Florida Freshmen Show Up Big As Florida Sweeps LSU


  • Friday, October 12th
  • LSU Natatorium, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Short Course Yards
  • Results



  1. Florida – 196
  2. LSU – 104


  1. Florida – 164.5
  2. LSU – 129.5

LSU hosted the Florida Gators at the LSU Natatorium on Friday, October 12th. Florida’s freshmen showed up in a big way. On the women’s side, Florida freshman Vanessa Pearl split 1:01.97 on the breaststroke leg of the women’s 400 medley relay, and was succeeded by fellow freshman Mabel Zavaros who split a 54.52 on the fly leg. Emma Ball (junior) led off with a 53.52, and Isabella Garofalo (junior) anchored in 50.58, with the Gators touching in a final time of 3:40.59.

Florida freshman Leah Braswell stormed to a 9:54.36 in the women’s 1000, beating out teammate Taylor Ault (sophomore), who went 10:00.38. Braswell also negative split the race, posting a 4:59.60 on the first 500, and a 4:54.94 on the 2nd 500. Braswell boasts a personal best of 9:35.71, while Ault’s best is 9:47.24. Ault then took the women’s 500, touching out Braswell 4:52.21 to 4:52.37. Braswell nearly ran down Ault on the final 50 but fell just short, splitting 27.08 to Ault’s 27.93.

Pearl then went on to win both breaststroke events, and the 400 IM. She posted a 1:02.66 to claim victory in the 100 breast, going out in 29.54, and coming home in 33.12. She then swam a 2:14.47 in the 200 breast, posting splits of 30.57, 34.06, 35.12, and 34.72 respectively. In the 400 IM, arguably her most impressive race of the meet, Pearl touched in 4:13.32. She swam a 58.31 fly split, 1:05.18 back, 1:11.35 breast, and 58.48 free. Pearl has personal bests of 1:00.12 in the 100 breast, 2:08.17 in the 200 breast, and 4:05.80 in the 400 IM.

Mabel Zavaros actually swam faster in the 100 fly than she split in the medley relay, finishing with a time of 54.40. She managed to get her hands on the wall before LSU’s Helen Grossman, who touched in 54.61. Zavaros also swam sub-2:00 in the 200 fly, claiming victory with a 1:59.95. She also took the 200 free with a 1:50.19. Emma Ball swam a 53.78 to win the women’s 100 back, just off her medley relay split.

In the men’s meet, Florida’s freshmen also posted positive results. Florida’s Trey Freeman (frehsman) got his hand on the wall first in the 1000, posting a quick 9:02.58 to edge out teammate Khader Baqlah (junior), who finished in 9:02.71. Kieran Smith (freshman) swam a speedy 1:37.39 to win the men’s 200 free by a full 2 seconds. That time sits just 2.4 seconds off his personal best of 1:34.89.

LSU’s Karl Luht posted a 48.45 to win the men’s 100 back. He was the only swimmer in the field to keep both 50 splits under 25 seconds, going out in 23..59, and coming back in 24.86. That time comes in just off his personal best of 46.16. His teammate, Thomas Smith, took the men’s 200 back, touching in 1:46.92. Smith has a personal best of 1:42.77.

Florida’s Grant Sanders and Marco Guarente split the men’s breast events. Guarente out-touched Snaders in the 100 breast, posting a 55.27 to beat out Sanders (55.52). Sanders then touched out Guarente in the 200, posting a 1:59.93 to Guarente’s 2:00.47.

Maxime Rooney took the 100 free and 200 fly. In the 100 free, Rooney posted a 44.57. He was out in a speedy 21.33, and came back in 23.24. Rooney then posted a 1:47.89 to win the 200 fly, marking himself as the only swimmer to break 1:50 in the field.



BATON ROUGE, La. – Florida was led by Emma Ball who broke the LSU Natatorium record in the 100 Back, once in the leadoff leg of the 400 Medley relay. The No. 19-ranked Gators defeated the Tigers 196-104 on Friday as they competed in the first SEC meet of the season at LSU.

Emma BallVanessa PearlMabel Zavaros, and Bella Garofalo combined for the nation’s fastest time in the 400 Medley Relay, with a time of 3:40.59. Ball’s time of 52.53 as the lead-off swimmer set a new LSU pool record. Ball broke the record, which was previously held by former Gator NCAA record holder, Gemma Spofforth. Ball’s time is the second-fastest time in the nation this season. The team of Sherridon DresselKelly FertelGeorgia Marris, and Tori Bindi finished in second with a swim of 3:43.85. Dressel’s lead-off leg of 53.95 is the third-fastest time in country.

With a mark of 9:54.65, Leah Braswell won the 1,000 Free and set the fourth-best time in the country. Taylor Ault notched a second-place finish with a 10:00.38, followed by Nikki Miller with a third-place time of 10:08.21.

Mabel Zavaros, Fertel, and Bindi completed the sweep in the 200 Free. Mabel Zavaros led the field with a 1:50.19, followed by Fertel with a 1:50.22 and Bindi with a 1:50.30.

Ball won the 100 Back with her swim of 53.78. Sydney Sell claimed third with a time of 56.99.

Pearl notched another first-place finish when she won the 100 Breast with a 1:02.66. Layla Black added a third-place finish for the Gators with a time of 1:05.57.

Mabel Zavaros collected her second individual event win of the meet in the 200 Fly. Mabel Zavaros clocked a swim of 1:59.95. Hannah Burns earned a third-place finish with a time of 2:01.32.

Dressel posted the fastest time of the meet in the 50 Free, with a 23.42.

Brooke Madden recorded a third-place finish in the 1-meter with a combined score of 308.63. She collected a score of 331.73 in the 3-meter and placed third. Emma Whitner added NCAA Zone qualifying dives in both the 1-meter and 3-meter, with scores of 269.40 and 283.20, respectively.

Garofalo clocked a 51.14 in the 100 Free as she placed second.

Dressel added another individual event win, as she took first place in the 200 Back, with a time of 1:59.15.

In the 200 Breast, Pearl swam a 2:14.47, for a first-place finish. Burns placed second with a mark of 2:17.50. Black completed the sweep for the Gators, with a 2:19.33.

Ault, Braswell, and Miller added another sweep for Florida. Ault recorded the nation’s 10th-fastest time with a 4:52.21 in the 500 Free. Braswell earned second with a 4:52.37, while Miller added a swim of 5:00.45.

Mabel Zavaros tabbed her third individual event win in the 100 Fly with a swim of 54.40.

Pearl collected her third individual event win after a time of 4:13.32 in the 400 IM, which is the country’s fastest time this season. Fertel placed second with a 4:15.17, which is the second-fastest time in the nation this season. Burns made it another sweep for the Gators with a time of 4:19.71, for the sixth-fastest time in the NCAA this season.

Dressel, Ball, Kirschtine Balbuena and Garofalo combined for second in the 200 Free Relay with a swim of 1:33.38. Bindi, Marris, Celi Guzman, and Fertel recorded a time of 1:36.12 and placed third.

From the coaches – Head Coach Jeff Poppell

  • “It was another outstanding day of racing for our ladies against their first SEC opponent of the season.”
  • “We’re definitely in a much different spot than 2 weeks ago, more tired from some good weeks of training. However, it showed no effect at all on the effort and intensity at which everyone raced.”
  • “I thought our 1,000 and 500 freestyles were much improved over 2 weeks ago and our 400 IMs at the end of the meet were outstanding for the first swims of the year.”
  • Emma Ball’s breaking of Gemma Spofforth’s pool record in the 100 Back was also a solid swim for this early in the season.”

From the coaches – Diving Coach Bryan Gillooly

  • “LSU was great today. They have a lot of talented athletes and Doug Shaffer is a great coach.”
  • “We improved a lot from where we were two weeks ago and were very competitive. We weren’t quite at our best yet, but at this point in the season that’s okay. LSU has set the bar pretty high for the SEC early in the season.”
  • “Brooke was very solid for this point in her training and we got another zone qualifier with Emma Whitner.”



BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Florida men’s swimming & diving team returned to action on Friday as it competed in the first SEC meet of the season at LSU. The men were led by Maxime Rooney, as the No. 8-ranked Gators defeated the Tigers, 164.5-129.5.

In the 400-yard medley relay, Bayley MainMarco GuarenteMaxime Rooney, and Christoph Margotti posted the country’s third-fastest time with a swim of 3:15.29. The team of Brennan BaloghStanley WuWill Davis, and Grady Heath placed third with
a time of 3:20.04.

Trey Freeman clocked the country’s fourth-best time in the 1,000 Free, with a mark of 9:02.58. Khader Baqlahfinished right behind Freeman, with a time of 9:02.71, which is a new personal best. Drew Clark completed the sweep for the Gators, with a 9:24.81.

Kieran Smith and Heath finished first and second, respectively, in the 200 Free. Smith posted a swim of 1:37.39, while Heath clocked a 1:39.44.

Main recorded a second-place finish in the 100 Back with a time of 48.84. Dakota Mahaffey placed third with a swim of 49.93.

Guarente posted the nation’s 10th-fastest time in the 100 Breast, with a mark of 55.27. Grant Sanders notched a personal-best time of 55.52. Stanley Wu completed the sweep for Florida with a time of 55.73.

Rooney and Erge Gezmis finished first and second, respectively, in the 200 Fly. Rooney tied the nation’s sixth-fastest time with a mark of 1:47.89. Gezmis swam a 1:50.57.

In the 50 Free, Will Davis placed second with a time of 20.53. Baqlah finished in third after a new personal-best swim of 20.62.

Rooney collected his second individual event win, as he won the 100 Free with a time of 44.57. Margotti notched a swim of 45.61 and placed second. Main tied Karl Luht of LSU for third place with a mark of 45.73.

Smith swam a 1:49.19 in the 200 Back and placed second. Ethan Beach earned a third-place finish with a time of 1:50.21.

Sanders notched a time of 1:59.93, which is the fifth-best time in the country, in the 200 Breast and finished first. Guarente finished right behind in second with a swim of 2:00.47, the seventh-fastest time in the nation.

Robert Finke collected a first-place finish with a time of 4:30.95 in the 500 Free. Clark added another podium with his second-place time of 4:35.82. Mahaffey completed the sweep for the Gators with a time of 4:36.22.

In the 3-meter diving, Alex Farrow placed third for Florida with a score of 368.93, which stopped LSU from completing the sweep. Farrow’s score was an NCAA Zone qualifying mark.

Finke added another first-place finish in the 400 IM with a swim of 3:58.27, which is the sixth-best time in the NCAA.

From the coaches – Head Coach Anthony Nesty

  • “First of all I would like to thank Mr. Strickland and Mike Spiegler for getting us a charter to Baton Rouge. Hence an easy trip and very exciting for our athletes.”
  • “Great dual meet, we had people in all events swim well and our fundamentals were better than FAU.”
  • “Great job by all classes, Freshman- Trey, Bobby, Kieran, Will Sophomores Juniors – Grant, Maxime, Khader Seniors – Bayley, Christoph Just to name view.”
  • “Short week next week and challenging week as we travel to Austin for a Tri-meet with Texas and Indiana.”

From the coaches – Diving Coach Bryan Gillooly

  • “LSU was great today. They have a lot of talented athletes and Doug Shaffer is a great coach.”
  • “We improved a lot from where we were two weeks ago and were very competitive. We weren’t quite at our best yet, but at this point in the season that’s okay. LSU has set the bar pretty high for the SEC early in the season.”
  • Alex Farrow continues to improve every meet. He had a personal best in the 3-meter.”



BATON ROUGE – The LSU swimming and diving team lost to Florida in the first SEC meet of the season, Friday, but earned some wins in key events. The men fell short 164.5-129.5, while the women fell 196-104. Both the men and women squads are now 2-1 on the season.

The Tigers continued to dominate in the diving well, sweeping all four diving events for the second week in a row.

Juan Celaya-Hernandez continued to show why he is one of the best divers in the country, winning both springboard events. The junior won the one-meter, scoring 429.75, while taking the crown on three meter with an LSU Natatorium record of 478.13.

Lizzie Cui extended her dual-meet streak to 14 consecutive victories after winning both springboards. Cui took gold in the three-meter, scoring 356.55, and won the one-meter, diving to a score of 330.60.

“We had to re-shuffle our routine because of the meet being rescheduled, but I’m glad we were able to sweep the diving events,” said diving head coach Doug Shaffer. “It’s early October, so it’s still early for us, but I’m proud of the way we competed. The end of the meet was a sort of mini SEC Championships in that the noise level rose and our divers got very excited, and they did very well.”

In the pool, the men picked up four victories, while Leyre Casarin was the lone winner for the women.

“It’s been a long week for us,” explained swimming head coach Dave Geyer. “It’s weeks like this that really test your character. We started off a little rough, but started to settle down and see some of those wins in the middle of the meet. We knew coming in that Florida was a really quality team, but I’m impressed with some of the times we swam.”

Karl Luht, Matt Klotz. Thomas Smith, and Lewis Clough each earned a win for the Tigers.

Luht won the 100-yard backstroke for the second week in a row, winning gold with a time of 48.45 seconds. Luht still holds the 10th fastest time in the country.

Klotz proves to be one of the better sprinters in the country, winning the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.45. That time currently sits tied for 17th in the country.

Smith easily won the 200-yard backstroke, touching the wall at 1:46.92, while Clough won the 100-yard butterfly in 48.42 seconds.

Casarin was the only female swimmer to top the podium in an individual event, as she won the 100-yard freestyle for the second week in a row with a time of 50.98 seconds.

The women also ended the meet with a win the 200-yard freestyle relay, as Summer Spradley, Haylee Knight, Casarin and Grace Horton teamed up to swim a 1:32.73.

Next up for the Tigers is a trip to Lexington to take on Kentucky on October 23 at 3:00 p.m. CT.

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5 years ago

It’s a very good sign for the women’s team to be going 3:40 in the 400MR now when the fastest they went all last year was a 3:38. Mabel Zavaros has yet to lose a race, and she’s now swam the 200/500/1000 free, 200 back, 100/200 fly, and 400 IM. What a great catch for UF.

Reply to  Aquajosh
5 years ago

I agree with you. I know how good Mabel and Rosie are. I’m their Grandfather.

Reply to  GandpaZ
5 years ago

Congrats my main man

5 years ago

NC STATE Freshmen women show up even bigger!

Reply to  PPKL
5 years ago

That’s a non-sequitur if I’ve ever read one…