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Monday, March 04, 2024

After two days of the Southeastern Conference Championships, the UF men and women's swimming and diving teams are in the passenger seat and driver's seat, respectively.

On the first day of competition, the women's swim team got a first-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:37.23. The relay team, consisting of Gemma Spofforth, Caroline Burckle, Colleen Healy and Stephanie Napier, set SEC, UF and pool records.

The women's team followed the record-setting performance with a third-place finish in the 800 freestyle relay.

The women's team ended day one with the lead, tallying 89 points. The one-meter boards weren't forgiving to the women's team, as none of the four female divers were able to qualify for the finals.

The women's team came back on day two in similar fashion. Burckle broke another SEC record, placing first in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:34.87.

"I guess I knew I could do it, but I wasn't sure," Burckle said about breaking the SEC record, according to Aaron Suttles of Tuscaloosa News. "You have to believe in yourself that you can do it and anything can happen."

Stephanie Napier finished fourth in the 50 free and also swam the first leg of the fourth-place 200 free relay team.

"We swam well, but it's a four-day swim meet and we're only halfway through," said UF swimming coach Gregg Troy. "We probably had one of our better days today. Auburn's best day is tomorrow, so we just have to keep staying on top of things."

Diver Monica Dodson staged a strong comeback from day one and scored 15 points for the Gators with a score of 305.70 on the three-meter dive.

"She had a very good opportunity to be first or second, but her last dive is one that we've got to find a new dive to replace it or figure out how to make it better," said UF diving coach Donnie Craine.

The men's team finished third and second in the 200 medley relay and 800 medley relay, respectively, finishing day one with 66 points.

They were able to eclipse their day-one total by scoring 67 points from the 500 free alone, where the men's team finished in third through sixth place and ninth place.

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"It's one of our better events, it's kind of a focal point for the group, so we have to do well in distance freestyle events if we're going to do well as a team," Troy said.

Bradley Ally and Shaune Fraser also gave the men a boost when they finished first and second in the 200 medley relay.

Heading into day three, the men's team has a total of 233 points, putting them behind Auburn for second. The women's team continues to lead, with 272 points.

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