really concentrate on NCAAs this year, and I came into this meet with that mentality. Out of my three events, the IM isnít my strongest. I have two more events to go and that swim just reassured me."

Closing the book on the first day of complete competition was the womenís 400-yard medley relay team, consisting of Farrell, Vipa Bernhardt (Bad Hersfelt, Germany), Weiman and Burckle. The squad combined for a final clocking of 3:34.73, the second-best time swam in the 400 MR at the meet. Again, the team swam the fastest 400 IM time ever recorded by a Gator team, defeating their performance in the morningís prelims (3:34.87) where they captured the all-time UF top time.

Florida will continue competition tomorrow as the womenís 200-medley relay team gears up to open the second day at the NCAA Championships. Results from the meet can be found at Prelims will begin day two at 11 a.m. ET, while finals will be held that evening, beginning at 7 p.m.

Day One Final Results Ė Winner and UF

200 Free Relay Time

1. Georgia (Joyce, Kearns, Georoff, Weir) 1:28.10

- A NCAA, American, U.S. Open, pool record

8. Florida (Farrell, Uhle, Pike, Weiman) 1:31.95

500 Free Time

1. Emily Mason, Arizona 4:37.11

- Pool record

2. Caroline Burckle, Florida 4:38.89

200 Individual Medley Time

1. Kirsty Coventry, Auburn 1:54.37

- Pool record

5. Leah Retrum, Florida 1:58.84

12. Candace Weiman, Florida 2:00.23

13. Katie McCann, Florida 2:00.61

400 Medley Relay

1. Georgia (Arsenault, Poewe, DeScenza, Weir) 3:34.73

2. Florida (Farrell, Bernhardt, Weiman, Burckle) 3:34.87



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