Minneapolis, Minn. – Led by national championships in the 200-yard freestyle and 800-yard freestyle relay, the No. 5 University of Florida men’s swimming and diving team improved its overall standings on day two of the 2011 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, swimming from seventh place to fifth Friday night at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn. California overtook Texas as the overall team leader with 352 points, while Texas slipped to second (288.5), followed by Stanford (278.5), Arizona (214) and Florida. The two titles now give the UF men’s program 40 NCAA Championships in its history.
“We had a fantastic day today,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the guys. We stood up and raced tough all day long; especially Conor Dwyer. He took adversity and did the very best with it.”
The Gators captured their first NCAA title of the meet when senior Brett Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) won his first national championship by leading wire-to-wire in the 200 free. The 2008 Olympian’s personal-best time of 1:32.21 was the ninth-fastest time in short-course yard history in the event, a pool record and the third-quickest mark all-time at Florida. The title was the fifth for Florida in the history of the event, and with the triumph by Fraser, the Gators became the only school in NCAA history to have a different swimmer win the national title in the 200 free in three consecutive years. Fraser also joins his brother Shaune (2009) as just the second first brother combination (Seth and Martin Pepper of Arizona, 100 Fly, 1993 and 1996) in NCAA history to win a national championship in the same event.
“Brett Fraser really stepped up for us today,” Troy said. “His work ethic and attitude prepared him for this event, and he was tremendous.”
Also competing in the 200 free was sophomore Sebastien Rousseau (George Town, Cayman Islands), who picked up his fourth career All-America honor by placing seventh in the finals with a personal-best time of 1:34.19. Junior Jeffrey Raymond (Davie, Fla.) earned his second straight honorable mention All-America honor in the event, placing sixth in the 200 free “B” finals with a time of 1:35.21.
In the last event of the evening, senior Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) joined forces with Fraser, Rousseau and Raymond to bring home the school’s seventh NCAA title in the 800 free relay. The Florida foursome combined to win the race in 6:14.88, the third-fastest time in school history. The NCAA title was Dwyer’s third, Fraser’s second and Rousseau and Raymond’s first.
“I am so happy for two guys like Sebastien and Jeff,” Troy said. “They were essential in our relay success, and the effort they gave tonight in the back-end of the relay was exactly the type of premier performances we strive for at Florida.”
In other races, senior captain Mike Joyce (Voorhees, N.J.) took home his first career All-America honor by finishing sixth in the finals of the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:45.03. Winning the “B” finals of the event and picking up his ninth career All-America honor was fellow senior captain Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.), who touched the wall in 3:42.49, almost three seconds faster than his morning prelim time and tied for the third-quickest time in the evening session. Like Joyce, freshman Connor Signorin picked up his first career All-America honor in the event, earning honorable mention accolades by taking fifth in the “B” finals with a time of 3:45.82.
Other All-America honors for UF included redshirt sophomore Marco Loughran (London, England) and freshman Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland). Loughran took fifth in the “A” finals of the 100-yard backstroke, earning his sixth All-America honor with a time of 46.06, while Cieslak earned his third All-America honor of the meet by finishing seventh in the “B” finals of the 100-yard butterfly. The 2011 SEC Male Freshman Swimmer of the Year put his hand on the wall in 46.70 to place 15th overall.
In the first event of the evening, Loughran, sophomore Rodion Davelaar (Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles), Cieslak and Fraser earned All-America honors in the 200-yard medley relay with a sixth-place time of 1:25.69.
TOP-10 TEAM STANDING ENTERING FINAL DAY
1. California – 352
2. Texas – 288.5
3. Stanford – 278.5
4. Arizona – 214
5. Florida – 213
6. Auburn – 178.5
7. Southern California – 146
8. Virginia – 145
9. Michigan – 131
10. Ohio State – 97