Florida’s men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams are set for the 2017-18 season to begin on Friday with the All-Florida Invitational.
The meet returns to Gainesville after a one-year hiatus due to construction on the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and both Gator teams are prepared to claim their eighth-straight All-Florida title.
Florida finished first on both the men’s and women’s sides last season in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The men garnered 1,099 points through the three-day meet, while the women tallied 1,076.
This year’s field is comprised on the Gators, Florida State and Miami, who does not have a men’s swim team. Miami is the only team back from last year’s group, with the women finishing second behind Florida with 744 points.
“This meet is a great opportunity to see where we are at the beginning of the season,” said Florida head coach Gregg Troy. “The goal is to see what skills we need to develop more and what areas of weakness we need to strengthen.”
The women’s team returns eight members who claimed 12 titles between them at last season’s meet. Current sophomore Emma Ball led the way with three first-place finishes in the 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay.
On the men’s side, the team returns 12 members who took home 10 first-place finishes. Current senior Mark Szaranek posted three individual wins and two relay titles to lead the way for the men.
“We have had a tremendous first three weeks of training, so I am excited as to where this team can go,” said Troy.
The men and women each welcome 10 newcomers this season and although they are each highly decorated, the All-Florida Invitational is a great opportunity to help them transition to the college stage.
“This meet is a fantastic transition for the newcomers since we run it almost exactly like the NCAA format,” said Troy. “It is unusual for a team to run this type of meet this early in the season, but we like to give the incoming swimmers and divers the dynamic that they will see late in the year.”
The meet kicks off on Friday at 10 a.m. with the women’s 200 freestyle relay. Friday’s finals session is set for 7 p.m.
Follow @GatorsSwimDv on Twitter for the latest updates on race results and find results and a recap of each day at FloridaGators.com.
Courtesy of Katie Callahan