AUSTIN, Texas – The No. 8 University of Florida women’s swimming and diving team climbed the overall team standings on the second day of the 2011 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, moving from 10th place (53 points) to seventh place (149 points) Friday at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas. California is the new overall leader with 295 points, followed by Georgia (274.5), Southern Cal (253), Stanford (192), Arizona (184), Texas (172) and Florida.
“I’m really proud of how well our women battled today,” head coach Gregg Troy said. “We weren’t on all cylinders yesterday, but came in to this morning and did a great job. We raced real tough and I could not have been more proud.”
Freshman Elizabeth Beisel (North Kingstown, R.I.) recorded the highest finish of any Gator so far this week, placing second in the finals of the 400-yard individual medley for her second career All-America honor. Beisel’s time of 4:00.87 was quicker than the existing pool record of 4:02.28 set by Stanford’s Summer Sanders at the 1992 NCAA Championships, and fell just short of her SEC record and personal-best time of 4:00.83 at the 2011 SEC Championships. Junior Teresa Crippen (Conshohocken, Pa.) took seventh in the event by touching the wall in 4:05.36, improving almost a full second (4:06.31) from her prelim time and picking her team-best eighth All-America nod. Crippen’s time was her fastest since swimming 4:02.91 at last year’s NCAA Championships. Fellow junior Kirsten Smith (Cary, N.C.) competed in the “B” final, finishing 15th overall with a time of 4:09.93. With the finish, Smith picked up her first career honorable mention All-America honor.
Junior teammate Shara Stafford (Topeka, Kan.) was the Gators’ highest finisher in the 200-yard freestyle, taking eighth (1:45.65) for her seventh career All-America honor. Finishing eighth in the “B” final and picking up honorable mention All-America honors was sophomore Jamie Bohunicky (Gainesville, Fla.), who clocked in at 1:45.66.
In the last event of the evening, the group of Stafford, Bohunicky, Crippen and Beisel finished fifth in the finals of the 800-yard freestyle relay. The foursome’s time of 7:00.89 marked the third-quickest in school history, and vaulted Florida up to seventh in the overall team standings, while giving each swimmer All-America honors. The time was also below the previous pool record of 7:00.97 set by host Texas on Feb. 23 of this year at the Big 12 Championships.
“We struggled a little bit with leadership, but we found some this weekend,” Troy said. “These girls took control last night and they made a commitment to come in today and get some things done. We saw some real character today from Shara Stafford, Hilda Luthersdottir, Jamie Bohunicky and Teresa Crippen. They were fantastic.”
Senior diver Monica Dodson (Franklin, Ind.) also finished fifth in her event, scoring 350.85 on the three-meter springboard. The fifth-place finish was her highest finish in any event in four career appearances at the NCAA Championships, as the only senior on the team racked up her fourth career All-America honor.
“I’m so excited for Monica,” head diving coach Donnie Craine said. “She’s never made the finals on any of the springboard events. She came in after winning the SEC Championship in the three-meter and made that her goal (to final). She did it and who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow (on the platform).”
Also being named an All-American was freshman Hilda Luthersdottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland), who picked up her first career honorable mention accolade in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:00.16, just .06 seconds shy of the school record she broke earlier in the day at prelims.
In the first event of the evening, Florida’s foursome of freshmen Alana Pazevic (Mill Creek, Wash.), Luthersdottir and Ellese Zalewski (Melbourne, Australia), along with junior Sarah Bateman (Orlando, Fla.), took 15th overall with a time of 1:38.95.
Entering the final day of competition last year, the Gators stood in fifth place with 236 points behind Stanford (266.5), Georgia (262.5), Arizona (259.5) and California (256). Florida went on to win its first national championship in 28 years.
The third and final day of competition begins with prelims at 12 p.m. ET, followed by finals at 8 p.m. ET.
TOP-10 TEAM STANDINGS ENTERING THE FINAL DAY
1. California – 295
2. Georgia – 274.5
3. Southern Cal – 253
4. Stanford -192
5. Arizona – 184
6. Texas – 172
7. Florida – 149
8. Minnesota – 139
9. Auburn – 127
10. Texas A&M – 124