GAINESVILLE, Florida, October 7. THE Gators' swimming and diving team opened the 2011-12 season Friday evening with the first day of competition at the All-Florida Invitational, finishing atop both the men's and women's standings after 12 events. Eight teams in Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida-International, Florida Southern, Florida State, Miami, North Florida and Nova Southeastern have traveled to Gainesville to partake in the three-day meet.
The women rallied to post 317 points with five first-place finishes, while the men collected three victories to finish with 320 points on the night. The Gator squads combined to sweep both 200 IM events, and claim first in both 500 free and 400 medley relay races.
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) and senior Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) each led the women with three victories on the night. Beisel posted two NCAA "B" cut times on her way to win the 500 free (4:42.00) and 200 IM (1:58.05), She also swam the opening leg of the first-place 400-yard medley relay that featured Bateman, Hilda Luthersdottiir(Hafnarjordur, Iceland) and Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.).
Bateman, a senior sprinting specialist also appeared on the first-place, 200 freestyle relay team alongside Alana Pazevic (Mill Creek, Wash.), Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia) and Kaitlin Frehling (St. Petersburg, Fla.), and secured an NCAA "B" cut 22.90 in the 50 free.
Crippen and Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.) also posted NCAA "B" cut times in the 200 IM (2:02.72) and 500 free (4:47.20), respectively.
A trio of freshmen in Matt Elliott (Peoria, Ill), Carlos Omana (Miami, Fla.) and Eduardo Solaeche (Madrid, Spain) made their collegiate debuts with impressive performances, each recording NCAA "B" cut marks in their respective events. Omana claimed his first victory in the college swimming world after he finished the 500 free in 4:24.43 while Elliott (1:48.75) and Solaeche (1:49.08) each took to the pool in the 200 IM finishing second and third, respectively.
Other Gator swimmers picking up NCAA "B" cuts were sophomore Marcin Cieslak, (Warsaw, Poland) who claimed the 200 IM title in 1:48.49 and junior Jason Taylor (Plant City, Fla.) who finished second in the 500 free, touching the wall in 4:24.52.
The All-Florida Invitational will continue tomorrow, on Saturday, October 8, 2011 with prelims beginning at 9 a.m. and finals slated for 7 p.m. Gator fans are encouraged to follow the swimming and diving program via Twitter or Facebook. A complete recap of the weekend's events will be available on www.Gatorzone.com following the conclusion of the meet on Sunday evening.
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