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Junior Vipa Bernhardt clocked a season-best in the 200 breaststroke (2:10.44).

Saturday March 19, 2005W. Swimming Finishes Fourth in NCAA Championships

West Lafayette, IN

Junior Vipa Bernhardt clocked a season-best in the 200 breaststroke (2:10.44).

For the third year in a row, the No. 3 Florida women’s swimming and diving team finished in the top five at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships after notching 355 points for a fourth-place finish in the national meet, held in West Lafayette, Ind., at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. The fourth-place win marks the 22nd time the Gators have finished in the top five.

Taking the 2005 top-team honors was Southeastern Conference rival, No. 1 Georgia, earning 609.5 points to capture its first title since 2001, taking the title from No. 2 Auburn which has taken home the title for the past three years. Auburn finished with 492 points, followed by Arizona who garnered 440 points during the three-day championships.

"We are really please, we had a great season. Third or fourth was about as good as we could have been in the meet," said head coach Gregg Troy. "There were a few spots where we could have been a little bit better, but if we combine the conference meet with this one, you can see all the energy that went into it."

This year’s appearance in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships represents UF’s 32nd appearance since the program’s beginning in 1973. Florida owns two national titles, one NCAA title garnered in 1982 and one AIAW, earned in 1979. Last year’s finish (fourth) marked the highest finish under seventh-season head coach, Troy.

"I was proud of how well the girls raced all weekend," Troy said. "It was a real team effort."

During the course of the meet, Florida broke two school records (400-Medley relay and 100-yard butterfly) and 11 Gator swimmers earned 23 all-American honors.

Beginning the final session of the championships, senior Meredith Green (Chapel Hill, N.C.) touched the wall in 16:11.38 to finish the 1650-yard freestyle eighth in the field and second in her heat. Green came from behind in the last 150 yards as she overcame Georgia’s Stephanie Carr to win second in her heat. Green’s time garnered her a season-best, defeating her old time by 5.12 seconds.

Also in the event, freshman Joanna Maranhao (Recife-PE, Brazil) swam a personal-best after clocking 16:27.14 in the 1650 free, good for second place in her race and 21st in the field. Maranhao beat her old time of 16:41.53, recorded during the dual with Indian River, by 13.39 seconds. Sophomore Katie Ball (Cincinnati, Ohio) was also in the running for the 1650-top time. Ball finished seventh in her heat (23rd overall) after a 16:28.79 effort for Florida. The winner of the 1650, with a pool-record setting time of 15:46.84 was SMU’s Flavia Rigamonti, who now holds three of the eight-fastest times ever swam in that event.

Earning all-America honors in the 200 backstroke were Gators Leah Retrum (Columbus, Ind.) and Maureen Farrell (Northridge, Calif.). Retrum clocked a 1:55.17 for fourth place in the event, while Farrell clocked a 1:55.17 for a fifth-place finish in the championship finals. Auburn’s Kirsty Coventry swam the second-fastest time ever recorded in the 100 back, clocking in at 1:50.54 for the title.

Representing the Gators in the 200 breaststroke was junior Vipa Bernhardt (Bad Hersfelt, Germany) who clocked a season-best time of 2:10.44 to take home fourth place in the event. Bernhardt still holds the fastest time ever swam by a Gator athlete when she clocked 2:09.13 in the event in 2003.

Swimming in the consolation final of the 200 fly was senior Rebecca Harper (Richmond, Va.). Harper clocked a 1:58.63 to finish 13th, earning the senior an honorable-mention all-American title and a season-best in the event. Qualifying for the championship final after clocking a 1:57.94 in the morning’s prelims was sophomore Candace Weiman (Castro Valley, Calif.). Weiman clocked a career-best in the 200 fly, swimming the race in 1:57.19 for eighth place in the finals and the fifth-fastest time ever record by a UF women’s swimmer.

Winning the event for the first time in her career was Georgia’s Mary DeScenza, finishing three whole seconds in front of Weiman. DeScenza clocked a 1:54.19 to set a Doris Z. Holloway pool record at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center.

In the final event of the 2005 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships was Florida’s 400-freestyle relay team, consisting of Farrell, Burckle, Weiman and Uhle. The squad clocked a 3:18.18, bettering their prelim performance (3:19.44), for a fifth-place seat in the championship final.

All 17 Gators who qualified for this year’s NCAAs combined for the highest-point finish under Troy. All 17 Gators swam some of their fastest times recorded yet this season. All 17 Gators came together to finish fourth place, a well deserved, hard-earned win.

"This is probably the best all-around meet we have ever had," Troy said. "We had some outstanding swims today. We are moving forward, we just need to keep on getting better."

Senior Maureen Farrell shared her thoughts from her last NCAA tournament.

"The feeling is very, very bittersweet. Its just so emotional," said the senior. "It has been an emotional roller coaster for me the entire time just knowing it was going to be my last meet, but having to focus on the competition part. But this is the greatest group of girls that I have ever met in my life. We had the greatest year I could have imagined and everyone had a part in that, especially these 17 girls. They made this more amazing than I could have ever imagined."

Results from the meet are available at NCAASports.com and can be found by visiting the GatorZone website.

Day Three Results – Winner and Florida

1650-Yard Freestyle Time

1. Flavia Rigamonti, SMU 15:46.84

- A new pool record

8. Meredith Green, Florida 16:11.38

21. Joanna Maranhao, Florida 16:27.14

23. Katie Ball, Florida 16:28.79

200-Yard Backstroke Time

1. Kirsty Coventry, Auburn 1:50.54

- A new pool record

4. Leah Retrum, Florida 1:55.17

5. Maureen Farrell, Florida 1:55:41

100-Yard Freestyle Time

1. Kara Lynn Joyce, Georgia 47.50

- A new pool record

200-Yard Breaststroke Time

1. Caroline Bruce, Stanford 2:08.66

- A new pool record

4. Vipa Bernhardt, Florida 2:10.44

200-Yard Butterfly Time

1. Mary DeScenza, Georgia 1:54.19

- A new pool record

8. Candace Weiman, Florida 1:57.19

13. Rebecca Harper, Florida 1:58.63

400-Yard Freestyle Relay Time

1. Georgia (Joyce, Kearns, DeScenza, Weir) 3:13.56

- A new NCAA meet record and pool record

5. Florida (Farrell, Burckle, Weiman, Uhle) 3:18.18

2005 NCAA Championship Leader Board

Team Points

  1. Georgia 609.5
  2. Auburn 492
  3. Arizona 440
  4. Florida 355
  5. Stanford 313
  6. Texas 218
  7. SMU 170
  8. California 149
  9. Indiana 112
  10. Southern Cal 108

Florida 2005 All-Americans (11 women, 23 honors)

Name # of Honors (Events)

Vipa Bernhardt 3 (400 MR, 200 MR, 200 Breast)

Caroline Burckle 3 (400 MR, 500 Free, 200 FR)

Maureen Farrell 4 (200 FR, 400 MR, 200 MR, 200 Back)

Meredith Green 1 (1650 Free)

Rebecca Harper 1 (200 Fly*)

Katie McCann 1 (200 IM*)

Natalie Pike 1 (200 Free)

Leah Retrum 2 (200 IM, 200 Back)

Mary Uhle 1 (200 Free)

Samantha Vanderbilt 1 (200 MR)

Candace Weiman 5 (400 MR, 200 FR, 200 IM*, 200 MR,

200 Fly)

UF Records Broken

400-Medley Relay

3:34.87 – Maureen Farrell, Vipa Bernhardt, Candace Weiman, Caroline Burckle

- Old Record: 3:35.22 set at SECs by the same squad

100-Yard Butterfly

52.75 – Candace Weiman

- Old Record: 52.95 set in 1988 by Dara Torres

-UF-

 

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