DALLAS, Texas, October 24. LED by several NCAA provisional qualifying marks, the contingent of nine Lady Gators competing in Dallas at the 2009 SMU Classic secured a first-place finish at the six-team competition Saturday night. Florida finished the two-day invitational at the Joe Perkins Natatorium with 353 points, while Louisville (309), Wisconsin (280), Southern Methodist (271) Florida State (257) and Rice (186) rounded out the final standings.
After leading with 178 points heading into the second evening of competition, Florida capitalized on several outstanding performances to pull through for the win on the final night on the SMU Campus.
The Gators started off with a second-place finish in the 400-yard free relay, composed of sophomores Lily Ramirez (Gainesville, Fla.), Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) and Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) and senior Gemma Spofforth (West Sussex, England). The quartet swam a 3:25.53, falling just shy to the team from Louisville.
Individually, freshman Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.) swam a stellar race in the 500-yard free (4:51.52), achieving an NCAA provisional mark, while sophomore Jemma Lowe (Hartlepool, England) (4:59.58) finished second in the consolation final. Bohunicky’s win was the fastest time in the field by nearly seven seconds. The duo of Lowe and Bohunicky struck again in the 200-yard fly, Lowe achieving a 2:00.69 NCAA provisional mark with her victory, and Bohunicky clocking a 2:03.37 to win the second heat of the event.
Ramirez and fellow sophomore Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) teamed up in the 200-yard backstroke, Crippen clocking a second place 1:59.71, while Ramirez touched the wall in 2:01.50. After solidifying an NCAA provisional mark in the 400-yard IM Friday, Crippen returned to take the title in the 200 IM Saturday with her 2:03.26, while sophomore Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.) provided UF depth by winning heat two of the event with a 2:05.16.
Smith additionally doubled up for Saturday action, swimming the first heat of the women’s 200-yard breast, finishing fifth (2:21.81), while Bateman clocked a 2:29.07 in the second heat.
In day two diving action, senior Kara Salamone (Cooper City, Fla.) represented the Orange and Blue well with a victory in the three-meter springboard competition, racking up a score of 314.90, after her second-place finish on the one-meter board day one.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Stafford and Spofforth collaborated as Stafford claimed the top spot (50.29) and Spofforth tapped in at 51.62 in the sprint free race to place second in the consolation heat.
Florida closed out a successful stand at the 2009 SMU Classic with a second-place finish in the 200-yard free relay, courtesy of Spofforth, Stafford, Ramirez and Bateman, who rallied for a 1:34.26 in the final event of the night.
The Gators return back to Gainesville to host the first home dual meet of the season Friday, Oct. 30, when SEC rival Georgia visits the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium for a 1 p.m. match-up between both the men’s and women’s squads.
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