Kieran Smith, Talia Bates Win Two Each in Florida Sweep of Auburn

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Kieran Smith -- Photo Courtesy: Luke Jamroz Photography

Kieran Smith, Talia Bates Win Two Each in Florida Sweep of Auburn

Florida completed its dual meet slate with a pair of comfortable wins over the Auburn Tigers on Saturday. Florida’s men, led by U.S. Olympic medalists Kieran Smith and Bobby Finke, cruised to a 201-99 triumph, while Florida’s women won 184-116.

Against Auburn, Smith recorded a swift time of 1:32.96 to win the 200 free, the top time in any dual meet so far this season and the seventh-fastest mark all year. Smith also won the 500 free in 4:18.16, almost 12 seconds off his own American record. Meanwhile, Finke finished a surprising second-place in the 1000 free behind teammate Trey Freeman, 8:55.93 to 8:56.58. Finke flipped six tenths behind Freeman with 50 yards to go, and while he tried to accelerate and storm past Freeman, just as he did to the best swimmers in the world in two Olympic finals last year, but Freeman also shifted gears and finished with a 23.64 split to hold Finke at bay.

Later on, Finke picked up a win in a rare appearance in the 200 back, as he touched in 1:46.25. He trailed Auburn’s Lleyton Smith by almost a second with 50 meters to go before roaring ahead with another incredible last 50. For Auburn, the top performer was Reid Mikuta, who swept the 100 breast (53.39) and 200 breast (1:58.79).

On the women’s side, Talia Bates finished first for Florida in the 100 back (53.74), and she later captured the 100 free in 48.60. Florida freshman Ekaterina Nikonova touched out teammate Micayla Cronk to win the 200 free, 1:46.61 to 1:46.69, and she also won the 50 free in 22.68. For the Tigers, Anastasia Makarova won the 100 breast (1:00.41) and 200 breast (2:14.20).

View full results from the meet here, and read the full press release from Florida below:

The Florida Gators men’s and women’s swim and dive team swept the Auburn Tigers with scores of 201-99 and 184-116, respectively.

Florida won 23 out of the 32 events and had a total of 13 athletes hit B-cuts.

Senior Bobby Finke took home first place in the men’s 200 back with a time of 1:46.25. Mason Laur was right behind Finke with a time of 1:49.04, finishing in fourth. Joaquin Gonzalez Pinero finished in fifth and Miguel Cancel placed in sixth.

Kieran Smith, a Ridgefield, Conn., native, swam a 4:18.16 to take first place in the men’s 500 free.

A pair of Gators took home first in both the men’s 3-meter and women’s 1-meter. Leonardo Garcia finished with a score of 413.03 and Maha Amer finished with a score of 284.55. This marks Garcia’s fifth win on the 3-meter springboard and is his season’s best score.

The Gators swept the men’s 100 fly, as Eric Friese came in first for the men with a time of 47.56. Isaac Davis came in second by less than half a second, clocking a time of 47.99. Jace Crawford placed third with a 48.01 and Will Davis came in fourth with a 48.61.

Amanda Ray notched a time of 54.86, logging her a first-place finish for the women’s 100 fly.

Florida took home first in the 50 free for both men and women, as freshman Macguire McDuff and Ekaterina Nikonova came away with respective first place finishes. Newcomer Nikonova also came away with a win in the 200 free, earning her first two wins as a Gator.

Talia Bates came away with two wins, one in the 100 free and the other in the 100 fly. Bates also notch two second place finished in the 400 free relay and the 200 medley relay.

Newcomer Alberto Mestre notched his first win as a Gator in the 100 free with a time of 44.38. Mestre also finished third in the 50 free.

Relays

The quartet of Adam Chaney, Dillon Hillis, Eric Friese and Will Davis finished first in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:27.50. In the 400 free, Friese, Chaney, Smith and Freeman touched first with a time of 2:57.07.

On the women’s side, the team of Nikonova, Mathieu, Peoples and T. Bates finished in second with a time of 1:40.62 in the 200 medley relay. In the 400 free, the quartet of Nikonova, T. Bates, Mack and Cronk finished second with a time of 3:25.23.

Quotables: Head Coach Anthony Nesty

“We had a good meet today against Auburn. We are thankful for Auburn making the trip to compete with us.

“Today was a special day as we celebrated Senior Day. It was a very emotional time for our seniors especially since it was their last home meet.

“The entire team certainly has true demonstrated tremendous resilience over the past couple of years and I am extremely proud of each one them.

“We are three weeks from Conference and we still have quite a bit of work to do. We will continue to press forward toward our goals and try our best to remain healthy in the process.

“I wish to thank my entire staff and administration for their continued support. It truly is a team effort.”

Quotables: Head Diving Coach Bryan Gillooly

“Another great meet for the men’s and women’s divers the last two days. It’s always a pleasure to dive against a great team like Auburn and one of the all-time great coaches Jeff Shaffer. We really had too many outstanding performances to name them all but this meet was really about the seniors. I am so proud of them. Diving is just a small part of that. Lauren Snider, Nick Lydon and Elizabeth Perez are some of the finest people you could ever have the privilege of working with. They have represented this University with class and style and they proved that once again this weekend. They are the reason that UF Diving is now one of the best programs in the country. I will always cherish my time with them.”

Event Winners

200 Medley Relay
Men – Florida (Chaney, Hillis, Friese, W. Davis)
Women – Auburn (Lee, Tarazi, Mulvihill, Steckiel)
1,000 Freestyle
Men – Trey Freeman
Women – Elise Bauer
200 Freestyle
Men – Kieran Smith
Women – Ekaterina Nikonova
100 Backstroke
Men – Aidan Stoffle (Auburn)
Women – Talia Bates
100 Breaststroke
Men – Reid Mikuta (Auburn)
Women – Anastasia Makarova (Auburn)
200 Fly
Men – Mason Laur
Women – Amanda Ray
50 Free
Men – Macguire McDuff
Women – Ekaterina Nikonova
1-Meter
Men – Conner Pruitt (Auburn)
Women – Maha Amer
3-Meter
Men – Leonardo Garcia
Women – Maha Amer
100 Freestyle
Men – Alberto Mestre
Women – Talia Bates
200 Backstroke
Men – Bobby Finke
Women – Meghan Lee (Auburn)
200 Breaststroke
Men – Reid Mikuta (Auburn)
Women – Anastasia Makarova (Auburn)
500 Freestyle
Men – Kieran Smith
Women – Tylor Mathieu
100 Fly
Men – Eric Friese
Women – Olivia Peoples
200 IM
Men – Julia Smith
Women – Kathleen Golding
400 Free Relay
Men – Florida (Friese, Chaney, Smith, Freeman)
Women – Auburn (Mulvihill, Leehy, Hamilton, Steckiel)