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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Coach Gregg Troy didn't want to see his team rest on their laurels.

After last week's emotional meet against Georgia, taking it easy would have been easy for the Gators. But with the calm attitude that has served them well so far this season, UF did the opposite. It swam even harder.

The UF swim teams squared off against Southeastern Conference rival South Carolina on Saturday, coming away with convincing victories (167-126 for the men and 168.5-126.5 for the women).

This weekend's matchup against the Gamecocks didn't seem to offer the same caliber of competition for the Gators.

The UFmen and women are ranked No. 5 in the nation after starting the year off well against top-of-the-line competition, including Georgia and Michigan.

The men and women both placed first in all but four of their events, eventually exhibitioning their final events, making the final score seam closer than it really was.

In an attempt to keep pushing his swimmers harder, Troy gave his star swimmer, Bradley Ally, an opportunity to swim in five separate events. Ally took the opportunity and ran with it.

By the end of the match, Ally had three individual firsts and two firsts in team races.

After his men's 100-yard backstroke event, in which he easily took first (50.73), Ally got out of the pool, caught his breath, cheered for the women in their 100-yard breaststroke event and then came in first in his 100-yard breaststroke event.

Maybe for Ally, Troy's challenge wasn't a challenge at all.

The women, on the other hand, once again got a lot of help from their younger swimmers.

Teresa Crippen, Shara Stafford and Sarah Bateman had yet another huge day. Stafford came in first in the 50-yard freestyle (23.31) and the 200-yard backstroke (2:00.33).

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Satisfied with how his swimmers performed, Troy noted UF's diving has been a big improvement.

"We're light years ahead of last year," he said. "It's now strength on the women's side and not a glaring weakness on the men's."

Troy hopes the pain caused by last year's diving has come to an end.

The challenges laid out by Troy this week aren't the last of them. He believes the new challenge is consistency.

"We're improving in different areas at different times," he noted. "We just need to be more consistent."

The Gators have two weeks off before they head to Tallahassee to face the Seminoles on Nov. 25.

When asked what the Gators would be doing between now and then to prepare, Troy simply responded, "We're just going to work."

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