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Monday, December 05, 2022

In the 200 IM, the winner’s circle was only big enough for one Marcin.

Marcin Tarczynski of California bested Florida’s Marcin Cieslak by .29 seconds, denying the Gators their best chance at an individual win on the first day of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

“Every time I go in the water, I just try and swim the fastest I can,” Cieslak said. “I just want to go out there and do my best every race.”

Despite falling short of the top prize, Cieslak’s performance in the 200 IM on Thursday was a continuation of his recent success.

The Polish sophomore won three individual titles (200 IM, 200 free, 200 fly) at the Southeastern Conference Championships Feb. 15-18.

Cieslak was named the SEC Male Swimmer of the Year and earned the Commissioner’s Trophy for notching the highest point total at the conference meet.

On Thursday, Cieslak improved on his SEC time, finishing the 200 IM with a career-best 1:42.26, earning UF 17 points and posting the third-best mark in school history.

“It was a satisfactory day for us today,” coach Gregg Troy said. “We’re very pleased with all of Marcin’s performances tonight.

The 200 Free Relay squad consisting of James Turner, Matt Norton, Brad deBorde and Matt Curby notched 24 points, turning in Florida’s highest-scoring performance Thursday.

The group finished seventh with a time of 1:18.17, earning All-American honors.

Turner turned in the best time of the four, swimming the third leg in 19.38 seconds.

Norton finished just .04 seconds off Turner’s pace while deBorde and Curby brought up the rear with times of 19.58 and 19.79, respectively.

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“We had a better swim in the 400 medley relay at the conference meet, so I know that we could have pulled together a better time tonight,” Troy said. “We had a really strong backstroke from Cameron, but we couldn’t pull it all together tonight to get the higher finish.”

Through one day of competition in Seattle, the Gators rank eighth overall in the team standings with 58 points.

Florida boasts the second-highest score among Southeastern Conference squads, ranking behind fifth-place Auburn’s 106.5 points.

“Tomorrow is our weakest day — we only have one really strong event for our team and then a couple of weaker spots,” Troy said.

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