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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ee25919c-809f-ae75-7184-aade1a9c2bc2"><span>Florida senior Ben Lawless comes into Saturday named SEC Male Swimmer of the Week after winning three events over the past two meets.</span></span></p>

Florida senior Ben Lawless comes into Saturday named SEC Male Swimmer of the Week after winning three events over the past two meets.

The Gators women’s swimming and diving team is currently ranked No. 20 in the latest CSCAA poll. The team doesn’t pay it any mind.

“We normally try to stay away from certain things when it comes to our team and swimming online,” sophomore Kelly Fertel said in an email. “As a team, we all know we came short of our goals, but we have tons of motivation from last year’s results fueling us in a positive direction.”

After losing to an undefeated No. 6 Georgia 118-182, the UF women’s team has yet another undefeated opponent to face at the O’Connell Center Saturday in the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. The Eagles, from the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association conference, come into the meet 3-0, with one out-of-conference victory over Rutgers and two conference victories over North Florida and Campbell.

Although undefeated, unranked FGCU doesn’t bring quite the competition that the last few meets have given the women, who squared off against three top-10 teams in October. But Fertel said the Gators are heading into their meet against the Eagles with the same focus and preparation they bring to every meet.

“Although with the bigger top-10 teams there is a different type of competitive spirit, we are going in wanting to be as tough and aggressive with our swims,” Fertel said.

As FGCU doesn’t have a men’s team, UF’s men’s team will be facing off against itself in its first Orange/Blue intrasquad meet since 2008, making Florida’s next competitive meet the Purdue Invitational beginning on Nov. 16.

Florida senior Ben Lawless comes into Saturday named SEC Male Swimmer of the Week after winning three events over the past two meets.

“It’s a good experience to race against our team,” Lawless said. “It’s gonna be fun just to race our own guys.”

The meet against FGCU will be UF’s last home event for a while, as after this week both the Gators’ men’s and women’s teams won’t be returning to the O’Connell Center until Jan. 5 when they swim against FSU. The Gators are familiar with away meets, only competing in Gainesville twice last year, and Fertel assured that the team won’t be taking the meets they have in the O’Connell Center for granted.

“Although we like to travel to different places to compete against other schools, there is nothing like swimming in the O’ Dome,” Fertel said.

You can follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells, and contact him at rwells@alligator.org.

Florida senior Ben Lawless comes into Saturday named SEC Male Swimmer of the Week after winning three events over the past two meets.

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