The Florida men’s swimming & diving team closed out the 2017-18 season with a fifth place finish at NCAAs, garnering a total of 347 points over the four day meet.
Over the course of the week, Florida racked up five national tiles (four individual, one relay) and 31 All-America honors. Caeleb Dressel earned his third CSCAA Swimmer of the Year award for his outstanding performance over the course the meet. This was the first time Dressel has not shared the honor with another swimmer.
Dressel once again became the fastest man in history, this time in the 100 free. He is now the first human to ever break 40 seconds, posting a time of 39.90 in the championship final to earn his third individual title of the meet and the ninth individual title of his career.
That time set a new American, NCAA, US Open and UF record, all of which he held from last year’s NCAA meet (40.00).
With his nine individual titles and one relay title, the senior great closes out his Gator career with 10 national championships, the most of any Florida man in school history. He surpassed Ryan Lochte’s seven titles with his 50 free championship earlier in the week and continued to build on that momentum.
The senior ended his week with seven All-America honors, bringing him to 28 over his four years at Florida. That is the most on the men’s side in program history, surpassing Shaune Fraser (2006-10), who had 27 over his career.
Dressel concluded his collegiate career with four American records, three of which he set this meet: 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly. No man in the history of Florida has ever won more than three titles (individual or relay) at one NCAA meet, Dressel has now won four over the course of this week: 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 200 free relay.
Dressel wasn’t the only one making waves in tonight’s final. Fellow classmates Jan Switkowski and Mark Szaranek each earned a top-3 finish during their final individual races of the meet. Switkowski placed second in the 200 fly with a career-best time of 1:39.55, good for the sixth fastest time in history.
That time was not only a personal-best for the senior, but a new school record. During prelims he surpassed Marcin Cieslak’s old record of 1:40.19 (2012) with a swim of 1:40.13, but broke that by over a half second to etch his name at the top of the UF record books. Switkowski finished the week with seven All-America honors, bringing the total for his career to 21.
Szaranek recorded a third place finish in the 200 breast, posting a career-best time of 1:51.17. The senior surpassed the previous school record of 1:51.86, which he set at SECs just last month. Szaranek finished his four years as a Gator with 21 All-America accolades, with seven coming this week.
Khader Baqlah also earned Honorable Mention All-America honors on the final night of competition, finishing seventh in the consolation final of the 100 free with a career-best time of 42.17.
All four men also raced in the 400 free relay to cap the evening for the Florida. Baqlah, Switkowski, Dressel and Szaranek placed second with a school record of 2:45.73.
Earlier in the day, the Gators had three swimmers in the 1,650 free and two of them stepped up in a big way, earning Honorable Mention All-America honors. Ben Lawless finished 10th overall and second in heat 2 with a career-best time of 14:42.88. That dropped over 10 seconds off his seed time and puts him third all-time in school history.
Fellow classmate Blake Manganiello also recorded valuable points for the Gators, finishing 12th with a personal-best time of his own. His swim of 14:44.72 puts him fourth all-time in school history.
Andrew Brady also raced in the event, finishing 28th overall with a time of 14:57.06.
The Gator men will say goodbye to 10 seniors, including the seven that competed this week at NCAAs. Six of the seniors (Dressel, Lawless, Manganiello, Enzo Martinez-Scarpe, Switkowski and Szaranek) combined for 24 of the 31 All-America honors throughout the week.
Straight from the Source – Senior Caeleb Dressel:
On breaking 40 seconds in the 100 free:
“It felt really good to break it. I thought I was going to be a little bit more under the mark, but it hurt – it hurt so bad. But that is all part of the sport. Honestly, it is kind of a good feeling when you reach that level of hurt; you just have to embrace it. I was happy to go under 40, finally. It was my 13th swim, so I am happy with it.”
On the last relay:
“It was nice, we got second. We set a new school record and the guys I got to race with are just such nice guys. This class has been so amazing – we had always talked about winning the meet, but now it’s over. At this point, we did what we could and I am just so proud of these guys. It has been such an amazing ride.”
On the fifth place finish:
“We are not the most talented group of guys, but I really believe we are the hardest working team in America. We are not afraid of any challenge. We did fall short this year, I believe that, but we went out with a bang and we didn’t let anyone down.”
On this senior class:
“They are my best friends and they are my brothers. All I can say is that I love them so much – what they have taught me as a man, as a student and as an athlete is unspeakable. Every swim I have ever taken, they receive credit for. I wish I could put all of their names with mine on every record because they get credit for everything; it is such a team effort and these guys have helped me to unleash my true potential.”
Final Team Standings:
1. Texas – 449
2. Cal – 437.5
3. Indiana – 422
4. NC State – 385
5. Florida – 347
2018 All-America Honors:
Khader Baqlah – 4 (100 free, 200 free, 400 free relay, 800 free relay)
Caeleb Dressel – 7 (50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay)
Ben Lawless – 1 (1,650 free)
Bayley Main – 1 (400 medley relay)
Blake Manganiello – 1 (1,650 free)
Enzo Martinez-Scarpe – 1 (200 free relay)
Maxime Rooney – 2 (800 free relay, 400 medley relay)
Jan Switkowski – 7 (100 fly, 200 fly, 200 IM, 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 800 free relay, 400 medley relay)
Mark Szaranek – 7 (200 breast, 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 800 free relay, 200 medley relay)