Gators Wrap Road Trip with Split at Auburn



By Layne Weitzel

UF totaled 13 event wins across the board, including a sweep of all four diving events

AUBURN, Ala. – In UF’s final regular-season road contest, the Gators split with No. 6/11 Auburn on the Plains. The 10th-ranked Gator men defeated the Tigers 163-137 with the help of 10 event wins, while the 20th-ranked women won three events but fell 197-103.

The women’s loss was just the first in the last four dual meetings with Auburn, while the men improve to 3-1 since the 2013-14 season.

Samuel Smith helped out the men on the springboard events, taking the 1-meter with 348.53 points (a season-high by .31) and the 3-meter with 388.20 points, his second-best turnout of the season.

Caeleb Dressel touched first in his signature events – the 50 free (19.21), 100 fly (46.35) and 100 free (42.64).

Maxime Rooney, Mitch D’Arrigo and Ben Lawless finished off the Gator freestyle sweep. Rooney won the 200 free in 1:35.84, D’Arrigo the 500 free in 4:26.36 and Lawless the 1000 free in 9:07.61 (Florida’s best time in the event this season).

Jan Switkowski rounded out the men’s individual wins, placing first in the 200 fly at 1:46.07.

The A-team of Jack Blyzinskyj, Chandler Bray, Switkowski and Dressel also teamed up to win the meet-opening 200 medley relay in 1:26.75.

On the women’s side, Florida swept both springboard events. Teya Syskakis won the 3-meter with a 295.35 score, while Brooke Madden collected the 1-meter title with a team- and season-best 305.03 score.

Sydney Sell had the lone Florida women’s win between the lane lines, placing first in the 200 back at 1:59.30. It was her second win in the event this month, having previously won at Miami.

“We got off to a really slow start for the women. We certainly would’ve liked to have scored a little bit better, but it was a good Auburn team and a lot of good races. We ran all the races – we just didn’t do as good a job in closing the deal. I’m really proud of the way they turned it around. The second half of the meet was much better. It certainly gives us a good feel for where we’re at and the things we have to work on in the next few weeks. We’ve got some freshmen who stepped up pretty well. Savanna Faulconer was good again. Kelly Fertel was really good. We saw some improvement in Tori Bindi. We just have a ways to go in what we need to work on.

“For the men, we jumped all over Auburn up front. We swam really well at the front half of the meet. We moved some things around lineup-wise. We wanted to see some different things. We saw a lot of things that will help us make decisions moving forward. Caeleb Dressel was outstanding. Maxime Rooney was especially good. We had a lot of guys do some special things. The breaststrokers improved a lot.”

“Overall, this was our best performance of the year. Each meet we are learning more about ourselves and making improvements. Auburn is a great team and SEC rival. This meet will really help our preparation for the SEC championships. We still have room to improve, but the potential is there. Winning all four events will definitely help our confidence for the final push this season. I am very proud of this group of athletes, their hard work and their contribution to the team.”

1-meter – Samuel Smith (348.53)
3-meter – Samuel Smith (388.20)
50 free – Caeleb Dressel (19.21)
100 fly – Caeleb Dressel (46.35)
100 free – Caeleb Dressel (42.64)
200 fly – Jan Switkowski (1:46.07)
200 free – Maxime Rooney (1:35.84)
500 free – Mitch D’Arrigo (4:26.36)
1000 free – Ben Lawless (9:07.61)
200 medley relay – A-team (Jack Blyzinskyj, Chandler Bray, Jan Switkowski, Caeleb Dressel) – 1:26.75

1-meter – Brooke Madden (305.03)
3-meter – Teya Syskakis (295.35)
200 back – Sydney Sell (1:59.30)

Florida makes its much-awaited return to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium on Saturday, Jan. 28, where it will face NR/No. 17 Tennessee at 10 a.m. The Gators will also honor their seven seniors in a ceremony prior to the meet.

Florida Swim Network will be on-hand to broadcast the January 28 meet, starting with a special edition of College SwimDay, hosted by James Bates, Jessica Thielmann, and Natalie Hinds. You can watch on the SEC Network.