Special to The Sun
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – A day full of firsts and broken records for the Florida Gators led to three National Championships and two other All-America honors.
The Gators won the first ever 200 free relay national championship in school history on the men’s side to kick the meet off on a high note, doing so in historic fashion.
Not only did Florida’s relay of Caeleb Dressel, Jan Switkowski, Enzo Martinez-Scarpe and Mark Szaranek set a school record of 1:14.39, but Dressel once again bested his own American record. The senior became the first human to break 18 seconds on a 50 free and did so by a long shot, recording a time of 17.81. That was three-tenths of a second faster than the American record he set during the prelim session.
Switkowski followed Dressel with a 18.52 split and Martinez-Scarpe swam a 19-flat. Szaranek anchored with a split of 19.06 to claim the relay title for the Gators.
Later in the evening, Dressel won his fourth national title in the 50 free event by breaking the American record he set in the 200 freestyle relay. He posted a time of 17.63 to improve upon his own records and he won the event by over a full second. That’s three times in one day that the senior broke his own American record, shaving half a second off his time in prelims this morning.
He is the first man in history to sweep the 50 free as a collegian and is only the 14th man to do so in any event in NCAA history. The latest man to do so in an individual event was Ryan Murphy of Cal, who won four titles in the 200 back from 2014-17.
With his two national championships tonight, Dressel passed former Gator great Ryan Lochte (7) for the most in UF history on the men’s side, with eight.
“We didn’t really put any boundaries on it, all we did was talking about going as fast as we could go,” UF coach Gregg Troy said of Dressel. “He’s really good, every time he swims it, he gets a better feel for it and corrects the things he needs to correct. This one was pretty darn good.”
In the 200 IM, Switkowski claimed the first individual national championship of his career, posting a personal-best time of 1:39.54. The Lublin, Poland native recorded the second fastest time in the history of UF.
Szaranek clinched All-American status in the 200 IM, finishing third with a time of 1:40.27. That time is good for third in program and is almost a second and a half faster than his seed time and .4 seconds better than the time he put up to win the title last season.