The no. 4/16 Florida Gators split their final dual meet of the season against the no. 9/12 Tennessee Volunteers on Friday at the Jones Aquatics Center.
Florida’s fourth-ranked men’s squad played spoiler to Tennessee on its Senior Day, defeating the Volunteers 178-122. The 16th-ranked Florida women fell to no. seven Tennessee 184-116 during the meet.
The Gators’ hold the all-time series advantage over Tennessee, with the men moving to 25-20 and the women falling to 27-5 in dual meet competition.
The men finished the dual meet season with a 7-1 record and the women recorded a 4-5 record during the 2017-18 campaign.
Senior Caeleb Dressel and sophomore Khader Baqlah led the men’s team with three wins apiece during the meet. Dressel notched B-cut times in all three of his event victories against the Volunteers: 50 free (19.41), 100 breast (53.23) and 200 IM (1:44.94).
Balqah recorded two B-cuts as well, swimming a 1:35.88 in the 200 free and registering a time of 4:22.20 in the 500 free. The sophomore’s final victory came in the last event of the meet, the 400 free relay, in which the team recorded a time of 2:56.01.
Jan Switkowski, Mark Szaranek and Michael Taylor each contributed two wins apiece for the Gators.
Switkowski and Szaranek swept the butterfly events with B-cut times, with Switkowski swimming a 47.08 in the 100 fly and Szaranek recording a time of 1:45.53 in the 200 fly. Both men were also on the winning 400 free relay team that recorded a time of 2:56.01.
Taylor’s victories came from a sweep of the backstroke events, where he swam B-cut times of 47.71 (100 back) and 1:44.83 (200 back).
Ben Lawless (1000 free), Marco Guarente (200 breast) and Maxime Rooney (400 free relay) round out the victories by the Gator men.
On the women’s side, freshman Taylor Ault led the way for Florida with two wins against the Volunteers. She swam a 9:52.83 in the 1000 free and notched a B-cut in the 500 free with a time of 4:47.04 to nab her second victory of the meet.
Sophomore Emma Ball grabbed a win for the Gator women, swimming a B-cut time of 53.50 in the 100 back to clinch the victory.
Brooke Madden rounded out the wins for Florida, finishing first on the 1-meter board with a Zone qualifying score of 304.80.
The men finished with 22 top-3 finishes throughout the meet, while the women notched 18 of their own.
Florida is back in action on Feb. 2-4 at the Auburn Invitational.
Swimming Towards Postseason:
– Baqlah and Rooney both recorded B-cuts in the 200 free with times of 1:35.88 and 1:37.92, respectively.
– Ball (53.50) recorded a B-cut in the women’s 100 back and Taylor (47.71) followed suit in the men’s 100 back.
– Four Gators notched B-cut times in the 100 breast: Dressel (53.23), Guarente (53.61), Stanley Wu (54.97) and Chandler Bray (55.20).
– M. Szaranek and Switkowski pitched in B-cut times in the 100 and 200 butterfly events. Szaranek swam a 47.52 in the 100 fly and 1:45.53 in the 200 fly. Switkowski finished with a swim of 1:46.96 in the 200 fly and 47.08 in the 100 fly.
– Dressel notched B-cuts in both the 50 free (19.41) and 200 IM (1:44.94).
– In the 200 back, Taylor swam a B-cut qualification of 1:44.83.
– Three Gators recorded B-cuts in the 200 breast: Kelly Fertel (2:15.15) and Hannah Burns (2:15.79) on the women’s side and Guarente (1:56.81) on the men’s squad.
– Four Gators in total recorded B-cuts in the 500 free, with Ault (4:47.04) and Savanna Faulconer (4:47.27) representing the women’s team. Baqlah and Lawless were the men who swam B-cut times of 4:22.20 and 4:24.58, respectively.
Diving Towards Postseason:
– Madden notched Zone scores in both the 1-meter event (304.80) and 3-meter event (294.75).
– Emma Whitner recorded a Zone score of 284.25 in the 3-meter event.
Straight from the Source- Head Coach Gregg Troy:
– “On the women’s side, we raced well and showed some improvements throughout the meet. Some of our weaknesses did show against a team that was deeper than us and we did not swim well in the sprint events. We did a tremendous job in the distance events and medleys, including great performances by Savanna Faulconer, Taylor Ault and Hannah Burns. On the men’s side, we were not as good as we wanted to be. They started really flat, then rallied to come back and race well. Both sides were a little complacent – not sure if that is where we are at in our training, or if the emotions of last week’s Senior Day were not sorted out. We always have a tough time this weekend during our training cycle, but both teams rallied to race well later in the meet.”
Straight from the Source – Diving Coach Bryan Gillooly:
– “Tennessee is always one of the best teams in the SEC and even the NCAA, so this meet came at the perfect time for us. With a couple of former NCAA Champions on the men’s side, Alex and Dalton stayed competitive throughout and that will pay off during SECs. Emma and Teya both continue to get better and even Brooke – who went first and second – still has room to improve. We are right where we want to be at this point: motivated and ready for conference and beyond.”
– The Gators return to action on Feb. 2-4 when they travel to the Auburn Invitational.
– This will be the last competition for Florida before the SEC Championships begin on Feb. 14.