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Monday, May 27, 2024

After the first day of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Championship Meet, the Florida swimming and diving teams are tied for first place.

The women’s team is currently tied with Georgia at 95 points. On the men’s side, the Gators are tied with Auburn at 100 points.

“This is obviously going to be a very, very close conference meet,” coach Gregg Troy said. “There are a bunch of great teams with a bunch of good swimmers swimming fast times.”

After posting the fourth-best score in the women’s 1-meter diving preliminary round, it seemed senior Kara Salamone saved her best for last, as she posted a 326.70. More than six points ahead of the second-place finisher, Salamone became the first Florida diving one-meter champion since 2000.

“It’s absolutely awesome to win this event. I’ve been diving five years, and to go out on a high note is awesome. There’s been so much preparation and a lot of hard work, good times and bad times, even tears,” Salamone said. “I really credit everything to (diving) coach Donnie (Craine). He’s made me into everything I am as a diver today, and I couldn’t have done it without him.”

In the men’s 3-meter diving finals, sophomores Colin Bell and Anthony Lewark placed fifth and seventh, respectively. These finishes helped the men’s team gain crucial points.

“It was an awesome way to start our night,” Craine said. “We had nearly a perfect day on the boards, and I couldn’t be more proud of our group of divers.”

In the 200-yard medley relay, the Florida women came in third while the men came in second.  The men’s relay team of Omar Pinzon, Conor Dwyer, Shaune Fraser and Roberto Gomez finished with an NCAA automatic-qualifying time of 1:25.10.

In the 800-yard freestyle relay, the Gators women finished second as the men placed first. Shaune Fraser, Brett Fraser, Sebastien Rousseau and Dwyer met another NCAA automatic-qualifying time, setting a new Florida and Southeastern Conference record with a time of 6:15.91. The relay team finished more than seven seconds ahead of the second-place team.

“Our men’s 800-free relay is the fastest in the country right now, and the women’s 200-medley relay is the third-fastest behind the two that took first and second tonight,” Troy said. “We wish we could have been a little bit faster in the shorter relays, but overall we’re pleased. This is only day one of a four-day meet. We have three days left, and we need to stay focused and race hard.”

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