Freshman sprinter Caeleb Dressel didn’t have to wait long to get his first collegiate win. In Florida’s first men’s dual of the season, Dressel won two races to power the Gators past LSU.
On the women’s side, Jessica Thielmann won twice at the other end of the yardage spectrum. She topped the 500 free and 1000 free to help the Lady Gators pick up a win of their own.
Dressel was the story early and late. He kicked off the meet with a blistering 21.37 butterfly split on Florida’s second medley relay in a 1-2 sweep. The Florida native came back for his most headline-grabbing swim of the day, going 19.94 to dominate the 50 free. That made Dressel one of just four men in the nation to crack the 20-second barrier as of Friday night.
Dressel also won the 100 fly in 48.39, showing some of the versatility that has drawn raves from head coach Gregg Troy. Dressel closed his night with what was perhaps his best swim, splitting 43.44 on the 400 free relay, the field’s second-best split, though all the Florida relays were exhibitioned. The fastest was Pawel Werner, who went a blazing 43.07.
Florida’s two-headed breaststroke duo of Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez and Matt Elliott combined for back-to-back wins early in the meet. Solaeche took the 100 breast in 54.87, while Elliott slid to the 200 fly and went 1:48.35 for a win over LSU’s top swimmer Frank Greef (1:48.97).
Both breaststrokers took the week off of the 200, allowing Scottish IMer Dan Wallace to pick up a win in a different event. Wallace was 2:04.32.
LSU’s only pool win came in the 200 back, where sophomore Brandon Goldman went 1:49.48 and his teammate Michael Young snuck in for second place at 1:49.80. Goldman was also second in the 200 IM, going 1:53.07 to come in just behind Florida’s Carlos Omana (1:51.11).
Louisiana State’s Andrew Suchla also won the 1-meter diving event, scoring 308.40.
But other than that 200 back, it was all Florida on the men’s side. The Gators swept the freestyles. In addition to Dressel’s 50 win, Corey Main won the 100 (44.81), Pawel Werner the 200 (1:39.04), Mitch D’Arrigo the 500 (4:29.43) and Nicholas Alexiou the 1000 (9:30.87).
Other winners were Jack Blyzinski in the 100 back (48.67) and Zach Hernandez in 3-meter diving (352.88). Florida took the win 162.5 to 122.5.
British freestyler Jessica Thielmann has been impressive in the early goings this season, and she kept that up in the third meet for the Florida women. Thielmann won both distance races convincingly. Her 9:55.52 in the 1000 free checked her into 4th place in the nation so far, and she came directly off that to swim the very next event, the 200 free, and take second in 1:49.16. That event went to her teammate Lindsey McKnight in 1:48.74.
Thielmann was also great in the 500 free, going 4:49.02 to win by a wide margin.
McKnight won that 200 free and continues to impress as a utility player across the lineup. She split a very solid 28.40 swimming breaststroke on the winning 200 medley relay, and looks like she’s still the Gators’ top option, at least in the shorter of the two medleys. She wasn’t as quick in the 100 breast, going 1:04.66, but that was also only 4 events after the 200 free. McKnight also led off the winning 400 free relay in 50.81.
McKnight looks like she’ll fill in perfectly in the 200 medley relay, but it appears Florida is giving her plenty of work in the 100 breast this season to see if she can be the relay leg in the 400 medley as well. Breaststroke continues to be a troublesome area for the Gators, as they gave up both individual breaststroke wins to LSU sophomore Colleen O’Neil, who went 1:02.52 in the 100 and 2:18.34 in the 200 and was never really challenged in either.
In addition to Thielmann’s two wins, Florida also got a double from Natalie Hinds. The sprinter went 22.66 to win the 50, then came right back after diving to pace the 100 in 49.47. LSU countered with double wins from butterflyer Kara Kopcso, who took the 200 fly (1:58.34) and 200 IM (2:01.63). Kopcso was also second in the 100 fly to her teammate Amber Carter (Carter was 53.89, Kopcso 55.35).
Florida’s Sinead Russel won the 100 back in 54.18, beating talented LSU junior Caley Oquist (54.89). Florida had two women tie for the 200 back victory, with Ashlee Linn and Georgia Hohmann each putting up 1:58.08s.
The teams split diving, with Kahlia Warner winning on 1-meter for Florida (289.05) and Cassie Weil taking 3-meter for LSU (318.68). The Gators took home the team title 166-134.