The last time Florida and Indiana met in a swimming pool, the Gators found themselves pummeled by both the men’s and women’s teams. Starting today at the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana, UF will get another shot.
The Purdue Invitational, hosted by the Boilermakers, will feature a field of 10 teams, with the Hoosiers leading both the men’s and women’s teams with rankings of No. 1 and No. 9, respectively. The event will be the UF’s first invitational-style meet since the All-Florida Invitational in September.
“It will be good to see the invite style of meet again,” senior Mark Szaranek said. “We have a couple of chances to race in each event so we can practice our race skills for the end of the year.”
The Gators come into the meet ranked No. 3 and No. 14, the second-best ranking for the men’s and women’s teams at the meet, and will compete against ranked teams in Purdue’s women’s team and North Carolina’s men’s and women’s teams.
The 3-1 UF men’s team is coming off a 20-day break, with its last competition a win against No.12 Georgia. The men were supposed to participate in an intrasquad Orange and Blue Meet on Nov. 4, but canceled it to train more for the invitational. The Gators are hoping to continue their recent success, with seniors Jan Switkowski and Ben Lawless both winning SEC Male Swimmer of the Week awards in October.
The women’s team kicked off November with a win against Florida Gulf Coast and can use the victory as momentum heading into the invitational to improve on its current 2-3 record. The team has yet to defeat a ranked opponent, something it’ll look to rectify as it faces three of them at the invitational. The team will lean on swimmers like sophomores Emma Ball and Sherridon Dressel, who each won two events at the FGCU meet.
The UF diving team will also carry momentum into the meet, with freshman Emma Whitner stepping up against FGCU after juniors Abigail Howell and Teya Syskakis, as well as sophomore Brooke Madden, were absent from the meet. Syskakis and Madden are certain to return to the boards at the invitational, but Howell’s status is unknown. On the men’s side, redshirt senior Dalton Goss and sophomore Alex Farrow can improve upon their performances at Georgia, as they placed third and fourth, respectively, in both the 3-meter and the 1-meter dives.
Despite recent success coming into the invitational, Szaranek believes there is still room to improve in Indiana.
“We’d like to go to this meet and swim a little faster than we have,” he said.
You can follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells, and contact him at email@example.com.
The Gators men's team are hoping to continue their recent success, with seniors Jan Switkowski and Ben Lawless both winning SEC Male Swimmer of the Week awards in October.