By Sharon Robb
January 4, 2014
In front of a packed house at the Stephen O’Connell Center in Gainesville, the No. 3-ranked University of Florida men and No. 5-ranked Gator women’s teams swept Florida State Saturday to start the New Year off right in the state’s top collegiate swimming rivalry.
The Gator men (5-0), led by Florida Gold Coast swimmer Carlos Omana (Metro Aquatics), topped the Seminoles, 180-118, for their 20th consecutive dual meet victory.
The Gator women (3-2), led by Olympian Elizabeth Beisel and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Lindsey McKnight, defeated the Seminoles, 153-147.
South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver, a senior at FSU, was second in both her specialty events, 50- and 100-yard freestyles. Oliver had been training with her SOFLO teammates during holiday break.
It was the Gators first meet since November. They were coming off their best week of training collectively according to Florida head coach Gregg Troy, who said he was looking forward to swimming against a good opponent.
It was also a good gauge for Troy and FSU head coach Frankie Bradley with the SEC and ACC Championships in February and NCAA Championships in March.
“We have not competed since the end of November,” Troy said. “We are real tired because we trained very well in December. This meet gives us a chance to see where we are after training hard for six weeks.”
Florida men lead FSU in their all-time series with a 52-23-1 record. The Gator women also lead their series with a 39-3 record.
Florida swept the opening medley relay event, the women winning in 3:42.27 and men winning in 3:15.09.
Alicia Mathieu of Florida won the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:55.24, leading a Gator sweep of the top four places.
Omana, who grew up in Miami working with MAC coach Kirk Peppas, led from start-to-finish to win the 1,000-yard freestyle and had a four-body length lead to win in 9:08.26.
Omana came from behind with a surge on the freestyle leg to win the 400-yard individual medley in 3:54.69.
McKnight, who also grew up in South Florida, won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:49.53, finishing ahead of teammate Sinead Russell.
Gator Mitch D’Arrigo won the men’s 200-yard freestyle after a late surge in 1:38.36. Former Florida Gold Coast swimmer Jemal Legrand of FSU was eighth.
Beisel, although broken down from heavy training, looked great winning the 100-yard backstroke in 55.60 and 200-yard backstroke in 1:58.49. She was also second in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Florida State’s Pavel Sankovich of Belarus won the men’s 100-yard backstroke in 47.33 and 100-yard butterfly in 46.49.
Florida senior Hilda Luthersdottir of Iceland won the 100-yard breaststroke with her touch in 1:02.96 and 200-yard breaststroke in 2:17.09.
The Gators swept the breaststroke event with Matt Elliott winning the men’s race in 55.01. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Luke Torres of Florida was eighth in 58.85 and was also sixth in the 100 butterfly.
Florida State got its first women’s individual title from Chelsea Britt in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:02.
South African Sebastien Rousseau picked up another win for the Gator men in the 200-yard butterfly. He led the entire race from start to finish in 1:46.67.
Florida State’s Kaitlyn Dressel outsprinted her teammate, Tiffany Oliver to win the 50-yard freestyle, 22.90. Oliver finished in 23.14. It was a repeat performance for Dressel in the 100-yard freestyle in 50.49. Oliver was second in 50.84.
Florida’s Brad deBorde won the 50-yard freestyle in 20.05 and 100-yard freestyle in 44.93.
Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez won the 200-yard breaststroke in 1:59.91.
Early leader Madison Jacobi of Florida State won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:53.94 to keep the Seminoles within 10 points of Florida.
D’Arrigo won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:25.27 and three other teammates placed for points to extend the Gator men’s lead.
Ellese Zalewski won the 100-yard butterfly in 55.51.
Julia Henkel of Florida State won the 400-yard individual medley in 4:22.38.
FSU women won the 200-yard freestyle with Oliver swimming leadoff (23.21) in 1:32.97. The Gator men just out-touched FSU to win the men’s relay in 1:21.12.
The meet was broadcast live on Florida Swim Network and attracted a good webcast crowd. FSN has replays of the meet on its website.
ORANGE BOWL SWIMMING
With Florida Gold Coast swimmer and Michigan-bound swimmer Emily Kopas of University School and her entire family watching and decked out in Wolverine garb, University of Michigan swept the men’s and women’s team titles at the Orange Bowl Swimming Classic in Key Largo.
Michigan set six Orange Bowl records during Friday’s meet at the Jacobs Aquatic Center.
“It was fun for the coaching staff to watch the teams swim tired but still be excited, to make choices during the races and make mistakes, but correct those mistakes and get better,” Michigan coach Mike Bottom said. “That is the theme of our training trip, to get better.”
Florida International University, where SOFLO’s Maria Lopez is headed this fall, was second in the men’s team standings during the seven-team meet. FIU was coming off a seven-day training camp in Key Largo.
It was the sixth straight Orange Bowl win for the Michigan men, defending NCAA champions and second straight for the women’s team.
IN OTHER BIG MEETS:
No. 3-ranked Stanford defeated No. 8 Texas, 154-146. Stanford led by only three points (143-140) going into the final event but clinched the meet with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Florida Gold Coast swimmer and Texas freshman Tasija Karosas was second in the 100-yard backstroke in 55.17 and second in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:58.21…No. 6-ranked University of Tampa men’s team was second and No. 13-ranked women’s team was third at the Tampa Relay Carnival. Dartmouth College swept the men’s and women’s team titles in the six-team meet.
OTHER COLLEGE NEWS
Georgia coach Jack Bauerle, just one win away from his 500th career victory, and his swimmer Chase Kaliscz were both suspended from Saturday’s home meet against N.C. State because the school is conducting an “academic eligibility review” of Kalisz. Bauerle has won five NCAA titles, 10 SEC titles and has 499 wins including 293 with the women…
Florida Gulf Coast, with SOFLO’s Marcella Marinheiro doing well her freshman year, and five-time defending Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association champions, has been forced to cancel two of its home meets (against women’s power Liberty and Radford) in January because of five leaks in its 50-meter pool. The pool will have to be emptied and patched before their next home meet, Jan. 25 against Florida International. If the pool is still not ready for that meet, an alternative pool will be used.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com