Notebook: Men's swimming sinks Auburn
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 7:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 25, 2013 at 11:15 p.m.
The Florida men's swimming and diving team made its biggest splash in two decades over the weekend at Texas A&M and, in the process, sank Auburn's impressive 16-year reign as Southeastern Conference champions — the third-longest streak in any sport in league history.
It was the Gators' first SEC title since 1993 and ended a string of 11 consecutive runner-up finishes.
The championship brought UF's league-leading total to 34 SEC titles. Auburn is second with 18.
Florida had 1,408 points, more than 200 points ahead of Auburn (1,196), with Georgia (1,096) third.
“It's the first time we've been on top in quite awhile,” said head coach Gregg Troy, who was named the SEC Men's Coach of the Year. “It was a true team performance. Our guys swam extremely well all weekend.”
The UF women finished third with 1,190.5 points, trailing only runner-up Texas A&M (1,296) and champion Georgia (1,420), which won its fourth straight SEC crown and 10th overall.
Florida also ranks No. 1 in SEC women's titles with 17, the most recent in 2009.
“Our women were in the meet the whole way,” Troy said. “We had a little bit of a depth problem, but we swam extremely well.”
Both Gator squads now turn their focus to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis Mar. 28-30.
LACROSSE: Third-ranked UF swept a three-game homestand against No. 18 Stony Brook, UC-Davis and Albany last week.
The Gators outscored the trio of opponents 49-20 to improve to 6-0 on the season, the program's best start in its brief four-year history.
Up next is a rematch of last year's NCAA semifinal between UF and Syracuse at this year's Orange Bowl Classic at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Saturday, where the Gators meet the No. 2-ranked Orangemen.
“It's going to be a great game,” said head coach Amanda O'Leary. “Syracuse is just a team that's getting better and better. They're really well-coached and they have some amazingly athletic young women on that team. Across the board, this is going to be a really huge challenge for us.”
WOMEN'S TENNIS: The two most successful women's programs in the nation met Sunday for the inaugural USTA Match Day, and the second-largest crowd in school history (1,033) saw the fourth-ranked Gators down No. 13 Stanford, 4-2, in an exciting match that started outdoors but finished in Florida's new indoor facility.
UF (6-1), the two-time defending NCAA champion, dropped the doubles point but rallied for the win, its 117th consecutive home-court victory, while the Cardinal fell to 4-2.
“It was a fantastic match and we had an amazing crowd,” head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “The match did not disappoint. Stanford is a phenomenal team. They have world-class athletes at every spot, and we had to really raise our game.”
UF travels to play league newcomers Missouri and No. 10 Texas A&M this weekend.
GYMNASTICS: The top-ranked Gators host Minnesota of the Big Ten Friday night at 7 in their final regular-season home meet of the year.
It will be Senior Night, with UF honoring one of the all-time great classes in the foursome of Ashanee Dickerson, Marissa King, Randy Stageberg and Dali Lemezan.
“It's going to be an amazing opportunity to honor our seniors that have done a fantastic job for the University of Florida, but also who have represented Florida with such class,” head coach Rhonda Faehn said. “Their work ethic every day in and outside of the gym, as a coaching staff, we couldn't really ask for more. We're going to have a great time honoring them, but also know that there's still quite a bit left in our season.”
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: After ending a three-game skid with their first road win at Alabama since 2009, the Gators (16-12, 5-9) hope to carry that momentum into their final home game of the season against Arkansas (17-10, 5-9) Thursday at 7 p.m.
It will be Senior Night, with UF honoring first-team All-SEC post Jennifer George.
“Arkansas and us are in the same boat,” head coach Amanda Butler said. “We've got to take advantage of being at home and take advantage of Jennifer being honored and all the things she deserves to have happen on that night. It's a big game.”
UF closes out the regular season Sunday at South Carolina.