Crippen and Beisel finish in top four of 200 Back at prelims on Day 3 of NCAAs

AUSTIN, Texas – Junior Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) and freshman Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) finished in the top four of the 200-yard backstroke as the Gators qualified for the “A” finals in two events Saturday morning at the 2011 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas. In addition to the 200 back, Crippen also made the top eight in the 200-yard butterfly to qualify for the “A” finals of the event Saturday night.

“It was a pretty good morning performance,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “I was a little disappointed that the last relay team didn’t make the finals, but other than that, everyone swam really well and raced tough.”

Beisel and Crippen finished third and fourth overall in the prelims of the 200 back, finishing with times of 1:52.37 and 1:52.56, respectively. Making her first appearance at NCAA’s as a freshman, Beisel reached the “A” final in her fourth event (200 Back, 500 Free, 400 IM and 800 Freestyle Relay), while Crippen made the “A” final in the 200 back for the third consecutive year. In addition to the 200 back, Crippen came back in the last individual event of the morning prelims to finish seventh overall in the 200-yard butterfly. The junior’s time of 1:54.80 qualified her for the “A’ finals for the second straight season.

Fellow junior Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) qualified for the “B” finals of the 100-yard freestyle by swimming a UF season-best time of 48.51. Fellow junior Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) touched the wall in 49.48 to finish in 38th place. Freshmen Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia) and Alana Pazevic (Mill Creek, Wash.) also competed in the event, finishing 46th (49.80) and 58th (50.38), respectively.

Freshman Hilda Luthersdottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) continued to stake her claim as the best UF breaststroker in recent memory, swimming a team season-best 2:10.85 in the 200-yard breaststroke. The Iceland native’s time placed her 14th overall and qualified her for the “B” finals of the event one day after picking up honorable mention All-America honors in the 100 breast. Luthersdottir’s time of 2:10.85 put her third in school history in the event.

Just missing the “B” finals of the 200 breast in 22nd place was sophomore Sarra Lajnef (Tunis, Tunisia), who touched the wall in 2:11.60. Finishing three spots behind her in 25th was junior Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.), who clocked in at a personal-best 2:12.09, the fourth-quickest time in school history. Lajnef (second), Luthersdottir (third) and Smith (fourth) currently own three of the five quickest times in school history in the event.

To conclude day three prelims, Florida’s Orange and Blue crew of sophomore Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.), Stafford, Zalewski and Bateman qualified for the “B” finals of the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:17.02.

Senior diver Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) is currently competing on the platform, with the top eight advancing to the finals this evening. Dodson set the SEC and school record in the event last month in Gainesville, Fla., diving to a score of 325.20 at the 2011 SEC Championships.

Starting at 4 p.m. ET, junior Angelina Ballatore (Gainesville, Fla.), sophomore Corinne Showalter (Sarasota, Fla.) and freshman Alicia Mathieu (Marlborough, Conn.) will compete in the 1,650 free. Showalter enters the race having swum the eighth-fastest time in the country (16:02.92 at the 2011 SEC Championships).

The last session of the 2011 NCAA Championships begin at 8 p.m. ET. Florida stands in seventh place (149 points), 23 points behind sixth-place Texas (172) and 146 points behind first-place California (295).

Gators Qualifying for Evening “A” Finals

200 Back – Elizabeth Beisel, Teresa Crippen

200 Fly – Teresa Crippen

Gators Qualifying for Evening “B” Finals

100 Free – Shara Stafford

200 Breast – Hilda Luthersdottir

400 Free Relay – TEAM