In the first dual meet of a packed SEC week for the Gators, the No. 3 Florida men defeated No. 16 Alabama, 158-140, while the No. 20 Gator women topped the Crimson Tide, 166-134 at the Alabama Aquatics Center. 

Senior Ben Lawless led the way for the Gator men, claiming two individual wins in the 500 and 1,650 free races. He recorded a time of 4:28.81 in the 500 free and swam a 15:19.82 in the 1,650. 

Khader Baqlah and Caeleb Dressel aided the men’s eight individual wins with first-place finishes of their own in the 200 free and 50 free, respectively. Baqlah swam a B-cut 1:36.92 in the 200 free, while Dressel posted a B-cut time of 19.10 in the 50 free.

Marco Guarente earned his first individual win of the season, topping the 200 breast field with a time of 2:01.80. The SEC Male Swimmer of the Week, Jan Switkowski, finished first in the 100 fly with a time of 47.87 and classmate Mark Szaranek won the 400 IM, posting a swim of 3:50.44.

Alex Farrow rounded out the individual wins for the Gator men, claiming first on the 3-meter board with a score of 322.20.

On the women’s side, the Gators collected nine individual wins, including two from sophomore Brooke Madden. She posted a score of 285.60 on the 1-meter and 296.40 on the 3-meter to sweep both events.

Taylor Ault earned the second win of her collegiate career, registering a time of 16:44.84 in the 1,650 free. She was followed up by Kelsey Dambacher and Emma Ball, who recorded first-place finishes in the 200 free (1:49.27) and 100 back (53.80), respectively. Ball’s time of 53.80 was a B-cut qualification. 

Hannah Burns tallied her second individual win of the season as well, swimming a 2:00.38 in the 200 fly. Kelly Fertel and Savanna Faulconer continued their successes, winning the 400 IM (4:14.04) and the 500 free (4:50.98), respectively.

Closing out the women’s individual wins was Sydney Sell, who’s first win of the season came in the 200 back where she finished with a time of 1:59.50. 

The Gators return to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to face Georgia on Thursday at 6 p.m. and Friday at 10 a.m. Thursday’s session contains diving, while Friday’s contains both swimming and diving. The first 200 students to the O’Dome on Friday will receive a free pink T-shirt for breast cancer awareness.

How it Happened

– Lawless led the men’s eight wins, picking up two of his own en route to Florida’s victory.

– The women finished with nine individual wins, thanks in part to Madden’s sweep of the boards.

– The men recorded seven B-cut times on Wednesday, with Dressel recording two. Baqlah, Rooney, Switkowski, Szaranek, Grant Sanders were responsible for the others.

– The women notched three B-cut times, with Ball, Fertel, and Faulconer all hitting the mark.

– Three divers recorded four NCAA Zone qualifying scores at Alabama, with Madden notching on the 1 and the 3-meter boards. Syskakis and Farrow both registered the scores on the 3-meter board.

– The women recorded 25 top-3 finishes at the meet, while the men registered 26 swimmers in the top-3.

Straight from the Source – Head Coach Gregg Troy:

– “We did a great job racing on both sides. Very good team effort, despite not winning any relays. The divers did an especially good job today.”

Straight from the Source – Diving Coach Bryan Gillooly

– “The divers did well today. Not their best diving today, but at this point in the season that is expected. The great thing is that we competed much better. Coming off of the Indiana/Texas meet, that was our main focus and they did just that.”

– “If you can miss a dive and not let it take you out of the competition, you can still earn some valuable team points. Going 1-2 in three events is a testament to that. Now let’s see if we can maintain that focus against Georgia.”

Up Next

– The Gators return to Gainesville to face SEC opponent Georgia on Thursday and Friday.

– Thursday’s session will contain only diving and will begin at 6 p.m.

– Friday kicks off at 10 a.m. and will feature both swimming and diving. This will be streamed on the SEC Network + as well as the WatchESPN app.

– The Georgia Bulldogs are ranked in the CSCAA Top 25 Poll, with the women sitting at sixth and the men ranked 12th.

– Follow @GatorsSwimDv as well as the meet mobile app for the latest updates on the races.

Courtesy of Katie Callahan