KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, February 1. THE Tennessee Volunteers showed up prepared for today’s home meet against Southeastern Conference foe Florida today, and several swimmers from both teams put up big wins that kept the meet close on the women’s side.
Three event wins by Lindsay Gendron were a big help for the Volunteers as they pulled off a 152-148 win in the women’s meet. The Florida men had a much easier time, winning with a score of 179-121.
Gendron started with a 1:45.59 in the 200 free to beat out Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel, who couldn’t match Gendron’s closing speed. Beisel was second with a 1:46.68. For Gendron, it’s less than a second off her best time, a 1:44.79 from the USA Swimming nationals. It’s Beisel’s fastest 200 free of the year by 1.5 seconds.
Gendron also won the 500 free with a 4:44.63, her second-fastest swim of the season, then returned less than 10 minutes later to take the 100 fly win with a 53.60.
After finishing second to Gendron in the 200 free, Beisel found herself in the runner-up spot again, placing second behind teammate Sierra Kuhn in the 200 fly. Kuhn took the race out hard, almost two seconds ahead of Beisel at the 100, and hung on to win, 1:58.91 to 1:59.30. Beisel finally collected a win with a 1:55.77 in the 200 back as part of a Florida 1-2-3. Sinead Russell’s 1:57.77 and Ashlee Linn’s 1:58.46 also provided big points for Florida in the event.
Also winning multiple events today were Tennessee’s Faith Johnson and Molly Hannis. Johnson took the 50 free with a 22.65 ahead of the 22.98 by Florida’s Natalie Hinds, then returned to post a 49.97 to win the 100 free. Tennessee’s Harper Bruens out-touched Hinds at the finish for second, 50.07 to 50.10.
As for Hannis, an NCAA title contender in the 100 breast, she easily won the breaststrokes over Florida’s Hilda Luthersdottir with times of 1:00.86 and 2:12.48.
Florida had two other 1-2-3 sweeps. The first took place in the women’s 1000 free, with Alicia Mathieu taking the win with a 9:51.75. Autumn Finke (9:52.27) and Danielle Valley (9:58.50) rounded out the top three.
A 1-2-3 finish by Florida in the final women’s individual event, the 200 IM, meant the 400 free relay would decide the meet. Lindsay McKnight won with a 2:00.47 ahead of the 2:02.22 by Luthersdottir and the 2:02.83 by Rebecca Rainer. Florida also got a swimmer in fourth with Linn swimming a 2:03.26. But dual meet rules allow only three swimmers per team to score in individual events. That gave the remaining five points in the event to Amanda Carner (fifth: 2:04.11) and Anna Demonte (2:04.14).
After the 200 IM, the score was 144-139 in Florida’s favor. Tennessee was almost assured to win the 400 free relay, but Florida had to finish second and third to create a tie. Tennessee did win with a 3:19.73 … and also finished third with a 3:23.93 with Florida’s 3:21.27 in between.
In the men’s meet, Florida won 10 of the 14 swimming events. Brad Deborde of Florida was the only double winner, taking the sprint freestyles in times of 19.96 and 44.47. Deborde is having an easier time with breaking 20 seconds in the 50 free after struggling to crack the barrier in the first half of the season. He’s done it four times since late November.
Florida went 1-2-3 in the 1000 freestyle, led by Arthur Frayler’s 9:06.52. Finishing second was Carlos Omana with a 9:14.98 and Arthur Manganiello was third with a 9:21.83.
Florida’s next win came in the 200 free, with Corey Main taking first in 1:36.61 ahead of Mitch D’Arrigo’s 1:37.94. D’Arrigo would return to take the 500 free with a 4:24.05 ahead of Frayler’s 4:28.07 for another 1-2 finish.
Two of Tennessee’s three swimming event wins came in back-to-back races. Sam Rairden routed the field with a 47.85 in the 100 back, while Renato Prono posted a near-season best of 54.89 to beat Florida’s Matt Elliott in the 100 breast. Elliott posted a 55.16 for second in the 100 breast, then won the 200 breast handily with a 2:00.42 ahead of the 2:01.09 posted by teammate Dan Wallace.
Tennessee’s Sean Lehane took the 200 back with a 1:44.15 to beat out Main’s 1:45.42. The Volunteers also won the opening event, the 200 medley relay, with a 1:27.83.
Other wins for the Florida men included Sebastien Rousseau in the 200 fly (1:46.90), Marcin Cieslak in the 100 fly (47.72) and the 400 free relay (2:55.32).