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Saturday, June 15, 2024

UF’s swimming and diving teams are on the road, again, against Missouri in their first SEC matchup of the year. It’s Florida’s fifth-straight road meet before returning home.

The No. 10 women’s squad will face the No. 6 Tigers, while the No. 7 men will go up against No. 13 Missouri.

Friday’s meet begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.

Top-10 matchup for the women

While Florida and Missouri are SEC rivals, the two teams are only readying to face each other for the second time. Their first meet occurred during the 2013-14 season, when the Gators won 181-109 in Columbia, Missouri.

UF’s women’s team is led by the three-headed attack of Sherridon Dressel, Talia Bates and Vanessa Pearl. All three athletes have won six events to start the season.

Ashley McCool continues to own the 1- and 3-meter events on the diving board. The junior has won seven-of-eight events so far this season and has taken home back-to-back SEC Women’s Diver of the Week awards.

If the trio’s trend of winning continues, the Gators will have a much better chance of defeating their first SEC opponent of the year.

Coach Jeff Poppell is excited about competing against their first SEC opponent.

“It should be a good test as to where we are as a team currently,” he said in a release.

Toughest test yet for the men

The men aren’t racing against a top-10 team like the women, but Mizzou’s No. 13 men’s team will present many challenges.

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That’s why All-American swimmers Kieran Smith and Clark Beach, along with SEC Freshman of the week Eric Friese, must continue their dominant starts to the season.

Each swimmer has earned multiple wins in every meet this year.

The men have yet to face an opponent as tough as Missouri, however.

Smith understands the challenge the Tigers present in the pool, but he believes the Gators can use the challenge as fuel.

Like the women, the men have only faced Missouri once. The men won 169-130 in the 2013-2014 season.

Follow Dylan O'Shea on Twitter @dylanoshea24. Contact him at

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