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Friday February 17, 2006Records Fall, Titles Accrue as Gators Stay Strong in Day Three of SEC S/D Championships

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.

The Florida swimming and diving team continued to gain momentum and improve on both sides, as the No. 4 men held their second-place team standing, and the No. 5 women moved up another spot to sit in third-place following day three at the Southeastern Conference Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. The women added one SEC event title, one Florida record and five NCAA automatic qualifying times to their list of SEC meet accomplishments, while the men tallied one SEC title, one Florida record, one SEC record and three A qualifiers of their own. Head coach Gregg Troy was pleased with the improvement he saw from his team during day three.

 

“We did really well today,” said Troy. “We’ve gotten better every session. We had that first bad session, then we got better last night, we were better this morning and we did really good again tonight. We’ve got people stepping up to compete at the level we’d like them to, and we’re getting our swimmers qualified for the NCAA meet.”

 

Senior Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach) continued to etch his name in the Florida record books with his performance in the championship final of the men’s 100 butterfly. Not only did Lochte’s 46.02 clocking in the event stand as an SEC record, it broke former Gator swimmer and current Florida assistant coach Anthony Nesty’s 16-year old 100 fly record. According to Nesty the old truism about records is right on in this case.

 

“It may sound cliché, but records were meant to be broken,” said Nesty. “But to have a guy like Ryan be the one to break my record is an honor.”

 

Senior Vipa Bernhardt (Bad Hersfeld, Germany) was the first Gator on the women’s side to set foot on the top tier of the medal stand, as she captured the SEC title in the 100 breaststroke with an automatic and season best time of 1:00.85. In the B final of the same event senior Mandy Huff (Gold Hill, N.C.) notched a career-best and provisional time of 1:03.34 to claim second in her heat, while sophomore Amanda Hartley (Tallahassee) recorded a provisional time of 1:03.64 to take fourth in the same event.

 

The Gators qualified the most competitors of any school for finals in the men’s 400 individual medley with six, including three in the championship final. Freshman Bradley Ally (Ft. Lauderdale) punched his ticket to the NCAA meet with an automatic and season best time of 3:45.63. Ally made it to the medal stand with the championship final performance, to earn a silver for the Gators. Senior Brian Hartley (Indianapolis, Ind.) earned a fourth place finish in the 400 IM championship final with his provisional time of 3:51.24, after he had posted a season best 3:51.02 in the prelim of the event.  Sophomore Kevin Nead (Ithaca, N.Y.) rounded out the trio of Gator A final qualifiers with a sixth-place finish in a time of 3:56.22. In the prelim Nead recorded a provisional time of 3:51.73.

 

In the 400 IM B final sophomore Tobias Work (Falmouth, Mass.) notched a provisional and season best time of 3:51.70 to win his heat, while sophomore Dustin McLarty (DeLand) posted a 3:56.36 in the B final, following his season best 3:54.48 performance in the prelim. In the C final of the 400 IM freshman Ron Ballatore (Gainesville) preceded his finals mark of 4:01.83 with a season best time of 4:00.71 in the prelim.

 

Two Florida women went to the championship final in the 100 butterfly for the Gators, as junior Candace Weiman (Castro Valley, Calif.) claimed the silver medal with an automatic time of 53.05. In the prelim of the 100 fly Weiman broke the Florida record for the event, which she set in 2005, with her career-best effort of 52.70. Freshman Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas) posted a provisional time of 53.97 in the 100 fly championship final, after she notched her second automatic time of the meet in the prelims with a 53.53.

 

“Ryan Lochte and Vipa Bernhardt were really good tonight,” said Troy. “And Bradley Ally’s swim in the IM was amazing. He didn’t win but he had a great swim. We’re starting to see some life from Caroline Burckle and some others, and we’re going in the right direction. Candace’s swim in the 100 fly also sticks out, that was a new school record, and something she’s been chasing for a little while so that’s big for her. I don’t think she’s anywhere near as fast as she’s going to be at the end of the season.”

 

In the championship final of the men’s 200 freestyle sophomore Grant Johnson (Clearwater) claimed fifth place with a provisional time of 1:36.37, while sophomore Darian Townsend (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa) finished close behind in sixth place with a provisional and season best time of 1:36.58. On the women’s side of the 200 freestyle, sophomore Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) put up a season high mark of 1:47.69 to earn an NCAA B time and top placing in the B final.

 

In the championship final of the women’s 400 individual medley junior Ashley Carusone (Gainesville) qualified for the NCAA meet with an automatic and season best time of 4:15.18 to take fourth. In the B final of the same event, freshman Kelsy Smith (Cary, N.C.) recorded a 4:28.49 to finish sixth in her heat, following a season-best 4:23.35 performance in the prelims.

 

In men’s platform diving action, the Gators were one of only two schools to have more than one representative qualify for the evening final. Junior Justin Schmidt (Falcon, Colo.) continued to have a break-out meet as he finished in fourth place in the finals with a score of 318.05. Freshman Jonathan Wilcox (Bellevue, Wash.) claimed seventh in the platform event with a final score of 238.35. According to diving coach Donnie Craine having both Florida competitors qualify for the finals was quite a feat.

 

“I can’t remember the last time we had two divers in the platform finals at the SEC Championship meet,” said Craine. “Justin Schmidt stood up today and did a great job, getting fourth place. Jonathan Wilcox dove off the five-meter in the prelims, and than went up and did all of his dives off the 10-meter for the finals. It’s the first time in a month that he’s been up there, he went up and did all of those dives cold. Jonathan showed us all he’s got a little bit more nerve than we thought. I’m proud of both of them.”

 

In the men’s 100 backstroke, freshman Lucas Salatta (Sao Paulo, Brazil) notched a provisional time of 48.05, just missing the medal stand to earn fourth-place. On the women’s side of the same event sophomore Samantha Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.) clocked in with a 55.16, a provisional time and season best, to finish second in the B-final. Freshman Jennie Lindh (Kalmar, Sweden) notched a 56.85 to claim fifth in the same heat, following her season best 56.41 performance in the prelim of the 100 backstroke.

 

In the 400 medley relay, the last event of the evening finals, the Gator men went out with a second-place finish as the team of Lochte, sophomore Luca DeMatteis (Naples, Italy), Salatta and sophomore Daniel Penniman (Pensacola) combined to clock an automatic time of 3:10.77 and take second-place. On the women’s side the quartet of Vanderbilt, Bernhardt, Weiman and Burckle captured the bronze for the Gators with a provisional time of 3:39.43.

 

“We need to have another good day tomorrow,” said Troy. “The last day is traditionally our best day. We generally swim better in the 200 events than we do in the 100’s. We’ve got a couple of key swims we need to do well in. We closed the scoring gap a little bit today, and we’ll need to do even better tomorrow.”

 

The Gators return to SEC action Saturday for the fourth and final day of the Championships with preliminary events in the morning at 10 a.m. and finals in the evening beginning at 6 p.m. at the Student Aquatic Center. 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 the finals at www.gatorzone.com.

 

Day Three Finals Event Winners

W 400y IM

Julie Stupp, Auburn

4:09.30

M 400y IM

Sebastien Rouault, Georgia

3:44.18

W 100y Butterfly

Mary DeScenza, Georgia

51.75

M 100y Butterfly

Ryan Lochte, Florida

46.02

W 200y Freestyle

Kara Lynn Joyce, Georgia

1:43.54

M 200y Freestyle

Steven Manley, Kentucky

1:35.06

W 100y Breaststroke

Vipa Bernhardt, Florida

1:00.85

M 100y Breaststroke

Vlad Polyakov, Alabama

53.55

W 100y Backstroke

Rachel Goh, Auburn

53.25

M 100y Backstroke

Doug Van Wie, Auburn

47.15

M Platform Diving

Chris Colwill, Georgia

432.75

W 400 Medley Relay

Auburn

3:36.33

M 400 Medley Relay

Auburn

3:09.03

 

Day Three Prelim Event Winners

W 400y IM

Julie Stupp, Auburn

4:12.95

M 400y IM

Eric Shanteau, Auburn

3:47.80

W 100y Butterfly

Mary DeScenza, Georgia

52.64

M 100y Butterfly

Ryan Lochte, Florida

46.37

W 200y Freestyle

Emily Kukors, Auburn

1:45.42

M 200y Freestyle

Grant Johnson, Florida

1:36.20

W 100y Breaststroke

Sarah Poewe, Georgia

1:01.75

M 100y Breaststroke

James Wike, Auburn

54.37

W 100y Backstroke

Rachel Goh, Auburn

53.46

M 100y Backstroke

Brad Boswell, Tennessee

47.78

 

Men’s Standings Following Day Three Finals

Place

Team

Score

1

Auburn

748

2

Florida

659

3

Georgia

561

4

Tennessee

545

5

Alabama

313

5

LSU

313

7

Kentucky

296

8

South Carolina

214

 

Women’s Standings Following Day Three Finals

Place

Team

Score

1

Georgia

729

2

Auburn

693

3

Florida

466

4

Kentucky

412

5

Tennessee

379

6

South Carolina

301

7

Alabama

220

8

LSU

201

9

Arkansas

101

 

SEC Championships Schedule:

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006

Preliminary Competition

10 a.m.             200y Backstroke

                        100y Freestyle

                        200y Breaststroke

                        200y Butterfly

                        400y Freestyle Relay – Time Trial

                        1650y Freestyle – Timed Finals, Fastest seeded heat at night

1 p.m.               Women’s Platform Diving prelims

Finals Competition

6 p.m.               1650y Freestyle Final (fastest seeded heat)

                        200y Backstroke Final

                        100y Freestyle Final

                        200y Breaststroke Final

                        200y Butterfly Final

                        Women’s Platform Diving Final

                        400y Freestyle Relay – Timed Finals

 

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

 

-UF-

 

 

 

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