No. 3 Florida Returns to Action with Senior Day Sweep of South Carolina

by Riley Overend 5

January 06th, 2024 College, News, Previews & Recaps, SEC

2024 Florida vs. South Carolina

  • Jan. 6, 2024
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • PDF results

Florida celebrated Senior Day with a sweep of South Carolina on Friday in Gainesville, winning all but one event in the SEC foes’ return from winter break.

Fifth-year transfer Isabel Ivey won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.66) and 100 fly (52.58) while also contributing to the victorious 400 medley relay (3:37.68) to lead the No. 3 Gator women (6-1) to a 175-82 win over the Gamecocks.

Florida freshman Bella Sims had a busy day for the Gators, blasting a 53.02 backstroke leadoff on the their 400 medley relay before clocking a 23.30 for 2nd place in the 50 freestyle behind teammate Olivia Peoples (23.14), a 49.49 for 1st in the 100 free, and a 49.56 anchor on their 400 free relay (3:19.13).

Florida junior Micayla Cronk had the fastest time on the aforementioned 400 free relay, swimming the leadoff leg in 49.04. She also triumphed in the 200 free (1:45.65), within a couple seconds of her lifetime best from last February and under the NCAA ‘B’ cut in the event.

Florida junior Emma Weyant notched a pair of personal bests in the 200 fly (1:58.87) and 200 breast (2:14.64). The Virginia transfer’s previous-best 200 fly time was 2:00.03 from 2020 and her previous-best 200 breast time was 2:15.45 from 2018.

Florida freshman Lainy Kruger also hit a new lifetime best in the 500 free with her victory in 4:53.44. She shaved more than a full second off her previous-best 4:54.76 from 2022. Fellow freshmen JoJo Ramey and Julia Podkoscielny added 1st-place finishes in the 200 back (1:57.45) and 400 IM (4:16.86), respectively.

The Gator women have never lost to South Carolina (20-0) in program history.

The Florida women continue to be without highly-ranked freshman recruit Michaela Mattes, who swam in the team’s dual meet against Vanderbilt in September but has not raced since.

On the men’s side, with star swimmers such as Josh Liendo not competing and others like Macguire McDuff only contesting relays, some Florida freshmen seized the opportunity to step up in a 164-93 victory. Caleb Maldari claimed the 200 back title in 1:47.11, more than four seconds slower than his personal best from 2022, and fellow freshman Andrew Taylor touched first in the 500 free (4:25.55) about seven seconds off his best time from November.

Florida senior Adam Chaney celebrated Senior Day with a win in the 50 free (20.42), about a second off his season-best 19.44 that ranks 33rd in the NCAA this season. The No. 3 Gator men (6-0) also got key contributions from juniors Peter Bretzmann (55.24 100 breast / 1:59.11 200 breast) and Joaquin Gonzalez Pinero (1:47.55 200 fly / 3:53.91 400 IM).

The Gamecocks finally broke through in the men’s 100 back, where South Carolina junior Michael Laitarovsky (48.18) edged out Florida freshman Scotty Buff (48.42) by just a couple tenths to remain undefeated this season (6-0). Gamecocks junior Linus Kahl was close to joining Laitarovsky atop the podium with runner-up finishes in the 100 breast (56.01) and 100 fly (48.80) in his first meet back from injury after missing most of the fall.

“Overall, I’m really proud of our group and the way they competed today against a very strong Florida team,” South Carolina head coach Jeff Poppell said. “The experience should help us a great deal as we move into the championship segment of our season. I felt like we were a little rusty today coming off the winter break and the 6-week layoff since our last competition however that’s always pretty typical the first meet of the new year. I think we’ve identified quite a bit that we can focus and improve upon moving forward. Michael Laitarovsky, Connor Fry, and Wylie Kruse had a solid meet for our men. On the women’s side, Jordan Agliano, Aubrey Chandler and Bella Pantano posted some of their strongest dual meet swims of the season.”

The Gators return to action for their final dual meet of the season against in-state rival Florida State at the end of the month (Jan. 26) before hosting the Florida Invitational at the beginning of February and heading to the SEC Championships later next month. South Carolina will now gear up to host Duke on Jan. 20 before getting ready for SECs.

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3 months ago

Is Mabel Zavaros taking the year off as well?

3 months ago

Still no Mattes?

Reply to  butterflyenthusiast
3 months ago

I believe she has some health problems, but not 100% sure.

3 months ago

any word on what the pros swam?

Reply to  chickenlamp
3 months ago

Different events eg. during the first break you had Caeleb in lane 1 swimming 100 Breast, Bobby in lane 2 swimming 200 Fly, Kieren in lane 3 swimming 100 Fly, Katie in lane 7 swimming 200 Free, plus others…

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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