College Conference Carnival: Florida Captures Team Title, Several Pool Records Crumble

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 17. NO. 6 Florida demonstrated its dominance by finishing the evening with a top-tally of 300 points to win the Swimming World Magazine College Conference Carnival.

No. 16 North Carolina finished second with 188 points, while Rutgers (162) and Richmond (157) placed third and fourth, respectively, at the meet hosted at the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center.

"The format of the meet was good, and I think it was really entertaining for the spectators," Florida associate head coach Martyn Wilby said. "I felt that we swam okay and had a few good spots. I thought Stephanie Proud's 400 IM and Gemma Spofforth's two backstroke swims were pretty good."

Additionally, several facility standards fell by the wayside, as the swimmers brought some serious fire to the final day of the meet.

The women's meet featured No. 6 Florida, No. 14 North Carolina, Richmond and Rutgers competing for the title as streamed live by SwimmingWorld.TV on both our home page and the event landing page. The Swimming World/Rutgers partnership revived the Yale Carnival concept created by Swimming World founder Robert Kiphuth.

"Tonight was absolutely wonderful," Rutgers head coach Chuck Warner said. "So many people helped put on this meet, and it turned out to be really special. Tonight, especially with the clown divers, is how I pictured the Carnival to be. The crowd also was great this evening. I'm also thankful to Florida, North Carolina and Richmond for coming and competing. They really lent this meet some credibility in its first year as we go forward."

200 medley relay
The evening started off on a strong note with a Sonny Werblin Recreation Center pool record by the Florida Gators. The Gator contingent of Gemma Spofforth (25.49), Lindsay Rogers (28.97), Sarah Bateman (25.09) and Stephanie Proud (23.28) won the race in 1:42.83, which eclipsed the previous facility standard of 1:43.29 set by Rutgers in 2007.

Richmond's squad of Alex Helland (26.40), Mary Anne Lerro (29.32), Katie Sieben (24.47) and Charlotte Brackett (23.33) took second in a swift time of 1:43.52, while North Carolina's Megan Steeves (26.30), Alison Clemens (29.47), Layne Brodie (25.52) and Rebecca Kane (22.63) placed third in 1:43.92.

Florida jumped its leading total to 177 points, while North Carolina sat second with 112 points. Richmond (99) and Rutgers (87) were third and fourth, respectively, after the race.

400 IM
Florida's Stephanie Proud demolished the pool record in the distance medley event with a scorching time of 4:11.97. That effort destroyed the 1997 mark set by Miami's Kristel Tellegen with a 4:17.80.

Meanwhile, Teresa Crippen made it a Florida sweep with a second-place time of 4:16.48, also under the previous facility standard. Richmond's Lauren Beaudreau rounded out the top three in 4:17.56, eclipsing the previous record as well.

Florida moved its top tally to 193 points, while North Carolina remained second with 119 points. Richmond (106) and Rutgers (94) completed the rest of the team race after the event.

200 free
Shara Stafford gave the Gators a third-straight victory with a time of 1:48.36 for the win. Rutgers' Michaela Nilsson grabbed second-place honors with a time of 1:49.80, while North Carolina's Eliza Butts placed third in 1:50.48.

Florida broke 200 points with a leading tally of 205. North Carolina kept its second-place standing with 131 points, while Richmond (107) and Rutgers (106) saw the battle for third tighten up.

50 free
Florida's Stephanie Napier touched out North Carolina's Rebecca Kane, 23.26 to 23.30, for the splash-and-dash triumph. Richmond's Charlotte Brackett completed the top three with a time of 23.68.

Florida extended its lead to 219 points, while North Carolina built its second-place tally to 140 points. Richmond (114) and Rutgers (113) remained in a dog fight for third.

USMS Masters Record Attempts
Kristin Gary, 41, representing Red Tide Aquatics, took a run at Valerie Jenkins' USMS 40-44 50 back record of 27.12, but came up just short with a quick time of 27.81. That's a strong swim seeing as Gary was just coming off the holidays and had not be in prime training mode prior to the attempt.

Meanwhile, Benn Doyle, 50, of Garden State Masters put Jay McDonald's USMS 50-54 50 breast standard of 27.39 in his sights. After exploding from the blocks with the fans erupting in support, Doyle did not have enough left in the tank and settled for a 28.44.

Three-meter diving
Florida put a stamp on the meet with a 1-2 finish in diving as Jeanna Bartell claimed the three-meter crown with a tally of 292.25 points. Teammate Whitney Stern placed second with 287.50 points, while Rutgers' Erin Saunders took third with 278.15 points.

Florida wound up with 235 points after the event with North Carolina in second with 147 points. Rutgers moved up to third with 124 points, while Richmond held fourth with 116 points.

100 fly
Kelly Harrigan's pool record of 54.36 set in 2005 withstood a strong run by Richmond's Katie Sieben. Sieben ripped off a winning time of 54.47, while Rutgers' Kasey Kesses placed second in 54.89. Sarah Bateman finished third for Florida in 55.50.

Florida improved its leading tally to 246 points, while North Carolina remained second with 152 points. Rutgers (135) held on to third over Richmond (126).

100 back
The first sub-54 swims in facility history occurred as a pair of swimmers broke Kim Holden's 2008 record of 54.15. Florida's Gemma Spofforth, who already put her name on the wall in the 200 back, claimed another spot with a touch-out triumph over Rutgers' Cat Whetstone, 53.95 to 53.99. Florida's Shara Stafford showed some versatility by blasting a third-place time of 55.10.

Florida kept rolling with 261 points, while North Carolina stayed in second with 158 points. Rutgers (145) and Richmond (132) sat third and fourth, respectively.

100 breast
Florida's Lindsay Rogers punched the clock in 1:03.06, just missing the pool record of 1:02.60 set by Ji Young Lee of The Peddie School in 2008. Richmond earned some top-three points as Lauren Beaudreau (1:04.39) and Mary Anne Lerro (1:04.49) battled it out for second place.

Florida (274) and North Carolina (166) remained in their accustomed first and second positions, while Rutgers (148) and Richmond (145) witnessed the battle for third get closer.

Girls 9-10 200 free relay
The parents and assembled family members could once again be heard loud and clear as the roof blew off the Sonny Werblin Recreation Center during an exciting battle for the age group relay title. The Lakeland Hills YMCA team of Ingrid Shu, Lily Vesce, Jennifer Watson and Katelyn Mann won the race in 1:55.53. Elite's contingent of Kaitlin Stearns, Andrea Galea, Alyssa Hartigan and Christina Pick took second in 1:57.11.

Boys 9-10 200 free relay
An unidentified team from Berkeley Aquatic Club won with a time of 1:57.62, while an unidentified team from Ridgewood YMCA placed second in 1:59.03 with the team Red Bank Branch YMCA team of Zach DiGiaro, Joshua Atienza, Andrew Rooney and Brian Tucker taking third in 2:02.98.

400 free relay
After an extremely entertaining clown diving routine, the swimmers were back to business to finish the evening off. North Carolina's squad of Megan Steeves (50.40), Rebecca Kane (50.26), Eliza Butts (50.93) and Katura Harvey (51.49) shattered the pool record with a time of 3:23.08. That performance bashed the 3:24.89 set by Rutgers in 2006.

Florida's Shara Stafford (50.12), Gemma Spofforth (51.95), Sarah Bateman (51.14) and Stephanie Napier (50.98) placed second in 3:24.19, under the previous facility record, while Florida's B team of Elizabeth Kemp (50.67), Stephanie Proud (51.92), Teresa Crippen (51.27) and Lily Ramirez (51.59) wrapped up third in 3:25.45.

Florida completed a dominant meet with 300 points for the team title. North Carolina captured second with 188 points, while Rutgers held off Richmond, 162-157, for third place overall.