BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, November 9. THE No. 2 University of Florida women's swimming and diving team (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) claimed nine first-place finishes and swept the top-three places in four events en route to a 172-128 win over league opponent LSU (2-2, 1-2 SEC) Thursday afternoon at the LSU Natatorium. With the victory, the Gators improved their all-time record to 11-0 against the Lady Tigers in the 20-year span of competition between the two SEC schools.
"We had some real bright spots in today's dual. Our upperclassmen did an excellent job of leading our freshmen while on the road, and in the end, everyone knew exactly what they needed to do in order for us to bring home a win," said associate head coach Martyn Wilby.
The Gators led off the individual events by notching the first four finishes in the 1,000-yard freestyle, with sophomore Laurabeth Guenthner (Wellington, Fla.) notching a career-best time of 9:57.75 in her season debut for first place. The freshmen trio of Kristen Beales (Arlington, Va.), Jenne Ballatore (Gainesville, Fla.) and Elizabeth Goldson (Glen Cove, N.Y.) rounded out the following three finishes, respectively.
Freshman Sarah Peterson (Franklin, Tenn.) and sophomore Kelsy Smith (Cary, N.C.) continued the Gators' winning trend with victories in the third and fourth events of the contest. Peterson clocked in at 1:52.32 in the 200-yard freestyle just before Smith touched the wall in 56.54 in the 100-yard backstroke. Florida also scored on a third and fourth-place finish in the 200 free by seniors Kristin Gilliam (Gainesville, Fla.) and Laurie Moreau (Largo, Fla.), and juniors Samantha Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.) and Jennie Lindh (Kalmar, Sweden) finished second and fifth, respectively, in the 100 back.
After freshman Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England) led the Gators with a second-place time of 1:05.48 in the 100-yard breaststroke, sophomore Stephanie Cota (Granite Bay, Calif.) led a second trio of Florida swimmers to a 1-2-3 finish in the 200-yard butterfly. Cota clocked in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 2:01.12, while freshman Elizabeth Kemp (Potomac, Md.) and junior Kim Larson (Longwood, Fla.) finished in times of 2:03.86 and 2:08.53, respectively.
Spofforth sparked three-straight Florida wins with her 2:02.06 victory in the 200-yard backstroke. Junior Amanda Hartley (Tallahassee, Fla.) followed with a first-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:19.66, and Guenthner posted a NCAA ‘B' cut time of 4:53.97 in the 500-yard freestyle en route to her second win of the day. Kemp finished second in the 500 free with a time of 4:58.11, and junior Natalie Pike (Boca Raton, Fla.) finished less than a tenth of a second behind Kemp for the 1-2-3 Florida finish.
Pike concluded the Gators' string of individual wins in the 200-yard IM, as her time of 2:04.97 led her to a first-place finish. Smith (2:05.79) and Cota (2:07.46) rounded out the top-three finishers in the event.
"Laurabeth (Guenthner) performed very well in her first meet of the year. She was a bit rusty in the 1,000 free compared to how she's performed in practice, but she rebounded very well in the 500 free and proved what she's capable of," said Wilby. "Stephanie (Cota) is continuing to swim very well, and Kelsy (Smith) was outstanding in her events. Overall, everyone did a nice job of staying focused in the meet and racing well."
In relay events, the Florida quartet of Spofforth, Drab, Lindh and Pike led off the meet with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay (1:44.38), and freshmen Stephanie Napier (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Kemp, Peterson and Vanderbilt posted a second-place finish in 200-yard freestyle relay (1:36.22).
"Every dual meet is an evaluation process, and today's meet was just another chance to measure where we're at as a team and make a few corrections before we swim against Florida State," concluded Wilby.