The Florida Gators are in first on both the men’s and women’s side after day 1 of the All-Florida Invite. The annual early-season meet features six Florida teams (Florida, FSU, Miami, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Atlantic, North Florida, and Nova SouthEastern) on the women’s side and five on the men’s side (all of the above except for Miami). The prelims/finals meet uses championship event lineup, so Friday featured the 50, 500, and 200 IM in addition to the 200 free and 400 medley relays.
Friday finals started off with the Gators taking first in the women’s 200 free relay, posting a time of 1:31.7. In what is a pretty impressive sprint relay time for how hard those girls are training this time of year, freshman Sinead Russell and Kaitlin Frehling both split 22s.
To no great surprise, Florida swept the distance event of the day, taking spots 1-3 in the 500 free. 2012 Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel led the pack with an NCAA B cut of 4:47.0 and Jesssica Theilmann and Alicia Mathieu were second and third, respectively, both going under 4:55. 7 girls were under the 5:00 mark, which made the championship heat a fast one for a September meet.
Shortly after her 500 free victory Beisel repeated her win and B cut swim in the 200 IM, going 2:00.66 to edge out her teammate, freshman Sinead Russell from Canada who went 2:02. The third spot went to a Gator as well: Ashlee Linn, with a 2:03.91. FGCU’s Eva Lehtonen was fourth in a 2:05.9.
Florida’s Natalie Hinds and Florida State’s Kaitlin Dressel tied for first in the 50, both going 23.19. Dressel’s teammate, Tiffany Oliver, took 3rd in a 23.26.
Friday’s competition wrapped up with a Gator victory in the 400 medley relay. Beisel, Hilda Luthersdottir, Russell, and Jamie Bohunicky went 3:43, with Bohunicky splitting a 50.0 on the end. Miami’s team took second, buoyed by breaststroker and school record holder Sofia Johansson. Johansson split a 1:02.1, faster than anyone else in the field by over a second.
The men’s meet started off with an FSU victory in the 200 free relay. Diving in less than half a tenth behind Florida’s Matt Curby, anchor Mark Weber brought it home in a 19.30 to best Curby’s 19.99. Weber’s a rock-solid relay swimmer whose 18.83 anchor on this relay was the fastest split in the meet at 2012 NCAAs. FSU’s final time was 1:20.09, six tenths ahead of Florida’s 1:20.74.
Florida’s men pulled off a sweep in the 500 as well, with Sebastien Rousseau, Jason Taylor, Connor Signorin, and Carlos Omana taking first through fourth. Rousseau’s winning time was a 4:25.4.
The Gator men repeated their 1-4 sweep in the 200 IM, this time with Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez leading the pack in a 1:48.0. Just over two seconds separated the top four, but there was a more than three second drop-off between fourth (Signorin) and fifth (FSU’s Danny Nguyen).
FSU continued their sprint success in the 50, with Weber repeating his strong relay swim and going a B cut of 20.1. That time was slightly slower than his 20.0 from prelims. Florida’s Brad DeBorde was second in 20.4 and FSU’s Paul Murray and Trice Bailey finished third and fourth.
In the final event of the night, Florida’s B-lay pulled off an intra-team upset to win the 400 medley relay, going 3:17.2 to best the A’s 3:19.1. FSU’s B did the same to take third, ahead of their A. Freshman Pawel Werner’s 43.9 anchor split on Florida’s winning relay is definitely something for the Gators to be excited about going into the rest of the season, and Matt Elliot’s 54.2 is nothing to scoff at either.
Competition resumes Saturday with prelims at 10:00 a.m. EST.