Gators strong in relays on Day 1

It was all about the relays for the University of Florida swimming team on the first day of the SEC championships. The men’s and women’s squads combined to earn two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes. After day one both the men and women are in sixth place. The men have 67 points while the women have 66 points.

“I’m really pleased with how everyone came out and performed tonight,” UF coach Gregg Troy said. “I told you that we would see good, hard, honest efforts from our kids and we ended up seeing just that. We’re working on the team score, which will come, but on the same token our individual times, which we saw in the women’s 800-freestyle relay.”

In that race, Jamie Bohunicky, Elizabeth Beisel, Teresa Crippen, and Natasha Fung teamed up to take home second with a time of 7:00.32, solid enough for a NCAA ‘A’ cut time. The time also is Florida’s third fastest all-time and will put them automatically into the NCAA meet in March at Auburn. The defending SEC champion Georgia Bulldogs were the only ones to beat the Gators in this race with a time of 6:59.42.

“The girls came in and accomplished one part of the meet that we had talked about – qualifying for the NCAA meet in March. When you do that, and put in the second fastest time in the country behind the nation’s leader – it’s really not that bad,” Troy said. “Would you love to win? Of course, but NCAA is our ultimate goal, and they made it there with their time.”

The men also placed second in the 800-freestyle relay. Marcin Cieslak, Connor Signorin, Nicholas Caldwell, and Eduardo Solache-Gomez put up a NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 6:20.86 and were just edged out by the Auburn squad who touched the wall at 6:20.76.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t finish first, but with our relays not in the best spot heading into this weekend I am pleased with what we got,” Troy noted. “We have a young team, but we try not to let that get in the way. I think Eduardo, Marcin…all of them showed us that tonight – they all swam hard and pushed into the wall. We gave them a run for their money on that one.”

In the 200-medley relay, the men and women would both place third. Beisel, Hilda Luthersdottir, Ellese Zalewski, and Sarah Bateman earned a NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 1:37.29. That time is the fifth fastest in Gators history. The Gators barely edged out the Bulldogs who finished in 1:37.62. Christian Homer, Matt Elliott, Cieslak and Brad deBorde finished in 1:26.28, a time worthy of a NCAA ‘B’ cut.

On the diving boards, Kaylee Doback, the only Gator diver there, finished in 19th with 234.40 points in the one-meter competition. In the men’s three-meter dive, Michael Lewark place 16th with a score of 326.60. Christopher Jones finished in 20th with 310.50 points.

Women’s Standings after Day 1:

1. Tennessee 118 points

2. Auburn 101 points

3. LSU 74 points

4. Georgia 72 points

5. South Carolina 67 points

6. Florida 66 points

7. Arkansas 59 points

8. Alabama 58 points

9. Vanderbilt 32 points

10. Kentucky 30 points

Men’s Standings after Day 1:

1. Auburn 106 points

1. Tennessee 106 points

3. LSU 73 points

3. Georgia 73 points

5. Kentucky 71 points

6. Florida 67 points

7. South Carolina 63 points

Gator Country reporter Sara Ladwig can be reached at