Roundup: UF produces nation’s top swimmers, fall short at SECs

Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 12:02 a.m.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The 2012 Southeastern Conference swimming and diving championships came to a close Saturday night at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn. In a tight finish, the Florida men (700) narrowly missed the top spot, to sit behind Auburn (730.5) in the runner-up spot, for the eleventh conseutive year, while the UF women finished third behind the University of Georgia (781), and host, Tennessee (629.5).

Throughout the four-day competition four Gators combined to don eight conference crowns (5 men, 3 women), went on to make 20 other trips to the medal stand and collected eight automatic qualifying tickets to NCAAs in March. Sophomores Elizabeth Beisel and Brad deBorde also combined to break three UF records in their respective events.

Additionally, Beisel joined teammate Marcin Cieslak as the duo was named the 2012 SEC Female and Male Swimmer of the Year, respectively. It is the second consecutive year that they have each taken home conference honors following the championship meet, as last year they were each named the SEC Female and Male Freshman Swimmer of the Year. The announcement also marks the third straight year that head coach Gregg Troy has produced the male swimmer of the year.

The recognition came after the two were the lone swimmers at the conference championships to take home three individual gold medals.

The pair were dually awarded the Commissioner’s Trophy High Point Award as they each collected 60 points at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center. Beisel becomes just the second female Gator to win the Commissioner’s Trophy, joining two-time award winner, Gemma Spofforth (2009, 10), while Cieslak becomes just the eighth Gator to bring home the award.

It is only the second time in Florida swimming and diving history that Troy’s swimmers have taken home both high point awards.

“Obviously, you never like to come out on the short end, but we had some tremendous, outstanding performances from our swimmers,” said Troy. “We accomplished one of our main goals coming into Knoxville, and got some automatic qualifying times for the NCAA meet – which we both wanted and needed to do.”

“I was really proud with the effort that we got from everyone,” remarked Troy. “It was a team effort, everyone battled and raced real well, they gave their all until they touched the wall.”

SOFTBALL: No. 1/3 Florida shut down Michigan State for the second day in a row in another five-inning victory to clinch the series in front of 1,278 Gator fans at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. The Gators (8-0) defeated the Spartans, 11-1, behind the arm of freshman Alyssa Bache, who earned her first career victory in a Gator uniform as the squad earned Florida’s 700th all-time victory.

Bache was perfect through four innings Saturday before allowing a base runner on after a hit-by-pitch, followed by two hits and one run in the fifth and final inning. The freshman righty improved to 1-0, fanning four Spartans and walking none through the five-inning run-rule victory — UF’s sixth of the season.

MEN’S TENNIS: Florida fell to No. 4 Georgia, 4-2, on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 2012 ITA Division I National Men’s Team Indoor Championship in Charlottesville, Va. After the Gators claimed the doubles point, they fell short in singles play, suffering just their second loss of the season. The Gators will play a consolation match on Sunday against the No. 10 Duke at noon.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Florida must find a way to regroup quickly from Thursday’s heartbreaking overtime loss at Vanderbilt, as nationally-ranked Georgia visits the O’Connell Center today at 3:30 p.m. Fans will be welcome to stay after the game when the Gators salute their five seniors: Jordan Jones, Ndidi Madu, Azania Stewart, Lanita Bartley and Deana Allen.

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