Knoxville, TN – The 11th-ranked University of Florida women’s swimming and diving team won the last five events of the meet to overcome the No. 19 University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers Saturday afternoon (Feb. 5) at the Student Aquatic Center, 126-116. The 12th-ranked Gator men’s team closed out the dual meet season with a 134-109 loss to the No. 13 Volunteers in Southeastern Conference action.
The women’s team, which had only won one event out of the first eight, turned up the heat and went on a roll in the second half of the day’s festivities.
The Gators took first through fourth in the second event of the day, the 1,000-yard freestyle. Junior Jamie Johnson (Gainesville, Fla./Bolles School) won the event with a career-best mark of 10:01.58. Junior Sharon Rzadkowolsky (Miami, Fla./Gulliver), junior Melissa Pavlik (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles School) and freshman Andrea Bennett (Maryville, Tenn./West High) took second through fourth, respectively, in the event.
Freshman Mary Beth Mounce (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) began the Gators’ winning streak, taking the 200-yard backstroke (2:01.95). UF then swept the 500-yard freestyle, taking first through third. Junior Nicole Duggan (Ridgefield, Conn./Ridgefield), who has already qualified provisionally for the NCAAs, took first, touching the wall in 4:50.79. Pavlik took second with a NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 4:53.69. Freshman Laura Cross (Pompano Beach, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons) took third (5:00.50).
Junior Robyn Grimes (Pennington, N.J./Hopewell Valley Central) won the three-meter diving event, posting a school-record score of 327.15. This marks the third time this season and fourth time in her career that she has set the standard.
Freshman Desiree Frega (Aurora, Col./Kent Denver) picked up the win in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:19.30) while the 400-yard freestyle relay team sealed the team’s victory with a first-place finish of 3:26.94. The Gators were behind three points heading into the final event.
On the men’s side, the Gators picked up five event wins while two individuals picked up two wins each. Junior Alex Lopez (Naguabo, Puerto Rico/Bolles School) picked up wins in the 50- (20.56) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:01.63), posting season-best times in both. Junior Ricardo Monasterio (Caracas, Venezuela/Indian River C.C.) took the 500- (4:28.37) and 1,000-yard freestyle (9:12.62) events. Junior Bryan Kim (Seoul, Korea/Yangjae) accounted for the Gators’ other victory in the 200-yard individual medley. Kim posted a career-best and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:48.91.
The men’s team also posted a sweep in the 200-yard breaststroke, taking first through third. Freshman Phillip Norris (Longwood, Fla./Lake Brantley) took second behind Lopez while freshman Ansel Tjin-A-Tam (Paramaribo, Suriname/Bolles School)
The Gator women’s team ends the dual meet season with an overall record of 9-3 and a conference mark of 3-2, while the men finish at 7-4, 2-4. Both teams will be back in action Feb. 16-19 at the SEC Championships in Auburn, Ala.