Kieran Smith Blasts Nation-Leading 1:34.0 As Gators Take Down Bulldogs

by Robert Gibbs 7

November 02nd, 2019 College, News, Previews & Recaps, SEC

Florida vs. Georgia

  • Friday, November 1, 2019
  • Gainesville, FL
  • SCY
  • Dual meet format
  • Full results
  • Scores: Florida 163, Georgia 118

On the same weekend that their top ten football teams are doing battle on the gridiron, SEC rivals Florida and Georgia squared off in the pool at Gainesville. While the women’s meet was marked by a bevy of close races, the men’s side featured top of the top mid-D and distance swimmers in the country putting up some speedy times. Just like on the women’s side, the Gators beat the Bulldogs, although the margin of victory was far larger, 163 to 118.

The Florida men jumped out to an early lead with a 1-2 finish in the 200 medley relay, with the A relay just beating the B relay 1:28.04 to 1:28.33.

The 1000 free turned into a thrilling race between two sophomore distance stars, as Georgia’s Andrew Abruzzo hung on to touch out Florida’s Bobby Finke, 8:59.25 to 8:59.36. Only Notre Dame’s Zach Yeadon (8:57.69) has been quicker so far this season.

Florida then rattled off three straight wins. Another star sophomore, Kieran Smith, blasted a 1:34.08 in the 200 free, the fastest time in the NCAA so far this season by almost a second. Smith made the A-final in the 400 IM at last season’s NCAAs, but he had the 2nd-fastest 200 free (LCM) time of any of USA swimmer this summer, so it’ll be interesting to see if he makes a lineup switch this season. Smith would later win the 100 fly with a 47.90.

Florida seniors Dakota Mahaffey and Marco Guarente followed up with wins in the 100 back (48.54) and the 100 breast (54.59), respectively, before Georgia freshman Harry Holmans interrupter the Gators streak with a 1:46.71 win in the 200 fly, just over a tenth ahead of Florida’s Khader Baqlah (1:46.82).

Will Davis put the Gators back in the win column with a 20.26 in the 50 free, and then took 2nd in the 100 free after the break, as Georgia freshman Zach Hills won that event in 45.15.

Florida then got another win streak going. Clark Beach took the 200 back in 1:44.64, good for a NCAA ‘B’ cut, followed by Guarente finishing the breaststroke sweep with a 1:58.59 in the 200 breast. In the 500 free, Baqlah outsplit Abruzzo 24.06 to 24.90 over the final 50 to win 4:20.62 to 4:20.70. Those were the 3rd and 5th fastest times in the NCAA so far this season, pending results from other meets this weekend.

Abruzzo wrapped up a grueling day of racing with a 1:48.92 victory in the 200 IM, just ahead of Florida’s Grant Sanders (1:49.03).

Florida closed things out with a 2:57.06 in the 400 free relay, with Smith leading the way with a 43.55 split on the 2nd leg.

Florida Release

Courtesy of Florida Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 9 University of Florida (5-1) swimming and diving team defeated the No. 14 Georgia Bulldogs by a final tally of 163-118 in their home opener at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium on Friday afternoon.

In total, six different Gators  would go on to win eight individual events, including taking the top-three spots in the 50 free, 100 fly and 100 breast. Florida would sweep the 200 medley and 400 free relays as well.

Gators Swimming & Diving


The Gators come away with two wins against Georgia today. 🐊 swimming and diving is now a combined 11-1 on the season. #GoGators#WeChomp

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Kieran Smith set the tone with his 200 free time of 1:34.08, beating the field by almost three full seconds. The effort is the fastest time in the country up to this point of the season and a new personal-best.

Smith’s second victory came in the 100 fly as the sophomore finished with an effort of 47.90, the first time he’s competed in the event in college.

Marco Guarente walked away with a pair of victories in the 100 and 200 breast. In the 100, the senior finished in 54.59, while hitting the wall in 1:58.59 in the 200.

Teammate Grant Sanders would finish behind Guarente in both events. The pair of Gators both set season-bests in the 100 breast.

Sanders also posted a runner-up bid in the 200 IM, finishing .11 from the top swim.

For the second time this season, Khader Baqlah posted a new personal-record in the 200 fly, hitting the wall in 1:46.82. Later in the meet, he would pick up a distance victory in the 500 free.

Series History

With the win, Florida improves to 13-6-since 1998 against the Bulldogs, increasing their win streak to three straight duals over the conference foe. Additionally, both teams have now been ranked in the top 25 when facing each other for the fourth-straight meeting.

The Gators have now won four home opening duals with Georgia in Gainesville, with their previous wins coming in 2013-14, 2009-10 and 2008-09.

This year’s meeting marked the eighteenth-consecutive year the two programs squared off in a dual meet.

Gator Splashes

  • Will Davis found success in the sprints today, winning the 50 free with a season-best swim of 20.26. In the 100 free, he would post a runner-up bid with his time of 45.55, .40 seconds off the leader. Teammate Gerry Quinn wrapped-up the top-three  in the 100 free with his time of 45.60.
  • Dakota Mahaffey won his second event of the season in the 100 back, hitting the wall in 48.54. The swim is a season-best for the senior.
  • In the 200 back, Clark Beach won the event after posting a time of 1:44.64. He would go on to finish behind Mahaffey in the 100 back with a time of 48.75.
  • Eric Friese and Isaac Davis would join Will Davis at the top of the leaderboard in the 50 free as Friese finished in 20.55 with Isaac Davis right behind him in 20.64.
  • Robert Finke was beat out by Georgia’s Andrew Abruzzo by .11 seconds in the 1,000 free to won the distance event. Finke posted a season-best time of 8:59.36.
  • Gators saw a pair of second and third-place finishes on the board. Alex Farrow hit a new season-best with his runner-up bid of 344.33, while finishing in third-place on the 1-meter. Nick Lydon would switch positions with Farrow in the events, earning the second-best 1-meter score (289.80) and the third-best 3-meter tally (290.55).

Relay Magic

The 200 medley relay team started off the dual on the right note as the team of Dakota Mahaffey, Marco Guarente, Eric Friese and Will Davis took home the victory with a combined swim of 1:28.04.

In the final event of the dual, UF’s 400 free relay squad of Baqlah, Smith, Clark Beachand Isaac Davis posted the top time, winning the event with a combined swim of 2:57.06. The runner-up relay was a Florida team consisting of Quinn, Ethan Bach, Friese and Lucas Kravchenko. The team finished in a combined swim of 3:02.02


Head coach Anthony Nesty– “First off, I’m very proud of the way our guys came in and competed today against the Bulldogs. It was awesome to get in front of our home crowd for the first time this year and to swim in the O’Dome. I think overall we performed pretty well. I don’t remember the last time we went one, two, three in the 50 free, 100 fly and 100 breast, which is an accomplishment because Georgia’s flyers are really good. I want to thank Steve Jungbluth, all our assistants and all our support staff for their constant work they do for our program. Looking forward to getting back into the pool next Friday with Florida State.”

Head Diving coach Bryan Gillooly–  “It was great to have Alex (Farrow) back in good form, especially in the 3-meter event. He put himself in great position and just fell short on his last dive. That experience will be critical down the road. All the boys continue to improve which is great to see.”

Looking Ahead:

The Gators will be right back in the O’Dome next Friday at 2:00 p.m. when they swim against in-state opponent Florida State in the Fresh From Florida Sunshine Showdown. This meet will conclude the dual competition for Florida in 2019.

After swimming against the Seminoles, UF will get some time off to train and prepare over the next few weeks before heading to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech Invitational on Nov. 22-24. The divers will then compete in the Auburn Diving Invite on Dec. 17-19.


Courtesy of Bulldog Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Despite 14 individual wins, University of Georgia swimming and diving was unable to top rival Florida as the Gators swept the Bulldogs Friday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gator men won, 163-118, while the Lady Bulldogs fell in a 164.5-135.5 result.

For the Lady Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC), freshman Zoie Hartman continued the phenomenal opening to her career, winning three races with B-cut times in each. For the third time this season, Hartman swept the breaststroke events, taking the 100 with a season-best time of 1:00.28 before narrowly grabbing the 200 with a 2:12.77. In the closing 200 IM, she once again prevailed in a nail-biter, using a late surge to win with a time of 1:58.80.

Junior Courtney Harnish also performed well for Georgia, winning in the 200 (B-cut time of 1:46.80) and the 500 freestyle (4:49.54) for the fourth time in as many meets this year. Sophomore Dakota Lutheralso remained unbeaten in the 200 butterfly with a B-cut time of 1:57.59, followed closely behind by fellow sophomore Callie Dickinson. Senior Veronica Burchillplaced first in the 100 freestyle (49.65) for the third time this year, while junior Gabi Fa’amausilitied for the win in the 50 free. At the well, senior McKensi Austin scored in both events, posting a second-place 291.75 in the 3-meter along with a third-place finish in the 1-meter.

On the men’s side, the Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC) were headlined by sophomore Andrew Abruzzo’stremendous outing. Abruzzo broke his personal best time from last week in the 1000 freestyle, turning in the eighth-best mark in school history at 8:59.25. After falling in the 500 freestyle by 0.8 seconds, he used a 25.34 split in the final lap to win the 200 IM with a time of 1:48.92. In the 500, Abruzzo was joined by teammates Greg Reed and Joshua Fulcher in a nine-point race.

Harry Homans, last week’s SEC Freshman of the Week, again impressed with his first collegiate win in the 200 butterfly, tallying a time of 1:46.71. Homans later scored for the Dawgs with a runner-up finish in the 200 backstroke and fourth-place time in the 200 IM. In diving, junior Zachary Allen compiled a fantastic meet, sweeping both springboard events with a qualifying mark of 361.65 in the 3-meter, followed by a decisive 298.58 in the 1-meter.

After three meets over an eight-day span, Georgia will take a deserved break from competition over the next two weeks. The Bulldogs will return to the water on Thursday, Nov. 21 for the three-day Tennessee Invitational in Knoxville.


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4 years ago

Was that 1.34 in briefs !?

Reply to  John
4 years ago

Yes. Remember he was the fastest 200 American freestyler this summer!

Taylor Niemann
Reply to  Superfan
4 years ago

Seli was 1:45.7 leading off relay (flat start; only didn’t count for nat team top 6 list). Smith was 1:46 low.

Reply to  John
4 years ago

The meet is still on sec plus network replays. Briefs including the 1000.

4 years ago

UF men went 1-2 on both men’s relays. Someone (collegeswimmer) said last weekend, Georgia didn’t use their best relay lineups…..who are they hiding and not using on their relays….they have had 4 duals and lost all 8 relays. And they weren’t even close vs UF

4 years ago

What happened to Trey Freeman? He hasn’t swum a meet for them in a while.

4 years ago

9:14 for 6th in the 1000. That doesn’t happen everyday

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