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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
<p>Sophomore diver Brooke Madden earned her second career All-American honors on Friday.&nbsp;</p>

Sophomore diver Brooke Madden earned her second career All-American honors on Friday. 

A season full of successes, accomplishments and accolades came to a close at the NCAA Championships on Saturday, but there were no tears to be shed.

The No. 8-ranked Gators women’s swimming and diving team finished in a humble 24th place this week at the University of Texas’ Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center with 44 points but can find solace in having five different swimmers and divers earn All-American honors.

Juniors Sherridon Dressel and Kelly Fertel collected First Team All-Americans in the 100-meter backstroke and the 400-meter individual medley, respectively. Dressel notched her second-consecutive All-American honor for her seventh-place performance, earning an honorable mention in the same event last year. Fertel earned the first such honor of her career with an eighth-place finish in the 400 IM.

Junior diver Brooke Madden displayed more excellence this week in the 1-meter dive, also earning First Team All-American honors for her seventh-place performance. Madden’s third such honor in as many years is enough to earn high respect from her coaches and peers.

“She definitely belongs with the best,” diving coach Bryan Gillooly said in a release, “I’m very proud of her.”

The season-ending awards didn’t stop there for Florida.

The 400-meter medley relay team of Dressel, redshirt senior Georgia Marris, junior Bella Garofalo and freshman Vanessa Pearl notched All-American honorable mention honors for their fifth-place finish in the consolation final.

Pearl, competing in her home state, also earned an individual All-American honor for her sixth-place finish in the 200-meter individual medley consolation final. Her first collegiate honor of such prestige concludes an exceptional campaign that saw her earn SEC Freshman of the Week six times.

The Gators ended the 2018-2019 season with a very respectable 10-2 (4-1 SEC) record, their only losses coming on the road to then-No.4 Texas and then-No.7 Auburn.

A close second-place finish behind Texas A&M at the SEC Championships in February, the highest conference finish for the women since 2011, complimented a successful regular season and sent Florida cruising nicely into Austin, Texas, for this week’s NCAAs.

Regardless of what may be looked at as a disappointing team result this week, the women’s swimming and diving teams displayed brilliance and worthy performances all year, a fact that swimming coach Jeff Poppell reiterated at the week’s conclusion.

“Overall, we had a phenomenal season with great improvements throughout and several special individual and team accomplishments,” Poppell said. “We’re really looking forward to building on those things heading into next fall.”

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Follow Jack Braverman on Twitter @jack_braverman and contact him at jackbraverman@alligator.org.

Junior diver Brooke Madden earned First Team All-American honors for her seventh-place performance in the one-meter dive.

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