Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick
GAINESVILLE – The University of Florida swimming and diving teams wrapped up the regular season with a sweep of SEC rival Tennessee on Saturday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium, as the Gator men (198.5-99.5) and women (187-105) honored their senior class in the final home meet of the season.
Florida Press Release
The No. 7 Gator men’s and women’s swimming & diving team’s sent their senior swimmers off in style, as they each nabbed victories over Tennessee’s No. 11 men’s squad and 10th-ranked women’s team in front of a full house Saturday afternoon in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium. Florida dominated the meet winning 23-of-32 events and downing the Volunteers by scores of 198.5-99.5 (men) and 187-105 (women).
Florida’s women (6-2, 5-1 SEC) continued its tremendous success against Tennessee, as the Gators now hold the all-time series lead 27-2. Meanwhile, UF’s men (6-1, 4-1 SEC) created a little separation from UT all-time, as the Gators now lead that battle, 22-20.
Senior Matt Elliott paced the senior class and Florida’s men’s squad after winning both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke races in NCAA ‘B’ standard times of 54.02 seconds and 1:56.05, respectively.
On the women’s side, the Gators were led by junior Natalie Hinds, as she won two individual events (50-yard freestyle, 22.55; 100-yard butterfly, 52.92) and was a member of UF’s first-place 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay teams. On the boards, UF was led by junior Kahlia Warner, as she placed first on both the one-meter and three-meter dives with a score of 323.25 and 320.70 points, respectively.
Both squads continued their domination in the O’Dome, beginning with men as they have are now unbeaten in their last 20 home dual meets, including a perfect 3-0 this season. In addition, Florida’s women’s squad has posted a solid 15-4 mark over the past four seasons in Gainesville.
Next up, Florida will head back to Auburn Ala. for the Southeastern Conference Championships which begin on February 17th and conclude on the 21st.
On today’s meet overall…
“It was a fantastic Senior Day. We had great efforts all the way around, which created a lot of enthusiasm. I’m just really pleased with some of the swims we got out of some of our athletes. Theresa Michalak was outstanding on the women’s side. Jess Thielmann continues to do well and Natalie Hinds was a great too. The men’s side was excellent all the way through. They’ve made it really hard for our conference travel list because we’ve got so much depth down the line but that’s a good problem to have. We’ve still got some things to work on but today was certainly a good indication of what we like to see.”
Head Coach Gregg Troy
The Gators began and ended to the meet with victories as UF swept all four relay events. In the women’s races, Hinds partnered with junior Lindsey McKnight, redshirt freshman Theresa Michalak and freshman Amelia Maughan in the 200-yard medley (1:39.33) and with McKnight, Maughan and junior Ashlee Linn in the 400-yard freestyle (3:19.14).
On the men’s side, seniors Christian Homer and Ricky Munch, junior Corey Main and freshman Caeleb Dressel won the 200-yard medley with a mark of 1:26.60. To close out the meet, Dressel and Munch paired up with junior Pawel Werner and freshman Mark Szaranek to place first in the 400-yard freestyle with a time of 2:57.05.
GOING THE DISTANCE
Junior Jessica Thielmann swept the distance events, winning the 500-yard freestyle in 4:44.30 and the 1,000-yard free in 9:37.22. Senior Dan Wallace and junior Arthur Frayler earned points for the Gator men by placing first in each of those same two events with times of 4:23.80 and 8:58.53, respectively.
BACK IT UP
The Florida women took home both backstroke races, beginning with Linn in the 100 (54.13) and redshirt freshman Georgia Hohmann in the 200 with a time of 1:56.93. Homer won the 100 back for the men in 47.64 seconds.
I BELIEVE I CAN FLY
In addition to Hinds, Dressel notched the other Gator butterfly win in the 100-yard men’s race, as he clocked a time of 47.43 seconds.
UF’s men won all three sprint events with Werner in the 100-yard and 200-yard races in times of 44.25 seconds and 1:35.83, respectively, while Dressel completed the Gator sweep in the 50-yard free with a mark of 19.51 seconds.
In addition to Hinds, Maughan captured her first career individual event victory as she placed first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:46.82.
DOING IT ALL
Michalak capped off her fantastic Saturday with a win in the 400-yard individual medley as she clocked a time of 4:09.50.
In addition to an outstanding night of first-place finishes, UF recorded 41 NCAA ‘B’ standard marks throughout the dual meet.
Tennessee Press Release
Tennessee Swimming and Diving made the trek down to Gainesville Saturday for Senior Day at the University of Florida. After honoring 14 seniors, the Gators stormed out to an early lead and the Vols couldn’t catch up, as the Vols fell on both the men’s and women’s side.
The No. 11 men (6-6, 3-3 SEC) finished their regular season by splitting their dual meets, falling to No. 7 Florida (6-1, 4-1 SEC) by a 198.5-99.5 score. The No. 10 women (6-5-1, 2-3-1 SEC) also nearly split their regular season dual meets, falling to the No. 7 Gators 187-105, in the final regular-season dual meet in the careers of the current senior class.
“Our seniors all led us through a merger of our two programs,” said Head Coach Matt Kredich. “In order for that to work, we had to have a commitment from everybody on the team that we’re going to make it work. As sophomores, they actually took the lead. They’ve essentially helped us change the vision of Tennessee Swimming and Diving. They competed really well today. Our seniors love competition and are not afraid, and those are things that they’ve given to our program.”
Tennessee earned nine total wins on the afternoon, led by a pair of wins from Molly Hannis, Sam McHugh and diver Liam Stone.
Stone earned his first two victories after sweeping the one-meter and three-meter competitions, beginning the day with a win on one-meter–and a career-best 354.90 on one-meter. Stone finished his day by claiming the top spot in the three-meter event, winning with a score of 352.05.
“It proved to be a very big day for Liam, getting his first two wins as a Tennessee Volunteer,” said Head Diving Coach Dave Parrington. “He was just really, really consistent and got more comfortable in this environment. On three-meter, he didn’t have a great score, but he kept himself quite composed after receiving a balk (in the early rounds).”
The homestanding Gators won the first eight swimming event until Hannis broke the UF streak by claiming her first victory of the day in the 100-yard breaststroke. The senior earned her ninth win of the season by earning a NCAA B-cut time of 1:00.25 to beat UF’s Theresa Michalak.
Hannis repeated her efforts in the 200 Breast, winning the event for the ninth time this season, marking her eighth time sweeping both events in the same dual meet in 2014-15. Hannis defeated Paige Scheriger by earning a 2:12.88 time, her second B-cut time of the day.
Sam McHugh tacked on another pair of wins to his freshman season total, winning the 200 Fly and the 400 IM to lead the men’s team. McHugh won the 200 Fly for the eighth time this season, and fourth time in 2015, after winning in 1:45.04, another B-cut time for the Chattanooga freshman.
McHugh later won in the men’s penultimate event, tying UF’s Matt Elliott to share the first-place honors. His 3:47.14 time gave McHugh another B-cut time and his second win in the event this calendar year.
After Hannis earned her first win of the day, Michelle Cefal and Heather Lundstrom swept the top-two spots in the 200 Fly. The duo finished .07 seconds apart from each other, with Cefal (1:59.08) and Lundstrom (1:59.15) each earning NCAA b-cut times. The win for Cefal is her first of the season, as well as her first time under two minutes.
After the diving break, junior Faith Johnson claimed a victory in the 100 Free, her fifth of the season and third consecutive win. Her 49.98 time qualifies for a B-cut time and the High Point, N.C., native now has finished the event in less than 50 seconds in all but one 100 Free race this season.
Junior Sean Lehane earned the Vols’ ninth win of the day by taking first in the 200 Back. After earning second place in the 100 Back earlier in the afternoon, Lehane posted a 1:42.91 time in the 200 to win for the seventh time in 2014-15, as well as the fourth consecutive time.
With the regular season completed, the Vols turn towards the postseason. After a few weeks of practice, Tennessee will head to Auburn, Ala., for the 2015 SEC Championships at Auburn University from Feb. 17-21.