Nine members of the No. 14 Florida women’s swim and dive team competed at the NCAA Championships from March 16-19.
The McAuley Center in Atlanta, Georgia was filled to the brim to watch titans stroke through the water with ease.
The Gators swam their laps but with a missing grace, finishing in 13th place after accumulating 115 points. It is Florida’s best finish since the 2014-15 season, when the squad finished ninth in the nation with 129 points.
Florida made its presence felt on day one with an All-American effort in the 800-yard free relay. Juniors Talia Bates and Tylor Mathieu, alongside freshmen Ekaterina Nikonova and Micayla Cronk placed sixth with a six-minute, 56.98-second time, the second-fastest in program history. Nikonova was the difference-maker for Florida, completing her 200 yards in 1:43.87.
It was the first of three All-American accolades for the Gators quad-squad. The free relay team placed ninth in the 200-yard event Thursday and seventh in the 400-yard race Friday to complete their season.
Redshirt junior Maha Amer ensured Florida diving was represented on the national stage. The Cairo, Egypt, native earned a pair of All-American honors in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard dives.
Mathieu and Bates joined the All-American parade with four individual top-16 finishes. Mathieu placed 11th in the 500-yard freestyle (4:38.62) and 12th in the 1650-yard freestyle, the meet’s longest swim. Bates specialized in the shorter freestyle races, finishing 11th in Friday’s 200-yard and 16th in Saturday’s 100-yard race.
Sophomore Mabel Zavaros rounded out the Gators’ national performance with a sixth-place effort in the 400-yard individual medley.
With the women’s season now in the books, the Florida men will head to Atlanta for the National Championship. March 23-26. The No. 6 Gators will send 15 athletes to the competition, taking place Wednesday through Saturday. The meet will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Contact Ethan Eibe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @EthanEibe.
Ethan Eibe is a second-year UF sports media major and covers Gators baseball for The Alligator. Outside of his writing, Ethan is a play-by-play broadcaster for UF student radio and has spent two summers announcing professional baseball with the Alpine Cowboys. He is a long-suffering Miami Marlins fan.