Vanessa Pearl Swims 2 Season Best Times as Florida Sweeps Quad Meet

Florida vs. Vanderbilt vs. Liberty vs. North Florida Quad (WOMEN ONLY)

  • January 3rd, 2020
  • O’Connell Center Natatorium, Gainesville, Florida
  • SCY (25y) Pool
  • Results PDF
  • Team Scores:
    • Florida 178-Liberty 80
    • Florida 188-Vanderbilt 70
    • Florida 190-UNF 68
    • Liberty 158.50-Vanderbilt 103.50
    • Liberty 205-UNF 57
    • Vanderbilt 209-UNF 53
    • Florida exhibitioned a few swims late

A quartet of NCAA Division I schools, led most prominently by the host Florida Gators, matched up on Friday in Gainesville, with the home team dominating their competition and Liberty standing out as the second-best result of the meet.

The big story for Florida came via a pair of season-best swims for sophomore Vanessa Pearl. Pearl swam most of the Gators’ fall-semester regular season meets, but didn’t swim at the team’s mid-season invitational. Her last meet before Friday was the team’s dual meet against Florida State on November 8th, where she swam 1 individual race, the 100 breaststroke, and was just 1:03.27.

But Pearl looked back in-form on Friday, winning both the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.15 and the 200 IM in 1:58.64. Those times are both faster (including the 200 IM, by 3 seconds) than she went in her semester-opening weekend of racing as a freshman.

Florida remains undefeated in dual meets this season, had the best times in all 14 events throughout the meet, and had 1-2-3 finishes in 4 different events.

Florida is now undefeated all-time against Vanderbilt (5-0); this was the team’s first-ever meeting against North Florida and Liberty.

Forida swimmers claimed personal best times on 7 occasions during the meet, mostly in secondary events, including:

  • Taylor Ault – 200 fly – 2:01.08
  • Leah Braswell – 200 fly – 2:04.37
  • Taylor Mathieu – 1000 free – 9:59.41
  • Rosie Zavaros – 200 back – 1:57.57

Senior Isabella Garofalo also had a standout meet to lead the Florida sprint group. She swam 3 races, anchoring the 200 medley relay in 22.50 and swimming the 3rd leg of the 400 free relay in a team-best split of 48.94, and also won the individual 100 free in 49.72. That’s a full second faster than she was in her opening weekend last season.

Liberty, which won their 3rd-straight meet over Vanderbilt among its results, and by beating North Florida extended their dual meet winning streak against CCSA conference opponents to 18 since their last loss to FGCU on January 7th, 2017. Liberty are the defending CCSA Champions.

Among the Flames’ results were a season-best in the 200 medley relay of 1:44.49. That slid under the 1:44.53 that they swam at their mid-season invite, including a 26.01 lead off by Payton Keiner that is the team’s best leadoff split of the season.

Eva Suggs swam a 1:50.96 to finish 2nd in the 200 free behind only Florida’s Sherridon Dressel (1:48.82). That ties Suggs as the best time in the CCSA this season.

Freshman Jessica Schellenboom swam a 1:05.38 to finish 2nd in the 100 breaststroke, which is her season-best and the team’s season-best swim this year. Her progression will be a big part of Liberty’s chances at repeating as conference champions, given that their chief rivals, Florida Gulf Coast, have a very deep breaststroke group. 3 FGCU swimmers have been better than Schellenboom’s time this season, including the conference leader Petra Halmai in 1:01.12. Liberty will face their rivals on Saturday in Fort Myers.

Press Releases

Courtesy: Florida Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 7 University of Florida women’s swimming and diving team cruised to victories over Vanderbilt, Liberty and North Florida as the team hosted a quad-meet at the O’Connell Center Natatorium on Friday afternoon.

Florida would remain undefeated on the season after posting the best time in all 14 events throughout the meet. Additionally, seven new personal-best times would be set by the orange and blue.

UF would sweep the top-three finishers in four different events, including both distance events, the 500 and 1,000 free, that saw Florida place the top-four finishes.

Individually, both Vanessa Pearl and Talia Bates added a pair of victories to lead the Gators.

Pearl added a B-cut in the final individual event, the 200 IM, with her first-place swim of 1:58.64. She would also go on to win the 100 breast with a swim of 1:02.15.

Bates picked up her victories in the 100 back (54.44) and 100 fly (54.45).

Series History

In their first meeting since the 2015-16 season, the Gators move to 5-0 all-time against Vanderbilt with their 190-68 win over their conference foe. UF beat the Commodores in their last meeting by a final tally of 193-69 in Nashville.

For the first time in program history, Florida crossed paths with North Florida and Liberty and now lead each respective series 1-0 with their wins over the non-conference opponents today.

Gator Splashes

  • Taylor Ault competed in the 200 fly and would go on set a new personal-best, winning the event in 2:01.08. Nikki Miller finished in third (2:02.63), while Leah Braswell also set a new lifetime-best in her fourth-place finish (2:04.37).
  • The Gators controlled the distance events claiming the top four finishers in the 500 and 1,000 free.
    • Tylor Mathieu led the way in the 1,000 free as the freshman set a new personal-best swim of 9:59.41 to claim first. Savanna Faulconer wasn’t far behind her, tallying an effort of 10:00.40 for a runner-up bid. Georgia Darwent (third) and Allie Piccirillo (fourth) would round out the finishers for Florida. Piccirillo would join fellow freshman Mathieu with a new top collegiate swim.
    • In the 500 free, Miller touched the wall first in 4:55.79, almost three seconds faster than her teammate Georgia Darwent, who posted the second-best time of 4:58.41. Bettina Boszormennyi finished in third, while Kalie Novosedliak finished with the fourth-best time.
  • Gators took control in the sprint events, sweeping the top three finishes. In the 50 free, Gabby Hillis touched the wall with the leading effort of 22.97, with Kirschtine Balbuena (23.32) and Tori Bindi (23.94) behind her in second and third, respectively. Bella Garofalo picked up the 100 free win with her leading time of 49.72, with Bindi behind her with a runner-up bid in 51.92. Kelsey Dambacher claimed third-place, touching the wall in 52.24. Ria Malhotra was able to tally a new personal-best of 24.34 in the event as well.
  • Ellie Zweifel finished tied for the second-best time (2:21.34) in the 200 breast behind Kathleen Golding, who hit the wall in 2:20.56. Mathieu’s posted the fourth-fastest time to complete UF’s finishers.
  • Piccirillo and Braswell joined Pearl in the 200 IM, with Piccirillo claiming a new collegiate-best time of 2:09.22. Braswell’s time stood as the second-best time in the event.
  • Sherridon Dressel (200 free) and Rosie Zavaros (200 back) claimed individual victories. Zavaros won her race by two seconds and was just .46 seconds from a B-cut.

Relay Magic

The Gators took the top-two spots to start the meet in the 200 medley relay as the team of Dressel, Fertel, Golding and Garofalo led the way with their combined effort of 1:40.48. The relay of Zavaros, Pearl, Guzman and Hillis was right behind them in second-place with their swim of 1:42.24.

Two more UF relays hit the water as Zweifel, DeBoer, Jillan Hatch and Dambacher finished with the fourth-fastest time, hitting the wall in 1:45.97. Madison ConwayEllie Hatton, Malhotra and Novosedliak rounded out Florida’s finishers in ninth.

UF capped off the meet by Fertel, Bates, Garofalo and Balbuena winning the 400 free relay with their combined swim of 3:19.48. Bates led the way with her leading split of 48.94.

Florida’s final three relays all were exhibitioned, but would go on to post the second, third and fifth-fastest times for the event.


Head coach Jeff Poppell

On competing for the first time since the holidays… 
“Well, it has been six weeks since our last competition and a lot has taken place since then. You got Thanksgiving week, kids went home for about nine days during the winter. We had exams. But, we also had a training period that was pretty intense as well. Within that six-week period, we’ve kind of hit a lot of different things. I wasn’t really sure what we were going to get today.”

On his goals for today’s meet…
“We had a couple different goals for today’s meet. The first thing was to knock off the rust after not competing for six weeks. We did use this as an opportunity to give some of the members of our roster to compete a little bit more than they did in the fall. At the same time, some of our stronger athletes swam in events that they’re not really accustomed to swimming.”

On his overall thoughts from today…
“I was really pleased with the way they raced today. They did a fantastic job standing up and competing. You couldn’t tell that we were off for six weeks. In terms of preparation coming into it, I mean, we didn’t do a whole lot out of the ordinary. This week was a normal training week for us leading into the meet. Like I said, everything that we’ve seen this week has been nothing but positive so I was glad to see it carry over into the actual competition.”

Looking Ahead

The 2019-20 season’s end is quickly approaching. The Gators will hold their final home dual and Senior Day on Jan. 25 against No. 14 Auburn at 11:00 a.m. The meet will be streamed live on SEC Network.

In their final regular season action, Florida will travel to Tennessee to face-off with the No. 2 Volunteers on Feb. 1.

Postseason action will begin with the Southeastern Conference Championships on Feb. 18-22 in Auburn, Ala.

NCAA Diving Zones will take place on March 9-11 before the whole team heads to Athens, Ga. for the 2020 NCAA Championships on March 18-21 to conclude the year.

Courtesy: Liberty Athletics

The Liberty swimming & diving team opened the New Year with a 2-1 showing at a quad meet hosted by the seventh-ranked Florida Gators, Friday at Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium.

The Lady Flames (8-3) defeated Vanderbilt (158.5-103.5) and CCSA foe North Florida (205-57), while falling to Florida (178-80). The Gators improved their season record to 10-0, while Vanderbilt (3-6) went 1-2 today and North Florida (2-7) dropped all three dual meets.

Liberty Top-Three Placings
• 200 medley relay (3rd place) – 1:44.49 (Payton Keiner – 26.01, Mikayla Herich – 30.16, Brittany Weiss – 25.20, Colleen Donlin – 23.12)

• Fr. Eva Suggs – 200 freestyle (2nd place – 1:50.96); 200 backstroke (3rd place – 2:03.25)

• Jr. Payton Keiner – 100 backstroke (2nd place – 54.94); 200 backstroke (2nd place – 1:59.63)

• Fr. Jessica Schellenboom – 100 breaststroke (2nd place – 1:05.38); 200 breaststroke (3rd place – 2:22.24)

• Jr. Lindsey Cohee – 200 butterfly (2nd place – 2:02.35); 100 butterfly (3rd place – 56.86)

• So. Emma Hazel – 500 freestyle (2nd place – 5:04.16)

• 400 freestyle relay (2nd place) – 3:32.16 (Payton Keiner – 52.77, Eva Suggs – 52.46, Hannah Baker – 53.24, Brittany Weiss – 53.69)

• Florida won all of the individual events. Liberty took second in six individual events and one relay, while Vanderbilt had three second-place finishes.

• Liberty is now 3-1 all-time against SEC opponents in swimming & diving, including 3-0 versus Vanderbilt.

• The Lady Flames are 3-0 against CCSA opponents this season and have won their last 18 CCSA dual meets in a row since a 137-125 loss at FGCU on Jan. 7, 2017.

• Suggs’ 1:50.96 in the 200 freestyle from today is tied with Ximena Conde Merlos of Incarnate Word for the fastest effort by a CCSA swimmer in the event this season.

• Liberty swam its fastest 200 medley relay of the season today, clocking 1:44.49. Keiner’s 26.01 leadoff was the best 50 backstroke by a Lady Flame in 2019-20.

• Schellenboom’s 1:05.38 swam the fastest 200 breaststroke by a Liberty swimmer this season.

• Keiner won the 200 backstroke each of the last six times she contested it, dating back to last season, prior to falling to Florida’s Rosie Zavaros today.

• Liberty is 31-3 in its last 34 dual meets overall.

• The Lady Flames will compete at FGCU Aquatics Complex tomorrow at noon. Liberty will take on the host Eagles, along with Illinois State and Tulane.

• This will be the first time since Oct. 9-10, 2015, that Liberty has competed in two away meets in separate cities on back-to-back days. That year, the Lady Flames competed at TCU on Oct. 9 before heading to North Texas for a meet on Oct. 10.

Courtesy: Vanderbilt Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Vanderbilt swimming concluded its first quad meet of the season with a 209-53 victory over North Florida. The Dores fell short to Florida, 188-70, and Liberty 158.5-103.5, on Friday at the O’Connell Center.

Leading the Commodores in the 1,000-yard freestyle, junior Lara Hernandez-Tome touched in at 10:29.38 to earn a sixth-place finish followed by freshman Alix Roy in seventh (10:39.11) and sophomore Krisyln Porter in eighth (10:40.22).

In the 100-yard breaststroke, sophomore Lizzy Colwell earned the Commodores’ first podium finish by touching the wall at 1:05.50. In the same event, Lindsey Gordon placed sixth (1:06.57) followed by Hannah Hunt finishing in 1:07.72 to take eighth.

Freshman Kristen Nutter led the Dores in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:06.20 earning the freshman sixth place. Junior Brooke Ellis touched in at 2:09.42 to claim eighth.

In the 50 free, Tonner DeBeer claimed fifth (24.17) followed by senior Paige Hamilton racing to a seventh-place finish (24.33). In the following event, the 100 free, Hamilton also picked up seventh place by touching the wall at 53.57.

Colwell maintained her success in the 200 breast by earning another top finish. The sophomore placed second in the event, boasting a time of 2:21.34. Junior Hannah Hunt also finished strong in the event by touching the wall at 2:24.44 to tie for fourth.

After winning the 500 free in the meet against Campbell, Porter shaved two seconds off of her time to place fourth (5:09.20). The Dores also earned fifth through seventh place finishes in the event with Burke leading in fifth (5:10.64).

Earning her first top-three finish of the meet, DeBeer claimed second in the 100 fly sporting a time of 56.29. In fourth place for the Commodores, Nutter touched the wall at 57.73.

Closing the meet strong for the Dores, Colwell and Thomas secured second and third place in the 200-yard individual medley. Colwell notched second (2:06.75) followed by Thomas in third (2:08.49).

In the final event of the day, Vanderbilt A tabbed third in the 400 free relay (3:34.91).

Vanderbilt will be back in action on Jan.16 to battle in the TYR Pro Swim Series hosted by Tennessee.

The Commodores will return to Centennial Sportsplex on Jan.18 to honor its five seniors on Senior Day.

Stay updated with the Dores by following @VandySwimming on Twitter and Instagram.

Courtesy: North Florida Athletics

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – North Florida swimming finished its first meet of 2020 with 16 top 10 finishes in the Florida Quad meet against the host Gators, Vanderbilt and Liberty Friday afternoon.

Notable Swims
1000 Free – Sarah Trago – 10:58.15
100 Back – Jacqueline Barklund – 59.22
200 Fly – Sydney Groth – 2:07.53
100 Free – Camryn Greenleaf – 53.54

Of Note
-Trago posted her fastest time of the season to finish 10th in the 1,000 Free.
– In the 200 butterfly, Groth posted a 2:07.53 to finish seventh and in the 100 fly, she went 1:00.06 to place sixth.
– Greenleaf swam the seventh fastest time of the season in the 100 free and finished in fifth place in the event – the highest for any Osprey.

Final Results
Florida 190, UNF 67
Vanderbilt 209, UNF 53
Liberty 205, UNF 57

Coffey Talks
“I am happy with our swims. We learned some things, made some adjustments and now turn towards next week. We are looking forward to a strong week of training as we head to our second meet against Georgia Southern this year.” — Head Coach Ian Coffey

Up Next
North Florida turns its attention to a second dual with Georgia Southern Saturday, January 11 in Statesboro, Ga.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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