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Monday, June 17, 2024
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-d4f376bb-7fff-40f0-91f7-d117e82d27e9"><span>Sophomore Taylor Ault finished third in the 500-yard freestyle during Day 1 of the Georgia Tech Invitational. She posted a time of 4:42.08.</span></span></p>

Sophomore Taylor Ault finished third in the 500-yard freestyle during Day 1 of the Georgia Tech Invitational. She posted a time of 4:42.08.

The UF swimming team started 2019 in style on Friday, ending Day 1 of the two-day meet at the O'Connell Center in first place.

Both the men’s and women’s teams were given little resistance by their competition, dispatching a pair of ranked opponents in Ohio State and Kentucky.

The Gators swept all four relay events and claimed 12 individual victories with junior Sherridon Dressel leading the fray early on.

Dressel, the sister of UF alumni and Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel, paced Florida's women, winning the 100-yard backstroke with a 52.79 swim and the 100-yard freestyle after a 49.81 finish.

Freshman Mabel Zavaros started 2019 right where she left off in 2018, riding the momentum of a stellar fall campaign into the first swim meet of the spring.

Zavaros brought home gold in the 200 fly after a personal-best swim of 1:58.26. The Burlington, Canada native would go on to place second in the 200 back (1:56.06) and in the 100 fly (54.77).

Freshman Vanessa Pearl was the third and final UF women's swimmer to secure an individual win on the day. Pearl won the 200 breaststroke thanks to a timed-swim of 2:11.58.

Sophomore Taylor Ault had a successful day in the pool, grabbing two second-place finishes in both the 1,650 free (16:29.57) and the 500 free (4:48.38). She helped the 10th-ranked women lead No. 13 Kentucky 159.5-140.5 and No. 22 Ohio State 205-95 going into Saturday.

Junior Marco Guarente stood out the most for UF's men on Day 1, winning two individual events and helping lead the 400 free relay to a victory.

The Weston, Florida, native got started with a win in the 100 breast after a 54.42 time. Later, Guarente proved lethal once again in a breaststroke event, outlasting the competition in the 200 behind a time of 1:59.25.

Juniors Khader Baqlah and Maxime Rooney were both a big part of Florida's success on Day 1, as well.

Baqlah first found himself at the top in the 200 Free, thanks to a 1:34.33 time. He then won yet another freestyle event, placing first in the 500 free after swimming to a 4:21.98 finish.

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Rooney, the California native, continued his strong season by winning the 50 free early on, behind a scorching 20.14 finish. He later showcased his versatility, winning the 100 fly event after finishing with a time of 47.26.

A few of UF's youngsters picked up the other three individual victories for the Gators on Friday as freshman Robert Finke (15:03.14) won the 1,650 free, sophomore Clark Beach (1:44.53) finished ahead of the pack in the 200 back, and freshman Kacper Stokowski (47.37) finished on top in the 100 back.

The No. 5 Florida men's team hold a comfortable lead over 25th-ranked Kentucky 198.50-101.50 and 14th-ranked Ohio State 174-126 heading into Day 2.

The meet continues on Saturday at the O'Connell Center as the competition will begin at 10 a.m., starting with the 400 medley relay event.

Follow Evan Lepak on Twitter @evanmplepak and contact him at 

Sophomore Taylor Ault secured two second-place finishes to help the Gators' women's swimming team lead Kentucky and Ohio State heading into Day 2 of the meet. 

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