Florida Swimming and Diving Starts Off Cocktail Weekend With Sweep of Georgia; Kieran Smith Posts Nation’s Fastest 200 Free

Kieran Smith won two events for Florida in a win over Georgia. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

The University of Florida swimming and diving teams swept the University of Georgia on Friday in Gainesville about 24 hours before the football teams will square off on Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville as part of the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”

Team Scores:

  • Men: Florida 163, Georgia 118
  • Women: Florida 164.5, Georgia 135.5


Florida Swimming and Diving Press Release


In total, six different Gators would go on to win eight individual events, including taking the top-three spots in the 50 free, 100 fly and 100 breast. Florida would sweep the 200 medley and 400 free relays as well.

Kieran Smith set the tone with his 200 free time of 1:34.08, beating the field by almost three full seconds. The effort is the fastest time in the country up to this point of the season and a new personal-best.

Smith’s second victory came in the 100 fly as the sophomore finished with an effort of 47.90, the first time he’s competed in the event in college.

Marco Guarente walked away with a pair of victories in the 100 and 200 breast. In the 100, the senior finished in 54.59, while hitting the wall in 1:58.59 in the 200.

Teammate Grant Sanders would finish behind Guarente in both events. The pair of Gators both set season-bests in the 100 breast.

Sanders also posted a runner-up bid in the 200 IM, finishing .11 from the top swim.

For the second time this season, Khader Baqlah posted a new personal-record in the 200 fly, hitting the wall in 1:46.82. Later in the meet, he would pick up a distance victory in the 500 free.

  • Will Davis found success in the sprints today, winning the 50 free with a season-best swim of 20.26. In the 100 free, he would post a runner-up bid with his time of 45.55, .40 seconds off the leader. Teammate Gerry Quinn wrapped-up the top-three in the 100 free with his time of 45.60.
  • Dakota Mahaffey won his second event of the season in the 100 back, hitting the wall in 48.54. The swim is a season-best for the senior.
  • In the 200 back, Clark Beach won the event after posting a time of 1:44.64. He would go on to finish behind Mahaffey in the 100 back with a time of 48.75.
  • Eric Friese and Isaac Davis would join Will Davis at the top of the leaderboard in the 50 free as Friese finished in 20.55 with Isaac Davis right behind him in 20.64.
  • Robert Finke was beat out by Georgia’s Andrew Abruzzo by .11 seconds in the 1,000 free to won the distance event. Finke posted a season-best time of 8:59.36.
  • Gators saw a pair of second and third-place finishes on the board. Alex Farrow hit a new season-best with his runner-up bid of 344.33, while finishing in third-place on the 1-meter. Nick Lydon would switch positions with Farrow in the events, earning the second-best 1-meter score (289.80) and the third-best 3-meter tally (290.55).

The 200 medley relay team started off the dual on the right note as the team of Dakota Mahaffey, Marco Guarente, Eric Friese and Will Davis took home the victory with a combined swim of 1:28.04.

In the final event of the dual, UF’s 400 free relay squad of Baqlah, Smith, Clark Beach and Isaac Davis posted the top time, winning the event with a combined swim of 2:57.06. The runner-up relay was a Florida team consisting of Quinn, Ethan Beach, Friese and Lucas Kravchenko. The team finished in a combined swim of 3:02.02

Florida swimming and diving Head coach Anthony Nesty– “First off, I’m very proud of the way our guys came in and competed today against the Bulldogs. It was awesome to get in front of our home crowd for the first time this year and to swim in the O’Dome. I think overall we performed pretty well. I don’t remember the last time we went one, two, three in the 50 free, 100 fly and 100 breast, which is an accomplishment because Georgia’s flyers are really good. I want to thank Steve Jungbluth, all our assistants and all our support staff for their constant work they do for our program. Looking forward to getting back into the pool next Friday with Florida State.”

Head Diving coach Bryan Gillooly– “It was great to have Alex (Farrow) back in good form, especially in the 3-meter event. He put himself in great position and just fell short on his last dive. That experience will be critical down the road. All the boys continue to improve which is great to see.”


Florida swimming and diving women produced an all-around team effort, winning seven individual events and a pair of relays en route to their sixth-straight victory to start off the season. This marks the best dual start to a campaign since the 2002-03 Gators that got off to an 9-0 start.

Leah Braswell started the Gators off on the right note in the first individual event, winning the 1,000 free in a new personal-best time of 9:45.74, which stands as the second-fastest time in the country this season. She set a previous top swim of 9:49.24 against Minnesota on Oct. 11.

Rosie Zavaros registered 13 points as she would win the 200 back, hitting the wall in 1:55.57. The sophomore also finished runner-up in the 100 back with a swim of 54.63.

The Gators got a push in the 50 and 100 free by Bella Garofalo, who tallied 10.5 points in the conference dual. Garofalo tied for the top time in the 50 free with a season-best effort of 22.87 and also finished just .11 from the top time in the 100 with a season-best swim of 49.76.

Kelly Fertel notched a pair of B-cuts in the 200 IM and the 200 breast as she finished runner-up in three total events in the dual.

Elizabeth Perez led the way on the board for the Gators, picking up her first pair of victories on the year. On the 1-meter, she tallied a score of 286.28 and a score of 299.25 on the 3-meter.

  • Emma Ball picked up her second individual victory of the season with a swim of 53.86 in the 100 back. Teammates Rosie Zavaros and Celi Guzman rounded-out the top three behind her, just .77 seconds apart. All times were season-bests and Ball’s time secured her a B-cut.
  • Sherridon Dressel won the 100 fly by less than a full second with a time of 53.95. The senior would go on to produce two more top-three finishes in the 50 and 100 free.
  • Just missing a personal-best and season-best swim by .06 seconds, Kathleen Golding registered a runner-up bid in the 500 free with a time of 4:50.31. The freshman would also finish in third-place in the 200 free.
  • Vanessa Pearl tallied a trio of third-place finishes in the 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM. The sophomore would finish less than a second behind Fertel in the 200 breast.
  • Abigail Howell hit a new season-best in her second-place finish in the 1-meter, registering a mark of 265.73. She would go on to finish in third in the 3-meter with her score of 291.60

The Gators continued to best their opponent in relays, picking up wins in both events on the day.

Ball, Pearl, Talia Bates and Garofalo took home the first event of the dual as the 200 medley relay team combined for a swim of 1:40.26, besting the Bulldog’s top relay by .95 seconds.

In the 400 free relay, the Florida’s fastest team of Dressel, Bates, Golding and Garofalo picked up the win with a combined time of 3:19.61, which was three full seconds faster than the runner-up time posted by the Bulldogs.

Florida swimming and diving head coach Jeff Poppell – “It was an outstanding team effort today against a strong Georgia team. We received contributions from so many different individuals on our roster from freshmen to seniors, swimmers and divers. I’m really happy for our seniors who were able to enjoy back to back wins against Georgia for the first time since 1997. Their leadership this season has been nothing short of superb.”

Head Diving coach Bryan Gillooly– “On the women’s side, we were going into the meet a little short-handed because of some injuries. I was pleased to see how they responded. They really rose to the occasion and did what they need to do for the team. Elizabeth (Perez) getting a couple wins and Abby (Howell) making her zone score was great to see.”

Georgia Press Release 

Despite 14 individual wins, University of Georgia swimming and diving was unable to top rival Florida as the Gators swept the Bulldogs Friday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gator men won, 163-118, while the Lady Bulldogs fell in a 164.5-135.5 result.

For the Lady Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC), freshman Zoie Hartman continued the phenomenal opening to her career, winning three races with B-cut times in each. For the third time this season, Hartman swept the breaststroke events, taking the 100 with a season-best time of 1:00.28 before narrowly grabbing the 200 with a 2:12.77. In the closing 200 IM, she once again prevailed in a nail-biter, using a late surge to win with a time of 1:58.80.

Junior Courtney Harnish also performed well for Georgia, winning in the 200 (B-cut time of 1:46.80) and the 500 freestyle (4:49.54) for the fourth time in as many meets this year. Sophomore Dakota Luther also remained unbeaten in the 200 butterfly with a B-cut time of 1:57.59, followed closely behind by fellow sophomore Callie Dickinson. Senior Veronica Burchill placed first in the 100 freestyle (49.65) for the third time this year, while junior Gabi Fa’amausili tied for the win in the 50 free. At the well, senior McKensi Austin scored in both events, posting a second-place 291.75 in the 3-meter along with a third-place finish in the 1-meter.

On the men’s side, the Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC) were headlined by sophomore Andrew Abruzzo’s tremendous outing. Abruzzo broke his personal best time from last week in the 1000 freestyle, turning in the eighth-best mark in school history at 8:59.25. After falling in the 500 freestyle by 0.8 seconds, he used a 25.34 split in the final lap to win the 200 IM with a time of 1:48.92. In the 500, Abruzzo was joined by teammates Greg Reed and Joshua Fulcher in a nine-point race.

Harry Homans, last week’s SEC Freshman of the Week, again impressed with his first collegiate win in the 200 butterfly, tallying a time of 1:46.71. Homans later scored for the Dawgs with a runner-up finish in the 200 backstroke and fourth-place time in the 200 IM. In diving, junior Zachary Allen compiled a fantastic meet, sweeping both springboard events with a qualifying mark of 361.65 in the 3-meter, followed by a decisive 298.58 in the 1-meter.


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