UF roundup: Florida swimming holds 3rd place at NCAA championships


Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 12:02 a.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — Florida stands in third place after the second day of the NCAA men's swimming championships.

The Gators amassed a total of 245 and sit behind second place California (286.5) and leader Texas (290.5).

Florida's Marcin Cieslak overtook Ohio State's Tim Phillips in the last 25 yards of the 100 butterfly to capture his second championship of the meet.

California won the 200-yard medley relay in an American-record 1 minute, 22.27 seconds as host Texas led the Golden Bears by six points with one day left in the meet.

“I really disliked getting second so many times, so I made sure that I was not going to get second this time around," Cieslak said. "It’s going pretty good for me so far. I was hoping to final after not feeling great in prelims. I knew I would be faster at night. My underwaters were good and I hit the walls perfectly. I swam the race I planned to.”

With the victory, Cieslak brought home Florida’s fourth ever 100 fly NCAA title after Associate Head Coach Anthony Nesty won the event from 1990-1992. After yesterday’s 200 IM title and last season’s 800 free relay title, Cieslak became the 10th Gator to win three NCAA titles in his career. The Warsaw, Poland native finished second in the 100 fly, 200 fly and 200 individual medley last season, and will look to go a perfect three for three in events when he swims in the 200 fly tomorrow.

“Marcin likes the big lights," UF coach Gregg Troy said. "When he shows up, he likes to race. He’s not a speed merchant, but he can do a good job if you keep him in the race. He’s going to be in there at the end. I’m pleased with his versatility. He came back in the 800 freestyle and swam well."

In the 400 individual medley, junior Dan Wallace shot up from sixth in prelims (3:41.93) to second in the championship final after a spectacular swim of 3:38.17. Wallace’s performance was the seventh fastest ever swim and the third fastest in UF history.

Wallace’s swim places him behind Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer in the UF record books. The North Berwick, Scotland native has finished second twice in two events (500 free on Day 1) after entering the meet with third place as his highest previous finish.

The 800 freestyle relay team of Mitch D’Arrigo, Sebastien Rousseau, Cieslak and Wallace were unable to repeat as champions, but the foursome fought for a second place finish in UF’s fourth fastest all-time swim of 6:14.74. The result was key because it gave the Gators a boost over Texas and Cal, who placed fifth and sixth in the event.

SOFTBALL: At Knoxville, Tenn., fourth-ranked UF (31-5, 5-5 SEC) fell to No. 2 Tennessee (29-3, 6-1), 9-2, in the opening game of the teams' three-game series at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.

Senior Hannah Rogers fell to 14-4 on the season after allowing three earned runs on four hits in 3.0 innings, with three walks, three strikeouts and one hit batter.

The Gators opened the scoring in the third. Kirsti Merritt walked and Lauren Haeger singled before Stephanie Tofft reached on an error on a sacrifice fly that allowed Merritt to come home with the game's first run. The lead was short-lived, however, as Tennessee responded with a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-1 advantage.

Florida cut the deficit to 4-2 when Merritt led off the fifth with a home run over the scoreboard in left-center, her fourth of the year. Annie Aldrete homered twice and Cheyanne Tarango also went deep for the Vols.

The series at Tennessee continues Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be aired on CST.

TRACK & FIELD: At Austin, Texas, Gator men's jumper Marquis Dendy was back to his old ways as the junior claimed the Texas Relays long jump title (7.93m/26-0.25) to cap off a successful day at Mike A. Myers Track. In Raleigh, N.C., senior distance runner Agata Strausa turned in a nation-leading 5000m race (16:01.01), No. 3 in the UF record book, to highlight the day for the distance crew competing at the Raleigh Relays.

At the UNF Spring Break Invite in Jacksonville, three UF women's 100m hurdlers in Tyjah Eady (14.07, +2.06), Ashley Favors (14.45, +2.6) and Ryann McEnany (14.54, +2.8) advanced to Saturday's finals in the race, slated for 12:15 p.m.

WOMEN'S TENNIS: The Gators needed just 86 minutes to stage an impressive 4-0 victory against Arkansas and it was senior Sofie Oyen who provided the clinching singles win at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex on Friday afternoon, when she earned her 100th career singles victory.

The match was moved to a 2:40 p.m. start time because of rain and the decision was made to play singles matches first with the Perry Indoor Facility featuring three courts.

The Gators (14-4, 6-2 SEC) jumped out early on the majority of the singles courts, with freshman Kourtney Keegan needing just 21 minutes to win her first set and eventually 49 total minutes to produce a 6-1, 6-1 win on court five that gave Florida a quick 1-0 lead.

UF followed with straight-set singles victories from Olivia Janowicz, Alexandra Cercone and Oyen, as the Gators shook off Sunday's setback at Alabama.

Oyen clinched the dual match win, 6-4, 6-2, and became the 27th Gator to win 100 career singles matches and joins fellow seniors Janowicz and Cercone in the century milestone club.

Arkansas falls to 12-11, 2-7.

The Gators host No. 49 LSU Sunday at 1 p.m.

MEN'S TENNIS: No. 15 Florida could not overcome an early deficit and fell 4-2 to Arkansas at the Dills Indoor Center in Fayetteville this evening.

79th-ranked freshman Elliott Orkin put the Gators on the board with a dominant two-set win over UA's Pete Thomason at No. 6 to knot the match at 1.

While UF sophomore Diego Hidalgo tied it up again, 2-2, with a win at No. 4 singles, the Gators could not take down the Razorbacks (12-12, 2-6 SEC) as Manfred Jeske clinched the match for Arkansas at court two singles.

UF (9-7, 4-3) continues conference play in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday to face LSU at 1 p.m.

Women's golf: The No. 16 Florida women's golf team battled the tough conditions and talented field to earn a top-5 spot following round one of the 2014 Bryan National Collegiate.

Freshman Maria Torres paced the Gators squad in round one, finishing the day at just 1-over (73) and rolling off two birdies. Torres earned a top-10 position on the player leaderboard. Shooting a notable 75 (+3), junior Camilla Hedberg placed in the top-25 individually after the first round.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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