Florida swimmers excel at NCAA championships, Day Two

AUSTIN, Texas – Freshman Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) swam the 14th-fastest 400-yard individual medley in short-course yard history as the Gators qualified for the “A” finals in two events Friday 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 Beisel’s 400 IM success, freshman Hilda Luthersdottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) broke the school record in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.10).

“I was really pleased with how the women came back today after yesterday’s adversity,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “We raced really tough and put ourselves in a situation to at least be respectable.”

Beisel dominated the morning’s 400 IM session, putting her hand on the wall in 4:02.34 to win the fifth heat. The time was just .06 seconds away from breaking Stanford’s Summer Sanders’ pool record of 4:02.28, set at the 1992 NCAA Championships on March 20, 1992. The time was also the 14th-quickest mark in short-course yard history. Beisel’s teammate, junior Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.), also placed in the “A” finals with a time of 4:06.31. The time ranked seventh overall in the morning, and marked her fastest swim in the event since going 4:02.91 at last year’s NCAA Championships.

Junior Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.) qualified for the “B” finals (14th overall) in the same event with a personal-best tying 4:08.65. Her time tied her seventh-place mark in school history for fastest in the event. Also competing in the event for the Orange and Blue was junior Angelina Ballatore (Gainesville, Fla.), who finished 30th with a time of 4:14.82.

Fellow junior Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) had her best race of the meet in the 200-yard freestyle, placing seventh overall and advancing to the “A” finals. Stafford’s time of 1:44.11 was her fastest since going 1:44.00 at last year’s NCAA Championships. Sophomore Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.) took the final spot in the “B” finals with a time of 1:45.15 (16th overall).

Luthersdottir also made a “B” final of her own, touching the wall in 1:00.10 in the 100 breast to break the school record. The personal-best mark edged out Vipa Bernhardt’s 2005 mark of 1:00.11, set in 2005. Also competing in the 100 breast was sophomore Sarra Lajnef (Tunis, Tunisia), who clocked in at 1:01.63 to finish 32nd.

Junior Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.) competed in the 100-yard butterfly, placing 29th overall (53.46). Freshman Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia) finished four spots behind her in 33rd, as her personal-best time of 53.63 was just .02 seconds off of placing in the top 10 in school history. Zalewski also competed in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing 48th with a time of 54.94. Fellow freshman Alana Pazevic (Mill Creek, Wash.) finished six spots in front of Zalewski in the event, clocking in at 54.32.

The morning started off with the women’s 200-yard medley relay. The quartet of Pazevic, Luthersdottir, Zalewski and Bateman joining forces to finish in 1:38.08. The 10th-place time qualified the Orange and Blue for the “B” final for the evening session.

Gators Qualifying for Evening “A” Finals

400 IM – Elizabeth Beisel, Teresa Crippen

200 Free – Shara Stafford

Gators Qualifying for Evening “B” Finals

200 Medley Relay – TEAM

400 IM – Kirsten Smith

200 Free – Jamie Bohunicky

100 Breast – Hilda Luthersdottir