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Monday, May 20, 2024

Teresa Crippen and her sister, Claire, have always been close. Being only 16 months apart, the two never really had anything but love for one another.

But when they get into a pool, the focus for each girl changes from love for her sister and friend to competitive respect as each tries to push the other harder.

Teresa, a freshman at UF, has helped lead a women's team that includes older, more experienced teammates. Claire, a sophomore at Virginia, has also had great success, becoming a 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Champion as well as an All-American.

The two will face off for the first time in college competition as the No. 6 and No. 7 UF women's and men's swim teams begin the spring semester with today's meet against No. 12 Virginia in the O'Connell Center.

"I love racing (Claire)," Teresa said. "I've always trained with her and raced against her."

The women's team (4-2, 2-1 SEC) received help from Teresa and a large group of freshman swimmers who had multiple dominating performances in the fall.

The swimmers got a "break" from Dec. 22-28 to visit family and train with their club teams back home. While the rest of UF's student body enjoyed an extended vacation, the swim team instead endured two-a-days every day except for the one day off a week allowed by coach Gregg Troy.

The idea behind the training regimen is that the hard work will pay off in the spring just as it did in the fall. As a result of the tough workouts implemented by Troy, the women secured NCAA provisional spots in all five relay events as well as 21 individual NCAA-B standards. Add all this together, and the women could make a huge splash in March at the NCAA finals.

The men (4-1, 3-0 SEC) have had their own success, with 11 individuals and four relays securing provisional spots. They continue to improve despite failing to accumulate as many NCAA standards as the women.

The diving team started its spring season at the Tennessee Diving Invitational earlier this week. The diving team has seen improvement, especially on the men's side. Freshman sensation Anthony Lewark has earned several Southeastern Conference awards this season, including Male Freshman of the Week and Male Diver of the Week.

After an exhausting month of preparation, the Gators will finally see where they stack up tonight.

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