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Women's Swimming & Diving Headline

Wednesday February 15, 2006S/D Opens Up SEC Championships, Men?s Relay Team Captures First Title for Gators

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -

With three NCAA automatic times, two broken pool records and one Southeastern Conference Championship event title the University of Florida swimming and diving team made a statement in day one of the league meet Wednesday in Knoxville, Tenn. The men’s 800 freestyle relay team took the first title of the weekend for the Gators, winning the race in record-breaking fashion.

 

For the fifth time in as many years the Florida men’s 800 freestyle relay team earned the SEC title for the event. The 2006 edition, comprised of senior Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach), sophomore Darian Townsend (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa), senior Brian Hartley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and freshman Lucas Salatta (Sao Paulo, Brazil) posted an NCAA automatic time of 6:21.91 get win number one for the team. With the mark, the Florida squad also posted a new UT Student Aquatic Center pool record, which had been set by a previous generation of Gator greats in 1983. According Hartley, there was some pressure on the quartet to put up a good performance, given the Gator’s recent history in the 800 free relay.

 

“We haven’t lost that relay in the last several years at SEC’s,” said Hartley. So there was a lot of pressure riding on today, but I think we lived up to it. We put our biggest focus on getting the A cut in the event and we did that. Of course, it always feels good to win, though.”

 

The Gator women’s 200 medley relay team of Samantha Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.), Vipa Bernhardt (Bad Hersfeld, Germany), Candace Weiman (Castro Valley, Calif.) and Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas) notched an NCAA automatic time in the final of their event, and beat the UT Student Aquatic Center pool record, set by Kentucky in February of 2006. The Gator women clocked in with a season-best time of 1:39.72 in the event to finish in fifth place.

 

The men’s team of Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach), Nick Borreca (Honolulu, Hawaii), Lucas Salatta (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Daniel Penniman (Pensacola) finished in third place in the 200 medley relay, with a provisional time of 1:26.60, just eight-hundredths of a second off the NCAA automatic time, and a season-best for the Florida men.

 

In the three-meter diving final freshman Jonathan Wilcox (Bellevue, Wash.) claimed sixth-place with a six-dive score of 300.65, to better his 288.75 mark from the preliminary competition. Diving coach Donnie Craine was pleased with the performance of his freshman in his first SEC Championship meet.

 

“Jonathan did a pretty good job of stepping up today,” said Craine. “He’s been injured and we’ve been fighting that for a while, but he did what he needed to do by getting into the finals and than even moving up a couple spots. As a freshman, he did a great job.”

 

The women’s 800 freestyle relay team of Vollmer, Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.), Natalie Pike (Boca Raton) and Weiman eclipsed its previous season-best of 7:23.19 to notch a 7:11.82, good for fourth-place and an NCAA provisional time. Head coach Gregg Troy liked what he saw in the first day of SEC competition, and is confident the Gators will continue to get stronger as the meet progresses.

 

“We had good swims today,” said Troy. “We’ve got a little different dynamic going this year than we’ve had before at this meet because we took a different level of preparation than we have in the past. We’re ready to go, but we’ve got a little more in the tank than we have the last few years. We qualified everyone we needed to for the NCAA meet, so that aspect is good and while the women raced well today, the men raced even better.”

 

“We’re in good shape for the first day of the meet,” Troy continued. “Tomorrow we just need to get up, get into the meet and stay on top of it race-wise.”

 

In the relay time trials, which took place Wednesday morning, Grant Johnson (Clearwater) led off the Florida men’s 800 freestyle relay with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:35.89 for his 200 freestyle leg, to punch his ticket to the ‘big meet’ in March. The mark was Johnson’s best time of the season in the 200 freestyle, and first automatic qualifying time this year in any event.

 

In preliminary diving action, on the men’s side Justin Schmidt (Falcon, Colo.) barely missed the cut to compete in the three-meter finals when he scored a 287.80, good for a ninth-place finish. On the women’s side Alicia Miller (Hobie Sound) claimed 15th in the one-meter dive with a final score of 227.85, while Whitney Stern (Safety Harbor) took 22nd in the same event with a six-dive total of 207.70.

 

The Gators return to SEC action Thursday with day two of the Championships. Up-to-the minute results can be seen via live scoring  by visiting http://68.156.229.10/~other/swim/06sec/. A full recap, scoring summary and quotes from Gator finals swimmers will be available following the conclusion of each day at www.gatorzone.com.

 

Men’s Standings

Place

Team

Score

1

Georgia

138

2

Florida

124

3

Auburn

123

4

Tennessee

114

5

South Carolina

87

6

LSU

59

7

Alabama

58

8

Kentucky

42

 

Women’s Standings

Place

Team

Score

1

Kentucky

163

2

South Carolina

121

3

Tennessee

109

3

Georgia

109

5

Auburn

101

6

Alabama

88

7

Florida

82

8

LSU

64

9

Arkansas

50

 

Day One Event Winners

W 200y Medley Relay

Georgia

1:37.78

M 200y Medley Relay

Auburn

1:26.33

W 800y Freestyle Relay

Georgia

7:03.84

M 800y Freestyle Relay

Florida

6:21.91

W 1-Meter Diving

Allison Brennan

325.80

M 3-Meter Diving

Chris Colwill

419.80

 

 

SEC Championships Schedule for Thursday:

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006

Preliminary Competition

10 a.m.             500y Freestyle

                        200y IM

                        50y Freestyle

                        200y Freestyle Relay – Time Trial

1 p.m.               Men’s One-Meter Diving prelims

2:45 p.m.          Women’s Three-Meter Diving prelims

Finals Competition

5 p.m.               Men’s One-Meter Diving finals

6 p.m.               500y Freestyle Final

                        200y IM Final

                        50y Freestyle Final

                        Women’s Three-Meter Diving finals

                        200y Freestyle Relay – Timed Final

 

*Events are both men’s and women’s at scheduled time, unless otherwise noted.

 

-UF-

 

 

 

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