Florida Gators Win All-Florida Invite For Fifth Consecutive Year

The Florida Gators played host to many teams as they held the All-Florida invite, ultimately winning both the men’s and women’s categories to secure their fifth straight win at the event.

On the men’s side it was a landslide for the Gators as they took down their closet rivals, the Florida State Seminoles 1395 to 923. They faced a lot more of a challenge from the women as the strong Cal team came charging, but it was Florida winning with 956 points to Cal’s 861.

The meet kicked off with the women’s 200 freestyle relay which had the Florida Gators taking down the Cal Golden Bears 1:30.69 to 1:32.02. The fastest split of the race was a 22.03 for Florida junior Natalie Hinds.

The Gators also won the men’s version of the event which took down the Florida State Seminoles to give the Gators their second consecutive win of the meet. The Gators team clocked in at 1:20.85 for gold followed by the Seminoles who touched the wall at 1:21.89.

Jessica Thielmann from Florida took control of the first individual event of the meet, the women’s 500 yard freestyle, with a winning time of 4:47.82. That time was good enough to take down Cal freshman Cierra Runge who touched second in 4:50.38. Behind her was Megan Rankin from Florida who rounded out the top three with a 4:51.61.

In the men’s 500 yard freestyle it was the Gators’ Mitch D’arrigo who earned himself an NCAA B-cut with a time of 4:24.67. He had a huge victory beating second place finisher Ed Solaeche-Gomez by over five full seconds.

Cal teammates Elizabeth Pelton and Celina Li faced off in the 200 yard IM final, but it was Li who had the golden touch to beat Pelton at the wall. Li had a huge lead on Pelton following the fly leg, Pelton made up a little bit of room on the backstroke, they were practically dead even on the breaststroke, and Pelton came charging home in the freestyle splitting a 27.41 on that last 50, but wasn’t able to catch Li. Li won the event in 1:58.81 to Pelton’s 1:59.03.

Ed Solaeche-Gomez from the University of Florida who finished second in the 500 yard freestyle was able to get his hand on the wall first in the 200 yard IM, touching the wall in a winning time of 1:47.58. That time secured him a NCAA B-cut,m as it did second place finisher Matt Elliott also hailing from the University of Florida who finished the race in 1:47.95 just behind Solaeche-Gomez.

Natalie Hinds who was a art of the Gators wining 200 freestyle relay demonstrated her raw speed once more with a victory in the 50 freestyle. Hinds threw down a 22.44 to win the event by over half-a-second and grab an NCAA B-cut. Second place finisher Emma Svensson also managed to get under that mark, dropping a 22.97 to finish second overall. Kaitlyn Dressel of Florida State was third.

The men’s splash-and-dash was a whole lot close, with eventual winner Corey Main battling it out with Thiago Sickert. It was Main who held off Sickert with a time of 20.30, Sickert finishing second in 20.46. Florida Gator Caeleb Dressel finished third behind the two leaders in 20.53.

The Gators added to their overall points totals as Kahlia Warner and Zach Hernandez won their respective one meter events.

The 4x100m medley relays both went to Florida, the women’s winning time being 3:41.26, the men’s 3:14.90. In the women’s race, Cal ended up finishing second with a team of Rachel Bootsma, Marina Garcia, Noemie Thomas, and Caroline Piehl. The Florida B-team finished second in the men’s race.

The women’s 200 medley relay was slated right after, and it went to the Seminoles with a time of 1:40.91. Second to them was the Cal team which featured Rachel Bootsma, who split a 25.93 on the backstroke, and recent freshman from Canada Noemie Thomas. Thomas had the third fastest fly split of the group posting a 22.18 to help the Golden Bears secure a second place finish in 1:41.46. The University of Florida was third in 1:41.49.

The Gators won the men’s 200 medley relay however, taking the event in a swift 1:28.61. The A-team which finished first had Caleb Dressel swimming the anchor leg, coming home in 19.82. The Florida B-team finished second in 1:29.60.

Elizabeth Pelton of Cal lost the 400 yard IM to teammate Kelly Naze. Naze ended up winning the event in 4:17.80, Pelton was second in 4:18.66. Third was 500 yard freestyle winner Jessica Thielmann well behind the two Cal girls in 4:21.95.

Matt Elliott who placed second in the 500 yard freestyle took home a big win in the 400 yard IM with a time of 3:51.04. Elliott flew way ahead of the pack, touching over 10 second ahead of second place finisher Carlos Omaha who’s also from the University of Florida. Omaha grabbed the silver in 4:01.49; Florida State Seminole Connor Kalisz rounded out the top three with a 4:05.15.

Natalie Hinds added her third win of the meet with a win over Cal’s Noemie Thomas in the 100 yard fly. Thomas gave her a run for her money, but Hinds wasn’t going to be stopped and won the event in 53.44. Thomas did finish second in her first 100 yard fly race of her college career, touching the wall in 53.82. Both girls earned themselves NCAA B-cuts in the process.

Caeleb Dressel took home his first victory if the meet with a win in the 100 yard fly. Dressel was a 47.74 to make an NCAA B-cut and win the event over second place finisher Thiago Sickert who finished ahead of him in the 50 free.

Missy Franklin showed up with an NCAA B-cut in the 200 yard freestyle, winning the event comfortably over teammate Camille Cheng in 1:46.37. Franklin split a 24.60 going out and her slowest split was a 27.47 which took her home on the last 50. Her first 100 was significantly faster than her second.

Pavel Werner of the University of Florida won the men’s 200 yard freestyle by over a second, touching in at 1:37.08. Mitch D’arrigo who won the 500 free came home in 1:38.15 to finish second.

Natalie Pierce of Florida State won the 100 yard breaststroke in 1:03.66 over Lindsey McKnight’s time of 1:03.83. The two were close to the time Kierra Smith of Minnesota swam earlier in the season to have the fastest time thus far in the 2014-2015 season.

Matt Elliott added to his already impressive performances with yet another victory, taking the men’s 100 yard breaststroke in a NCAA B-cut of 54.72. He held off Florida State Seminole Jason Coombs who was not far behind him in 54.97.

Franklin added another victory shortly after her 200 yard freestyle win with a 100 backstroke victory over 100 butterfly winner Natalie Hinds. Franklin touched the wall in 54.05 to beat Hinds who clocked in at 54.67 for the silver. Elizabeth Pelton, who didn’t make the A-final, won the B-final in a time of 54.91. That time would’ve been good enough for fourth in the A-final.

Corey Main won the men’s version of the sprint backstroke with the winning time of 48.45 which gave him an NCAA B-cut. Following Main was teammate Jack Bylzinskyg who took home the silver with a time of 49.13. Thiago Sickert finished third almost a full second behind Bylzinskyg.

Kahlia Warner and Zach Hernandez  each added another victory for the Gators, taking home wins in the three meter diving event to go with their wins in the one meter event.

The Cal Golden Bears won their first relay of the meet with a victory in the 4x200m freestyle relay. Featured on the relay was Cierra Runge who swam third on the relay, and split the third fastest time overall with a 1:50.02. The team ended up finishing with a combined time of 7:20.65.

The Gators won the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay in 6:35.42. Caeleb Dressel led-off the team with a 1:38.28 split.

Jessica Thielmann who already had a gold and a bronze added another win taking down Cierra Runge yet again, this time in the 1650 freestyle. Thielmann touched the wall for the win in 16:27.06 will ahead of Runge who was second in 16:40.89.

The men’s mile went to Blake Manganiello in 15:50.76 to start off the 1-2-3 Gator finish. Arther Frayler and Eric Stobbe finished second and third respectively to give the Gators the podium sweep in the men’s 1650.

Elizabeth Pelton came back after not making the 100 backstroke final to win the 200 back in 1:54.23. In the race, she out-split teammate Missy Franklin on every single 50 as Franklin was no match for Pelton, finishing second in 1:56.62.

Corey Main added another backstroke win following that in the 100 with a striking 1:45.51 in the 200. Again, he took down Carlos Omaha who touched in at 1:48.25.

After three golds and a silver it was clear that Natalie Hinds of the University of Florida was not completely satisfied with her winnings as she added another win with a 48.95 in the 100 freestyle. Kaitlyn Dressel was second in 49.20 followed by Missy Franklin in 49.87. Pelton finished fifth in 50.99.

Pawel Werner added his second win of the evening taking down Caeleb Dressel in the 100 free. Werner’s time of 44.12 was good enough to beat the 44.38 that Dressel swam to earn himself another silver.

Marina Garcia of Cal won the 200 yard breaststroke in 2:15.88, taking a charge in the race over teammate Celina Li who finished second in 2:18.72.

Matt Elliott added a third gold to his tally with a swift 1:58.05 to win the 200 breaststroke. The Gators swimmer already earned victories in the 100 breast and 400 IM, as well as picking up a silver in the final of the 500 free.

Celina Li had a quick turn around from the 200 breaststroke final but was able to manage a win in the 200 fly final. Li picked up the pace and edged out the field to touch the wall in 1:58.38 and take home a win for the Golden Bears.

Connor Knight of Florida State won the men’s 200 fly in 1:46.90.

In the last women’s event of the evening, Florida State edged out Cal to win the 4×100 freestyle relay. The Gators were third, although they did win the men’s relay with a swift 2:57.61 to create a sizable lead over second place finishers Florida State.

The completion of the meet gave way to 16 new NCAA B-cuts for the  Gators. The Gators won the invite for the fifth straight year much to the delight of head coach Gregg Troy.

Full meet results can be found here.




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Nobody was sub 44 in the 100 free is a bit surprising. At least in the 100 this prestigious Florida Invitational was spanked by almost a full second in the Mesa State Invitational “Intermountain Shootout” at 5000 ft altitude.


It’s the first meet of the season. The person who won the 100 at this meet in 44.88 (deBorde) last year went 42.18 when it counted. I wouldn’t be too worried about it. The fact that Werner is going 44.1 already (his best time is 43.5) is actually a good sign.

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile is a former Canadian age group swimmer who was forced to end his career early due to a labrum tear in his hip and a torn rotator cuff after being recognized as one of the top 50 breaststrokers his age in Canada. He competed successfully at both age …

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