Gators Sweep Three-Day Buckeye Invitational
By Ben Schmitz
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The University of Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams ended the Buckeye Invitational on a high note Sunday night, sweeping the competition field for a pair of wins inside the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on Columbus, Ohio. Throughout Day Three competition, the Gators accounted for 13 wins, 13 US Olympic Trial-qualifying times, three NCAA ‘A’ cuts, and 26 ‘B’ cuts.
Senior Natalie Hinds and sophomore Jan Switkowski each punched their tickets to the 2016 NCAA Championships with a pair of ‘A’ cut and event-winning times to highlight their individual swims on Sunday. Hinds earned hers in the 100 freestyle (47.75) while Switkowski’s came in the 200 butterfly (1:42.08).The Orange and Blue accounted for wins in 8-of-14 events in tonight’s finals session, which was swum in short course yards.
Seniors Jessica Thielmann and Arthur Frayler put together a pair of first-place swims in the 1,650 freestyle. Thielmann touched out with a time of 15:56.32 while Frayler came in at the 14:52.12 mark. Both times currently lead the country.
Junior Jack Blyzinskyj kept things rolling in the 200 backstroke for the men’s squad, swimming to a first-place time of 1:41.96
Sophomore Caeleb Dressel also gave the Orange and Blue a solid effort — this one coming in the 200 butterfly where the Green Cove Springs, Florida, native posted the nation’s top time and brought home a first-place finish with a time of 42.54.
During Sunday’s preliminary session, the Gators posted wins in 5-of-8 events while registering 13 US Olympic Trial-qualifying times (complete chart below). Florida’s first-place times came from Dressel (100 free) and Switkowski (200 butterfly), junior Georgia Hohmann (200 back), and seniors Corey Main (200 back) and Hinds (100 free).
The men’s 400 freestyle relay group of Dressel, Switkowski, and seniors Pawel Werner and Main guaranteed themselves a spot at the 2016 NCAA Championships with an ‘A’ cut time of 2:50.45 in the 400 freestyle relay. Their first-place mark currently leads the country and ranks third all-time in UF history.
The women’s quartet of freshman Mollie Pulte, sophomore Elisavet Panti, and seniors Ashlee Linn and Hinds nearly hit an NCAA ‘A’ cut in the 400 freestyle relay. The foursome touched out with a time of 3:16.46, hardly missing the ‘A’ cut standard of 3:16.15. Despite missing the ‘A’ cut, the group’s finish leads all collegiate times in 2015.
In the diving well, the Florida women went 5-7 off the platform. Senior Kahlia Warner led the bunch with a season-best mark of 272.63. Senior Delaney Dye (255.83) and freshman Abigail Howell (240.75) also dove to season-best scores off the platform.
Senior Zach Hernandez led the Florida men on the platform, diving to a score of 317.63 and finished sixth overall. FreshmanDalton Goss (296.55) followed behind in seventh.
Head Coach Gregg Troy’s Take:
“It was a very good weekend of racing. Both teams showed a lot of character and intensity. We did an outstanding job of staying focused and fought tough through the entire competition.”
Head Diving Coach Dale Schultz:
“We faced a tough field of competition this weekend and I’m proud of the way this group battled and gave remarkable efforts throughout the invitational.’
Looking ahead, the Gator swimmers will return to action Thursday, December 3, competing in Federal Way, Washington at the USA Swimming Nationals. Florida’s divers will spend a few weeks away from competition before they return on December 15, at the USA Diving Nationals in Federal Way, Washington.
Florida Swim Network