The No. 6 Florida women’s swimming and diving team sent the second-most swimmers to the 2023 National Collegiate Athletic Association Swimming and Diving Championships.
Sixteen swimmers and one diver traveled to the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, from March 15 to March 18.
The Florida women started off day one with All-American honors.
Sophomore Ekaterina Nikonova, senior Talia Bates, senior Tylor Mathieu and sophomore Micayla Cronk clocked a sixth-place finish with a 6:57.22-minute time in the 800-yard freestyle to earn an All-American status and 26 points.
Cronk’s anchor split of 1:43.53 minutes in the final lap surpassed Indiana and secured sixth for Florida. Nikonova swam a 1:43.83-minute time, followed by Bates at 1:44.38 minutes and Mathieu’s 1:45.98 minutes, which left Cronk to finish the relay.
Sophomore Aris Runnels, graduate student Nina Kucheran, sophomore Olivia Peoples and senior Katie Mack ended with a 1:35.25-minute time in the 200-yard medley preliminaries. The relay team ranked ninth and failed to qualify for the finals.
Florida collected four more All-Americans on the second day to rank seventh with 76 points.
Sophomore Emma Weyant was the only Florida swimmer to advance to the A-final in 500-yard freestyle preliminaries. Weyant clocked a 4:39.51-minute time and ranked eighth.
Junior Mabel Zavaros’ 4:40.54-minute time and Mathieu’s 4:40.62-minute time advanced them to the B-final.
Sophomore Anna Auld ranked 42nd with a 4:44.36-minute time. Freshman Hayden Miller’s 4:45.14-minute time stood in 47th place, and freshman Camille DeBoer ranked 65th. All three swimmers missed the qualification mark for the finals.
Freshman Zoe Dixon ranked 27th in the 200-yard individual medley preliminaries with a 1:56.98-minute time. Runnels swam a 1:57.37-minute time to rank 38th. Senior Kathleen Golding placed 44th with a 1:58.05-minute time. Kucheran picked up 47th place with a 1:58.37-minute time. None of them qualified for the evening finals.
The Florida women also missed the qualification for the finals in the 50-yard freestyle during the preliminaries. Mack ranked 27th with a 22.24-second time. Bates trailed behind in 42nd place, falling short of Mack’s time by 0.21 seconds. Nikonova placed 45th with a time of 22.50 seconds. Cronk finished in 22.64 seconds to place 50th.
Weyant landed in sixth place in the 500-yard freestyle A-final, clocking 4:38.46 minutes. She earned her first All-American title as a Gator in just her fourth meet with Florida.
In the 500-yard freestyle B-final, Zavaros touched the wall in 4:40.40 minutes to rank third. Mathieu secured seventh with a 4:41.18-minute time. Both swimmers earned All-American honorable mentions.
Nikonova, Bates, Mack and Cronk secured their second All-American honors in a relay during the 200-yard freestyle relay. The relay team swam a time of 1:27.31 minutes to claim seventh place and earn 24 points for the Gators.
In diving, Maha Amer returned to the diving boards in the 1-meter dive preliminaries. Amer scored 267.65 points to advance to the B-final.
Amer finished in fourth place in the 1-meter B-final and 12th overall with 304.85 points. Amer was titled an All-American for her second-consecutive season.
On day three, the Florida women registered a school record and landed seven All-American honors.
The morning started with the 400-yard individual medley preliminaries. Weyant ranked fourth, and Zavaros trailed at fifth. Weyant clocked a 4:05.61-minute time, and Zavaros clocked a 4:05.72-minute time. Both swimmers advanced to the A-finals.
Dixon was the only swimmer in the 400-yard to advance to the B-final with a 4:08.14-minute time.
Golding placed 26th, swimming in 4:12.09 minutes. Aild ranked 34th with a 4:14.30-minute time. Junior Amanda Ray sat behind Auld at 35th with a 4:15.41-minute time. Neither swimmers hit the qualification mark for the finals.
In the 100-yard butterfly preliminaries, Peoples touched the wall in 51.62 seconds to rank 16th and claim a spot in the B-final.
Nikonova was the only swimmer to advance to the B-final in the 200-yard freestyle preliminaries. She clocked a 1:43.93-minute time to rank tenth.
Cronk was 28th with a 1:45.75-minute time. Bates placed 42nd with a 1:46.42-minute time. Mathieu’s 1:46.64-minute time took 44th place. Mack’s 1:46.98-minute finish ranked 47th.
In the 100-yard breaststroke preliminaries, Kucheran fell just short of qualifying with a 17th place spot and a 59.30-second time.
In the 100-yard backstroke preliminaries, Runnels ranked 14th with a 51.57-second time. Runnels advanced to the B-final.
Amer placed 25th in the 3-meter diving preliminaries with 285.95 points.
In the 400-yard individual medley A-final, Weyant clocked a 4:03.50-minute time to rank third. Zavaros ranked fourth with a 4:04.08-minute time. The duo earned All-American honors.
In the B-final, Dixon landed in 11th place with a 4:06.92-minute time, also collecting an All-American honor.
Peoples picked up her first All-American honorable mention in the 100-yard butterfly. She clocked 52.04-second and ranked 16th.
In the 200-yard freestyle B-final, Nikonova ranked 13th with a 1:44.05-minute time to bring home another All-American honorable mention.
Runnels claimed her first career All-American honorable mention in the 100-yard backstroke. Runnels swam a time of 51.76 seconds and finished 13th in the country.
The 400-yard medley relay team set the school record at 3:28.36-minutes. Runnels, Kucheran, Peoples and Cronk shaved off a second and a half off their SEC time.
Florida ended the night in seventh place with 146 points.
The Gators finished their season with three more All-American honors and a school record on the final day.
In the 200-yard breaststroke preliminaries, Zavaros ended in 25th with a 1:53.48-minute time. Dixon placed 26th ending 0.14 seconds later. Both swimmers missed the qualification mark for the finals.
Nikonova ranked 24th in the 100-yard freestyle preliminaries with a 48.30-second time. Cronk was 28th with a 48.42-second time. Bates’ 48.72-second time ranked 38th. Mack was 51st with a 49.19-second time. All of the swimmers missed the rank qualifications for the finals.
Kucheran marked the second fastest time in program history in the 200-yard breaststroke preliminaries. She clocked a 2:08.30-minute time in 16th place and advanced to the B-final.
In the 200-yard butterfly preliminaries, both Ray and Golding failed to qualify for the finals. Ray ranked 29th with a time of 1:56.20 minutes. Golding clocked 1:58.06 minutes in 44th place.
Amer ranked 30th in the platform preliminaries with 223.05 points.
The finals began with five swimmers competing in the 1,650-yard freestyle finals. Weyant claimed a top-16 finish with a 16:01.59-minute time, spotting 16th place. Miller was in 23rd place with a 16:07.61-minute time. Auld was right behind her in 24th place with a 16:12.83-minute finish. DeBoer finished in 16:19.69 minutes to mark 34th place.
Weyant earned her third individual All-American honor of the week in the 1,650 freestyle.
Kucheran set a new school record for the 200-yard breaststroke with a 13th place, 2:06.55-minute time. She ended her season with an honorable mention All-American and a program record in her just one season as a Gator.
Nikonova, Bates, Mack and Cronk claimed another All-American honor in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The team clocked a 3:13.62-minute time and finished in eighth.
Florida’s women’s swimming and diving team ended the NCAA Championships in ninth place with 179 total points.
“Incredibly proud of the resilience of this group,” head coach Anthony Nesty tweeted Saturday evening, pleased with his team’s top-10 finish.
The Gators’ men’s swimming and diving team will compete in their NCAA Championships from March 22 to March 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Contact Krisha Sanghavi at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @krishasang.
Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.