SWIMMING: Gators set records in SEC swim meet

The number three-ranked University of Florida of Florida swimming team opened the 2005 Southeastern Conference Swimming Championships Wednesday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center Natatorium in record breaking fashion as the Gators established two new NCAA marks as well as a new SEC mark on the first night of competition.

The Florida men set the tone for the night in the 200-yard medley relay as the quartet of Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Will Ratliff (Mount Sterling, Ky.), Gabriel Mangabeira (Piratininga, Brazil) and Daniel Penniman (Pensacola, Fla.) established a new SEC and pool record time of 1:25.03. The time recorded by the Gators is the fastest time in the nation and is within a half of a second of the NCAA, American and U.S. Open records. Taking second swimming for Alabama was the team of Franck Southon, Vladislav Polyakov, Apostolo Tsagkarakis and Darren Erasmus in a time of 1:27.15, while the team of Alejandro Bravo, Kristian Outinen, Daniel Cruz and Tim Patrick of Kentucky claimed the bronze with a time of 1:28.04.

In the women's 200-yard medley relay the quartet of Samantha Aresenault, Sarah Poewe, Mary DeScenza and Kara Lynn Joyce of Georgia established a new O'Connell Center record with a clocking of 1:38.21. Auburn's team of Jenni Anderson, Kara Denby, Margaret Hoelzer and Jana Kolukanova claimed the silver in a time of 1:39.31, while Florida's team of Samantha Vanderbilt (Nashville, Tenn.), Vipa Bernhardt (Bad Hersfeld, Germany) Candace Weiman (Castro Valley, Calif.) and Maureen Farrell (Northridge, Calif.) touched the wall in third, clocking in with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:39.78.

The stage was set for the Gator men's encore in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Lochte, Darian Townsend (Montrose, South Africa), Brian Hartley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Adam Sioui (Ontario, Canada) eclipsed the NCAA record of 6:17.35 by more than a second as the quartet posted a new record time of 6:16.25. Lochte's opening 200-yard split of 1:33.07 was the second fastest American time in history and improved his own personal-best time of 1:34.05 by nearly a second.

Auburn's team of BJ Jones, Shai Livnat, Doug Van Wie and George Bovell touched the wall in a time of 6:21.73 to claim the silver. Earning the bronze was Kentucky's team of Cruz, Daniel Farnham, Jerram Chudleigh and Steven Manley with a time of 6:24.14.

Not to be outdone, UF's women's 800-yard freestyle relay team of Farrell, Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) Mary Uhle (Sankt Ingbert, Germany) and Leah Retrum (Columbus, Ind.) topped the women's NCAA record of 7:01.00 by posting a time of 7:00.25.

Georgia's team of DeScenza, Amanda Weir, Elizabeth Hill and Joyce tied an American record time of 7:04.06 earning a silver medal, while South Carolina's quartet of Christy Williams, Haley Skaggs, Lauren Fayssoux and Carly Hensel touched the wall in a time of 7:18.36 to place third.

The SEC Swimming Championships continue tomorrow at the O'Connell Center Natatorium through Sat. Feb. 19.

2005 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships

Day 1

Men's Team Scores

1. Kentucky, 166; 2. South Carolina, 131; 3. Georgia, 116; 4. Alabama, 115; 5. Florida 105; 6. Auburn, 98; 7. LSU, 83; 8. Arkansas, 71; 9. Tennessee, 30.

Women's Team Scores

1. Alabama, 143; 2. Georgia, 142; 3. Florida, 138; 4. Kentucky, 129; 5. Auburn, 112; 6. Tennessee, 90; 7. South Carolina, 71; 8. LSU, 66.


Men's 200-yard medley relay

1. Florida, 1:25.03; 2. Alabama, 1:27.15; 3. Kentucky, 1:28.04; 4. Tennessee, 1:28.20; 5. Georgia, 1:28.43; 6. LSU, 1:29.34; DQ, South Carolina, Auburn.

Women's 200-yard medley relay

1. Georgia, 1:38.21; 2. Auburn, 1:39.31; 3. Florida, 1:39.37; 4. Kentucky, 1:39.78; 5. Alabama, 1:41.58; 6. Arkansas, 1:43.98; 7. South Carolina, 1:44.06; DQ, Tennessee, LSU.

Men's 800-yard freestyle relay

1. Florida, 6:16.25; 2. Auburn, 6:21.73; 3. Kentucky, 6:24.14; 4. Tennessee, 6:25.89; 5. Georgia, 6:26.27; 6. South Carolina, 6:31.09; 7. Alabama, 6:39.03; 8. LSU, 6:50.30.

Women's 800-yard freestyle relay

1. Florida, 7:00.25; 2. Georgia, 7:04.06; 3. South Carolina, 7:18.36; 4. Alabama, 7:20.34; 5. Tennessee, 7:20.99; 6. LSU, 7:29.00; 7. Kentucky, 7:34.19; 8. Arkansas, 7:36.38; DQ, Auburn.

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