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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Utter dominance.

Those two words perfectly describe how the UF men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams handled the Seminoles on Friday in the annual Sunshine Showdown.

Just a glance at the scoreboard would tell you all you needed to know about what went down at the O’Connell Center pool, with the No. 9 men defeating No. 15 FSU 188-107 and the No. 1 women following suit with a 195-104 win over the No. 20 FSU women’s squad.

UF increased its record to a combined 13-1 on the year, with the men improving to 6-1 and the women remaining undefeated at 7-0

The men increased their win streak against FSU to nine, and the women increased their overall win streak to 11 meets.

Here’s what you need to know about the Gators last dual meet of 2019:


Double Up

Four Gators posted two wins for the women’s team.

Talia Bates, Kelly Fertel, Sherridon Dressel and Taylor Ault combined for those eight individual wins for the Gators, as Florida also went on to finish first in 13-of-14 events.

Bates owned the sprinting events, posting wins in the 50 free at 22.88 and the 100 free at 50.09.

Fertel earned victories in the 200 breast and fly events, posting times of 2:12.90 and 1:59.11, respectively.

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Dressel dominated, as well, winning the 100 back in 52.71 and the 100 fly with a stellar time of 53.60.

Ault, the fourth and final Gator to post two individual wins on the afternoon, was just as impressive. She won the 200 in 1:48.76 and the 500 free in 4:50.65.

She attributes her performance to hard work during the season and confidence gained over the course of her wins to begin the 2019-20 campaign.

“If you do really well, you can use that confidence toward your next race,” she said. “It’s in you. You know it’s there.”

The Gators were also victorious on the boards against the ‘Noles.

Elizabeth Perez took the 3-meter event for the second-straight week, posting a score of 339.08.

Ashley McCool returned from a concussion to finish second in the 1-meter, tallying a 300.09 score in the process.

“The thing I liked the best (today) was the grit,” coach Jeff Poppell said in a release. “They just continued to race. No matter what the score was at that point (halfway through the meet), we all kind of knew we had the meet at that point, they just kept racing and competing.”

The women’s swimming and diving squads will diverge to finish 2019, as the swimmers will travel to compete in the Georgia Tech Invitational from Nov. 22-24, while the divers will compete in the Auburn Diving Invitational from Dec. 17-19.


Sweep Season

The men’s team cleaned up the competition with seven event sweeps on Friday.

And when the Gators didn’t finish an event in a sweep, they made sure to paddle away with a win. UF took first place in all 14 events against FSU.

Much like the women, the men had double-win swimmers. Marco Guarente, Clark Beach and Kieran Smith collected six wins for the Gators.

Guarente topped off the Gators sweep in the 200 breast with a winning time of 2:02.00. He also won the 100 breast in 54.52.

Beach won the 200 IM in 1:48.99 and the 200 free with an impressive 1:38.28 finish.

Smith, the reigning SEC Male Swimmer of the Week, finished first in both the 100 and 200 back events. He hit the wall at 47.74 in the 100 and at 1:45.34 in the 200.

One of the Gators’ most ferocious finishes came from the arms and legs of freshman Brennan Gravley. He finished first by almost 11 seconds in the 1,000 free with a personal-best time of 9:06.64. 

Two more Gators rounded out the top trio in the 1,000 free, as Matthew Anderson and Drew Clark took second and third for Florida.

Drama on the diving boards contributed to one of the best finishes of the afternoon.

Alex Farrow, coming off of a meet against Georgia in which he failed to record a good score in his final dive to walk off with a win in 3-meter, was presented with the same opportunity on Friday.

He set up at the board, focused on his job and leapt off of the platform.

Farrow landed what he said was his best dive of the season, which was good enough to catapult him to a win in the 3-meter dive with a season-best score of 367.05.

“I had this opportunity last week where I had the last dive for the win, and this time I hit it,” he said. “Every practice I came in just thinking, one day, I’m going to be competing for that first spot. Today was that day I actually got it and achieved it.”

Sprint and associate head coach Steve Jungbluth was impressed with the maturity of his athletes, both young and old.

“Definitely you see some maturity, especially in some of the younger guys,” he said. “It’s very intimidating for a new guy coming in. Now they’re starting to challenge different guys in the competitions.”

One of the athletes he placed light on was redshirt freshman Jake Adcock, who placed third in the 200 fly sweep for the Gators. Adcock finished just 1.48 seconds behind first.

The men’s swimmers and divers will join the women in the Georgia Tech Invitational on Nov. 22-24 and the Auburn Diving Invitational from Dec. 17-19.

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

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