CORAL GABLES, FL, January 8, 2005. THE No. 3 University of Florida women's swimming and diving team took home the first annual Matt Gribble Invitational title on Friday night, by finishing the afternoon session with 17 Gators in the top five of the afternoon’s events, per Gator reports.
Runner-up was No. 14 Penn State, the only other ranked team in the Invite besides Florida. Matt Gribble Invitational host Miami finished in fourth place.
The UF women ran away with the morning session, defeating any competition by 270 points. Leading the way and beginning the afternoon session the Gator way, freshman Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) took home her first title of the meet after swimming 51.81 in the 100-yard free event. Behind her, Candace Weiman (Castro Valley, Calif.) finished in third place with a 52.95 effort. Natalie Pike (Boca Raton) clocked 53.30 in the 100 free, good for a fifth-place showing.
With the top-three times clocked in the women's 200 back were three Orange and Blue swimmers. In the lead, sophomore Jamie Reid (Orlando) took home the gold with her 2:01.14 time, while Leah Retrum (Columbus, Ind.) came in second with a time of 2:01.44. Just on their heels, senior Maureen Farrell (Northridge, Calif.) touched the wall in 2:01.59 for third place in the event.
Again, the Gators took the top-two spots in the Invitational. Junior Vipa Berhnardt (Bad Hersfelt, Germany) performed a 2:18.42 200-yard breaststroke, the top time in the meet. Behind her, senior Katie Kennedy (Ft. Myers) finished runner-up with a 2:22.41 effort for Florida. In the 500 free, senior Meredith Green (Chapel Hill, N.C.) swam 4:58.55, good for third place, while freshman Kim Larson (Longwood) made her top-five debut at the Invitational by clocking 4:59.63 in the free, a fourth-place timing. Occupying spot number five was junior Mary Uhle (Sankt Ingbert, Germany) with a 4:59.94 effort.
Weiman claimed her first title of her collegiate career as a Gator when she touched the wall in 56.70 for first place in the women's 100-yard butterfly. Just a second behind her, freshman teammate Colleen Healy (Cape Coral) clocked 57.60 to help herself to a fourth-place seat.
First through fourth place in the 400 IM saw nothing but Orange and Blue as the Gators sped past the competition with a solid performance in the race. Reid took home the top time, swimming 4:25.44 in the 400. Kennedy was two seconds behind Reid with a 4:27.31 effort. In third, Green swam 4:29.39, while teammate Ashley Carusone (High Springs) completed the quad with a 4:30.90 clocking.
The Florida relay teams also dominated the field across the boards. The Gators took home first and second place in the 800-free relay and the 400-medley relay races. UF also captured third in the 400 medley.
The Gators will return to action tomorrow as they face intrastate rival Miami in a dual meet on Miami's home turf of Coral Gables, Fla. Stay tuned to Gatorzone.com for results of the match up. The meet is slated for a 1 p.m. start.