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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Heading into the Auburn meet, the UF men's and women's swimming and diving teams were polar opposites.

That sentiment held true Saturday, as the No. 7 women's team beat No. 2 Auburn 165-135 and the No. 5 men's team lost by the exact same score to the No. 8 Tigers.

The women's win was their first against the Auburn women since the 1993-94 season.

The women took an early lead thanks to a strong diving performance in the one-meter diving event. Jeanna Bartell, Monica Dodson and Jennifer Funch took first through third place, respectively, to start the swimming events with a 16-3 lead.

It was a lead that the women held on to, placing first in the next three out of four events. Laurabeth Guenthner won the 1,500-meter freestyle and had personal bests in both the 1,500 free and the 400 free. She contributed 18 points to the team's win.

"I wasn't expecting that, but it was great to do that," Guenthner said. "I was really nervous before my 1,500, but I just put everything I had into it trying to win."

Another 16-3 diving performance in the three-meter event kept the women's lead safe. UF diving coach Donnie Craine called the 32-6 output a "huge advantage."

"When you see that the swim team's ahead, then it also helps you relax a little bit because there's not quite as much pressure," Craine said.

With the Auburn women closing in on tying the score, the UF women came through in the clutch, winning the last two events. Leah Retrum placed first in the 200 individual medley by 18 hundredths of a second and the women placed first in the 200 free relay.

The men didn't have as heroic an ending. The men found themselves down early thanks to the one-meter diving event, where Auburn took the same 16-3 lead that the UF women mounted one event earlier.

UF's men's team managed to notch its first win in the 1,500 free. Logan Storie touched the wall with a time of 15:41.70, and Shaune Fraser came in second in the 200 free at 1:52.77.

"I've been training really good freestyle this season," Fraser said. "I can see it paying off so far. I was pretty happy with that."

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The UF men were held off by the three-meter diving event but threatened with a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 individual medley. Bradley Ally finished first with an Olympic trial time of 2:06.74.

It wasn't enough, however, as Auburn cemented its victory with first place in the 200-meter free relay.

"We obviously had a couple of spots where we could've been a little bit better today, but it was a great team effort. We're just looking forward to improving even more when it comes to [the Southeastern Conference championships]," Fraser said.

With the loss, the men dropped to 9-2 on the season, 3-1 in the SEC. The women on the other hand, are now 9-1 (4-1 in the SEC).

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