Khader Baqlah

Sophomore Khader Baqlah had already qualified for nationals, but swam anyway, hoping to earn qualifying times in different events. 

The Florida men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams wrapped up the last meet of the season on Sunday.

The Last Chance Meet served as an opportunity for swimmers who had not qualified for nationals. Florida was not the only school at the O’Connell Center this weekend trying to send more swimmers to the NCAAs. Florida Gulf Coast, Miami and South Carolina all had hopeful swimmers trying to extend their seasons.

The swimmers who succeed in posting an A-cut time in an event during the season are invited to participate at the NCAAs for that event. In case there are not enough A-cut swimmers in a specific event at the NCAAs, the best B-cut times fill the remaining slots.

The Gators had 26 men and 10 women who were able to qualify with B-cut times over the weekend. Some swimmers, such as sophomore Khader Baqlah, had already qualified for an A-cut time, in which case they just swam in other events as they tried to qualify for more than one or two events.

Only two out of the 26 men were seniors, and only one of the women swimmers was a senior, so this meet showcased more of the Gators’ swimmers of the future, something head coach Gregg Troy liked to see.

"It was a good way to end the season and a great opportunity for our younger swimmers to get a basis for next year,” he said.

Freshman Santiago Corredor got the most qualifying times at the Last Chance Meet, as he was able to pick up four B-cut times. He got them in the 200-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke and the 400-yard IM.

For the women, junior Georgia Marris led the way in qualifying times with three. She qualified for the 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard butterfly and the 200-yard freestyle.

Coach Troy was happy with the determination and effort to finish the regular season on a high note.

"We had tremendous enthusiasm this meet," Troy said. "It was a great way for some people to finish the season.”

The postseason now begins for the swimming and diving teams. From March 5-7 the NCAA Diving Zones take place in Knoxville, Tennessee. The women’s NCAAs run from March 14-17 and take place in Columbus, Ohio. The men’s NCAAs begin on March 21 and go through March 24 in Minneapolis.

Follow Jacob McManamon on Twitter @jmcmanamon97 and contact him at [email protected].