The Florida Gators rocketed to big leads over in-state rivals Florida State Saturday and rode the momentum to dominating wins.
Between both genders, Florida went 1-2 or better in the first 6 individual events.
Individually, the Gator women kicked things off with a 1-2-3 sweep of the 1000 free, led by British junior Jess Thielmann. Thielmann, who’s been a stalwart in the distances for Florida this season, was 9:48.94, the only swimmer under ten minutes.
In the next two races, Lindsey McKnight led a 1-2 of the 200 free (1:48.86) and Sinead Russell led a 1-2 of the 100 back (54.77).
That came after Florida State took the opening 400 medley relay in 3:40.79. That was led by a nice 53.22 fly split from Chelsea Britt and a 48.71 from anchor Kaitlyn Dressel.
Britt won two events to lead FSU, sweeping the butterfly races. She paced the 200 fly in 1:58.26, a solid margin, and led a 1-2 sweep of the 100 fly with a 53.98. She won that race by over two seconds.
Dressel, meanwhile, had an entertaining back-and-forth in the sprints with Florida’s stud Natalie Hinds. Hinds took home the 50 free in 23.10, with Dressel just behind in 23.12. Dressel struck back in the 100 free, though, going 49.46 to Hinds’ 49.72.
Thielmann and Russell each won one more event for Florida, Thielmann the 500 (4:50.50) and Russell the 200 back (1:58.74). McKnight went on to win two more events, the 200 IM in 2:02.28 and the 200 breast in 2:18.21.
It was a relatively quiet debut for German European Champ Theresa Michalak. The Florida freshman was second in the 200 IM (2:02.90) and 100 breast (1:03.79), plus third in the 200 breast (2:20.07). That event selection is about what many had predicted for the versatile Michalak, who’s been outstanding in the 200 IM long course, but could serve to fill Florida’s breaststroking gap this season.
The times for Michalak also reflect how most of the Florida team swam – the times weren’t necessarily spectacular, but the team seemed to be showing some of the fatigue that most college programs do coming out of their Christmas training schedules, particularly Gregg Troy-coached teams.
The teams split diving, with FSU’s Katrina Young scoring 329.25 on 1-meter and Florida’s Kahlia Warner putting up 334.42 to win 3-meter. In that event, she nipped Young by just under a point.
Florida State’s Natalie Pierce won the 100 breast, going 1:03.38, and Florida ended the meet with a win in the 200 free relay. That team went 1:32.24, led by a 22.49 from Hinds.
The Florida men started much the same way, sweeping the first two individual races in 1-2-3 finishes, plus a 1-2 in the third event.
Arthur Frayler led the 1000 free, which was a huge event for the Gators. Though they officially could only go 1-2-3, the team swept the top 6 finishes. Frayler’s 9:03.96 led the way by over 15 seconds.
Then in the 200 free, Mitch D’Arrigo went 1:39.21 to lead a 1-2-3-4 sweep. Second was Corey Main (1:39.83), who had a big night of his own individually.
Finally, the 100 back was a 1-2 finish for Florida, led by Christian-Paul Homer‘s 48.81.
Once again, the three-event rampage by Florida erased an early Florida State lead. FSU won the 400 medley relay in 3:15.81, led by its two middle legs – Jason Coombs was a quick 53.68 on breast and Connor Knight split 47.33 on fly.
Main was the big winner for Florida, adding two event titles to his runner-up finish in the 200 free. Main took the 50 free (20.29) and 100 free (44.97) to complete a sprint sweep for the Gators.
On the other side, Knight was the top FSU contender, sweeping the butterfly races. His 1:46.98 led the 200 fly by almost three seconds, and his 47.39 crushed the 100 fly field by a second and a half. That 100 fly time is especially impressive considering he was just .06 off the split he put up from a flying relay start earlier in the meet.
Frayler also doubled up in races, adding the 500 free (4:26.36) to his 1000 title.
Florida’s dynamic breaststroke duo of Matt Elliott and Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez combined to sweep the breaststroke races. Elliott took the 200 in 1:59.41, while Solaeche-Gomez won the 100 in 55.00.
Florida State swept diving with Dylan Grisell scoring 411.52 on 1-meter and Kalonji Cole putting up 332.42 on 3-meter. The Seminoles also got a 200 IM win from Coombs, who went 1:49.29.
Florida’s other wins came in the 100 back (Jack Blyzinskyj in 1:50.21) and the 200 free relay. That team went 1:20.39, led by a 19.64 split from Main.