KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee women's swimming and diving team gave a strong effort but fell short in its bid to upset the sixth-ranked University of Florida as the Lady Gators took a 128-112 decision
on Saturday at the UT Student Aquatic Center. The meet was Tennessee's final regular-season contest of the 2001-02 season and the Lady Vols finish the
year with a dual meet record of 3-4 with a 3-3 mark in the Southeastern Conference.
"The Lady Gators did a great job in this meet as we expected they would," head coach Dan Colella said. "The score may not reflect it, but we
had some great swims today, including a number of season-best times and that was what we were really looking for heading into the conference meet. The
athletes are really positive right now and are looking forward to going down to Arkansas for SECs and having some great results."
The Lady Vols got out a rough start on their "Senior Day" as Florida won all five events before the first diving break. Senior Valerie Conte had Tennessee's strongest finish in the early going, as she took second in the 200y individual medley with a time of 2:06.53. Junior Lindsey Brock also recorded a top-three finish as she took third in the 1000y freestyle with a season-best clocking of 10:18.96.
The Lady Vols picked up their first event win in the sixth event of the day as junior diver Jaime Sanger continued her outstanding season with a victory on the one-meter springboard with a score of 298.57. Freshman Lauryn McCalley was second with a total of 280.95.
Sanger's one-meter victory triggered a strong push for the Big Orange as the Lady Vols picked up two second-place finishes and one event win over the next four races. Senior Monica Shannahan got the hot streak started as she took second in the 200y butterfly with a time of 2:01.10. Senior Bianca Jones finished third in the 100y freestyle in a season-best time of 53.34
seconds to set the stage for Tennessee's first swimming event win of the day. Conte won the 200y backstroke in a time of 2:02.83 for her second straight dual meet win in that event. Brock then finished second in the 500y freestyle in 5:05.04 while sophomore Raellen Arnold was third in 5:05.44 and
senior Cortney Piper was fourth in 5:08.04.
When the divers took center stage for the second time, the results were much the same as McCalley took the three-meter springboard title with a collegiate-best score of 304.35 while Sanger finished second this time around with a tally of 297.30.
With the Florida victory already decided, the Lady Gators opted to enter only exhibition swimmers in the final two events. Shannahan came away with the victory in the 200y breaststroke in a time of 2:20.51 while the 200y freestyle relay team of Jones, junior Sara Wingfield, Conte and junior Courtney Naparlo won its event in a time of 1:37.97.
Tennessee's next action of the 2001-02 season will be the SEC Championships. The league meet is scheduled for Feb. 18-23 at the Arkansas Natatorium in Fayetteville, Ark. The diving competition will be conducted over the first three days of the event followed by the swimming action on the final three days.