FLORIDA vs TENNESSEE (MEN)
- Florida – 171.5
- Tennessee – 128.5
Florida hosted Tennessee for a combined SEC dual on Saturday, posting lopsided victories in both the men’s and women’s meets. This post features a recap of the men’s meet. For our women’s recap, click here.
The men’s meet was closer than the women’s meet, but Florida still won by a large margin.
Josh Liendo continues to be a star for the Gators. He won the 50 free on Saturday, speeding to a 19.34. He wasn’t at his sharpest in the 100 fly, where he came in third with a 47.39, but Liendo made up for it on the relays.
The Canadian sprint ace anchored Florida’s 200 medley relay in a blistering 18.72, though that still wasn’t nearly enough to catch Tennessee in the race. The Vols got out to a great start, as Harrison Lierz (22.56), Michael Houlie (23.44), Jordan Crooks (20.47), and Gui Caribe (19.48) teamed up for a 1:25.95 in the 200 medley, leading Florida by well over half a second, even with Liendo’s incredible anchor.
Liendo would also throw down a 42.38 on the second leg of Florida’s 400 free relay, which would go on to win convincingly. MacGuire McDuff led the team off in 43.40, while Eric Friese swam a 43.32 on the third leg and Alberto Mestre clocked a 43.39 on the anchor. The Gators swam a 2:52.49, beating Tennessee by just shy of two seconds. Tennessee had their own reasons to be excited about that relay as well, as Jordan Crooks clocked an eye-popping 42.14 on the second leg, going head-to-head with Liendo.
Crooks continues to be on a hot streak this fall. Of course, he was exceptional on the relays on Saturday, but his individual races were also head-turners. Crooks came in second in the 50 free to Liendo, posting a 19.58. He would go on to win the 100 fly, swimming a 46.82, featuring a very quick 21.73 split on the first 50.
Alfonso Mestre was a key contributor for the Gators as well, sweeping the distance events. He pulled out a win in the 1000 free, swimming a 9:04.97 to lead a 1-2-3 charge by Florida. Eric Brown took second in 9:06.17, while Brennan Gravley came in third with a 9:08.94.
Mestre then went on to swim a 4:21.16 in the 500 free, pulling away from the field on the back half of the race.
Tennessee’s Jarel Dillard swept the breaststroke events, starting with a speedy 53.44 to win the 100 breast. He later clocked a 1:56.31 in the 200 breast for the win.
Tennessee freshman Nick Simons had a strong swim in the 200 back, posting a 1:44.79 to touch first by 2.6 seconds. He established the early lead and was able to hold it through the finish.
Fellow Tennessee freshman Gui Caribe had a fantastic swim in the 100 free, swimming a 43.00 to touch out Florida’s MacGuire McDuff by 0.03 seconds. Caribe got out to a lead on the first 50, splitting 20.59 and was able to hold on for the win as McDuff closed on him. McDuff won the 200 free, swimming a 1:36.61.