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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

In a four-day 2009 SEC Championship meet that came down to the very last relay, the No. 5 UF women won their 17th SEC crown, the first since 2002, after edging out second-place finisher Auburn and third-place Georgia. The win for the Gators was the third-closest competition in SEC history, UF with 744 points, Auburn with 730.5 and Georgia with 725. On the men's side, the No. 8 Gators claimed second place (626) at the 2009 league meet for the eighth-consecutive year to the men's team from Auburn (880.5).

Junior Gemma Spofforth was named the SEC Female Swimmer of the Year for setting a new NCAA, SEC, UF and pool record that rallied the charge for the Gators on the final night of the league championships. Spofforth became just the second swimmer to ever break the 1:50 mark as she defended her 200-yard back title and swam the fastest time in the NCAA. Spofforth captured her second individual title and SEC record of the meet, her fourth overall in 2009 as a member of two SEC champion relays.

Spofforth shared the women's highpoint with Auburn's Ava Ohlgren. The two each contributed 57 points to their team's total points.

"I am so proud of both our men and women's teams. They really brought it tonight," coach Gregg Troy said. "Yesterday we were in a little bit of a hole and had some trouble racing, but our divers really kept us in the meet. Both the men and women gave it everything they had tonight. Gemma was just outstanding and had some great swims. The men's and women's backstroke championships to kick off tonight were a big key to our success. We're extremely excited and we're going to take a couple of days to enjoy this, but then it's back to business. We're not done yet. We have some other team goals that we'd like to achieve this year."

On top of 10 SEC Championships, six for the women and four for the men, the Gators set one NCAA record, 16 UF records, nine James E. Martin Aquatics Center pool records, five SEC records and captured 22 NCAA automatic qualifying marks during their 2009 SEC Championship meet campaign.

To make Spofforth's victory even sweeter, the Gators went 1-2-3 in the back with freshman Teresa Crippen capturing second and junior Stephanie Proud taking the third-place spot.

Senior Rex Tullius and Omar Pinzon went one-two in the 200-yard back as Tullius captured his first SEC Championship ever. In last year's championship meet, Pinzon took the title. Tullius swam the fastest time in the NCAA this year, the fourth-fastest 200-yard backstroke all-time. Pinzon was the second-place high point finisher on the men's side for the Gators after racking up 50 points for UF.

Jemma Lowe won her second SEC crown of the 2009 meet in the 200-yard butterfly after capturing the 100-yard fly Friday. Lowe set a new SEC and UF record with her 1:52.53 finish, the fastest time this year.

Both junior Clark Burckle and Shaune Fraser captured UF records on the final night of SEC competition, Burckle finishing third in the 200-yard breast, while Fraser took second, an improvement from his 2008 third-place finish, in the 200-yard fly.

Senior Laurabeth Guenthner rallied for the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season in the 1650-yard free, clocking a 15:56.44, second-place finish, which set a new career-best time in the event. Gator freshman Melani Costa Schmid swam to a 16:24.12, marking the first time this season she's swum the event. Costa-Schmid's eighth-place time was an NCAA provisional mark, while junior Kristen Beales turned in a 16:36.83 to place 13th.

Ryan Crete rallied for UF's highest finish in the mile on the men's side. Crete shattered a career-best by nearly seven seconds with his 14:53.63 swim, and fell just shy of the NCAA automatic qualifying mark (14:51.15) with his third-place, NCAA provisional swim. Sophomores Joey Pedraza and Logan Storie and senior Scott Thompson (15:24.64) placed fifth, eighth and 13th, respectively. Senior Cody Kauffman, Storie and Pedraza all secured NCAA B standards, with Pedraza and Storie achieving career-bests and Kauffman earning a season-best time as an exhibition swimmer in the event.

Senior Rex Tullius and Omar Pinzon went one-two in the 200-yard back as Tullius captured his first SEC Championship ever. In last year's championship meet, Pinzon took the title. Tullius swam the fastest time in the NCAA this year, the fourth-fastest 200-yard backstroke all-time. Pinzon was the second-place high point finisher on the men's side for the Gators after racking up 50 points for UF.

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Jemma Lowe won her second SEC crown of the 2009 meet in the 200-yard butterfly after capturing the 100-yard fly Friday. Lowe set a new SEC and UF record with her 1:52.53 finish, the fastest time this year.

Both junior Clark Burckle and Shaune Fraser captured UF records on the final night of SEC competition, Burckle finishing third in the 200-yard breast (1:54.42), while Fraser took second, an improvement from his 2008 third-place finish, in the 200-yard fly (1:41.88).

Senior Laurabeth Guenthner rallied for the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season in the 1650-yard free, clocking a 15:56.44, second-place finish, which set a new career-best time in the event. Gator freshman Melani Costa Schmid swam to a 16:24.12, marking the first time this season she's swum the event. Costa-Schmid's eighth-place time was an NCAA provisional mark, while junior Kristen Beales turned in a 16:36.83 to place 13th.

Ryan Crete rallied for UFs highest finish in the mile on the men's side. Crete shattered a career-best by nearly seven seconds with his 14:53.63 swim, and fell just shy of the NCAA automatic qualifying mark (14:51.15) with his third-place, NCAA provisional swim. Sophomores Joey Pedraza (15:00.33) and Logan Storie (15:05.19) and senior Scott Thompson (15:24.64) placed fifth, eighth and 13th, respectively. Senior Cody Kauffman (15:12.73), Storie and Pedraza all secured NCAA B standards, with Pedraza and Storie achieving career-bests and Kauffman earning a season-best time as an exhibition swimmer in the event.

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