Swimming excels on international scene

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With the 2007-08 season on the horizon, Florida swimmers have set out in pursuit of excellence this summer, representing their respective nations and UF at several international and national meets.

After a dominating performance by Ryan Lochte at the World Championships in Melbourne, Australia in March, where he posted two world records, first as part of the 800 free relay team and next in the

200 back, UF swimmers have gone on to solidify themselves as world class swimmers in what has turned out to be a fantastic summer for the Gators.

Lochte also came away with a Silver medal in both the 200 and 400 individual medleys at the championships while going on to defeat former record holder Aaron Piersol in the 200 back by nearly a half-second to take the gold and the world record.  Lochte continued to prove his dominance in the medley events as he took two gold medals in the 200 and

400 IM events at the 2007 ConocoPhillips National Championships.

At the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer UF once again looked solid as Gator swimmers of both past and present returned home with nine medals and 15 top eight finishes.  Current Gators Tobias Work (Silver, 400 Free), Caroline Burckle (Gold 800 Free), Shaune Fraser

(Silver 200 free, finalist 100 free), Bradley Ally (Bronze in the 200 IM, finalist 400 IM), Luca Salatta (Gold, 4×200 FR, Bronze, 200 back), Omar Pinzon (finalist in the 400 IM, 200 Back, 200 Fly, and 100 Fly) and Laurabeth Guenthner (finalist, 800 free) joined former Gators Gabriel Mangabeira (Silver, 100 fly), Adam Sioui (Bronze, 200 free) and Ricardo Monasterio (Silver 1500 Free) in representing five separate nations as well as UF.

The National Championships proved to be just as successful for UF as Work added another medal to his summer collection, earning a bronze in the 400 free.  He was the only current Gator to win a medal as former UF standout Dara Torres joined Lochte on the list of veterans to earn gold.

Torres, who is also a four-time Olympian won both the 50 and 100 frees, eclipsing her own American record in the 50 free.  Current Gators swam their way to 15 top-10 finishes over the course of the week.

Led by Gemma Spofforth, who broke the UF record in the 100 meter back, on the women’s side and Clark Burckle, who swam to three personal best times over the course of the week, current Gators swam into the UF record books 13 times at Nationals. 

Lucas DeMatteis, who completed his eligibility with the Gators in the spring, swam to a silver medal in the 100 breast during the Italian Nationals meet.  DeMatteis, a native Italian, also clocked in with a top finish in the 200 breast.

“Basically, it has been a fantastic summer and the passion and pursuit of excellence has been a common thread among all Gators this summer.  The upcoming season is looking very promising.” said Associate Head Coach Anthony Nesty.

UF kicks off their season the weekend of September 7-8 with Alumni Weekend festivities.  The Gators will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the University of Virginia in their first dual meet of the season on October 11.