WEEKEND RECAP: Florida Gator men's swimming wins SEC Championship, men's track SEC runner-up
With its first-place finish at the 2013 SEC Championship Saturday night, the Florida men's swimming and diving team not only earned the SEC title, but ended arch-rival Auburn's streak of 16 consecutive SEC Championships - the third-longest streak for a single program in SEC sports history.
The Gator men won the title with 1,408 points and had four individual championships and one relay championship.
“It’s great for the guys,” UF coach Gregg Troy said. “We have been chasing Auburn and nipping at their heels every year and we’ve been close a couple of them. I think this kind of takes us over the top from the standpoint that it gets the monkey off our back. It’s a good building point towards the NCAA meet and it’s not an end in itself but it certainly is a good conference win.”
This is the 34th SEC title for the men’s team, the most of any school in the conference. Auburn is the next closest with 18. Florida's last SEC title was in 1993, breaking a 20-year streak and having finished runner-up for 11 years. The Gators won four titles, had 10 top three finishers and 27 top eight finishes. Junior Marcin Cieslak (Warsaw, Poland) led the team with two titles: the 100 and 200 fly.
UF’s women finished third with 1,190.5 points. Georgia won its fourth-straight women's swimming and diving SEC Championship and Texas A&M finished second. The Gator women had three individual titles: junior Elizabeth Beisel won the 400 IM and 200 back for the third-straight year and freshman Natalie Hinds won the 100 fly in the nation’s best time.
Here is a recap of other Florida teams this past weekend:
TRACK AND FIELD: The Florida men's track and field team finished second in the SEC Championship, losing out to No. 1 Arkansas. The women's team finished fourth as the Arkansas women won the title.
Junior Sean Obinwa of Tampa won his first individual SEC championship in the men's 800 meters, overtaking the field in the final 300 meters to win the title in 1:48.40, a new season's best.
Junior Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) had another record-breaking day on the track, taking the SEC title in the men's 60-meter hurdles in a school-record time of 7.54. It was Lovett's third consecutive crown and his time set a new SEC Championship meet record (7.55 - Ron Bramlett, Alabama).
Junior Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) had a huge day Sunday, claiming the women's mile crown with her time of 4:35.33. The title is her second in three years. The Gator women have won three of the last four women's mile crowns (Charlotte Browning, 2010). With her two titles on Sunday and her runner-up finish in the 3,000 meters on Saturday, McGee was the runner-up for the Cliff Harper Trophy with 20.5 individual points scored throughout the weekend. The women's trophy went to LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan with 21.5 points
"I'm very proud of my team,'' UF coach Mike Holloway said. "I've said for the longest time that I think this is the best meet and if you look at the results, you'll see that. Extremely proud of our kids for lining up and getting after it and never backing off. At the end of the day, what we did is set us up well to be back here in two weeks at NCAAs and do well at the national championship meet. My hat's off to Arkansas' men's and women's teams. I really respect what they do here and to come here and finish behind them, I don't like to finish second to anyone but you have to take your hat off to people when they do and they were really impressive this weekend."
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Trailing by 13 points with 10:17 remaining, Florida used a 21-4 run to erase the deficit and earn a 67-671 victory against Alabama Foster Auditorium on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore Kayla Lewis scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds for the third double-double of her career, while junior Jaterra Bonds scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in the second half. The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Gators (16-12, 5-9), who earned their first win in Tuscaloosa since Feb. 5, 2009.
“We showed a tremendous amount of fight and I think this is a great sign of this team growing and maturing and playing the way that we should play in the face of adversity,” UF coach Amanda Butler said. “We couldn’t get ourselves to the free throw line as much as we thought we would be able to, and couldn’t get the ball into the block as cleanly as we thought we’d be able to. They wouldn’t go away."
BASEBALL: Junior Sean Dwyer hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning to lift Florida Gulf Coast (5-1) to a 7-4 victory over No. 13 Florida (3-5) Sunday afternoon. The victory gave FGCU a sweep of the three-game series at McKethan Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It was the first sweep at home for Florida since losing three-straight games to Miami in 2009. The Gators fell to 0-2 in extra innings this season.
“I want to congratulate Florida Gulf Coast,” UF head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “They earned what they got this weekend and they played outstanding. They swung the bats very well, so I don’t want to take anything away from them. With that being said, we have a lot to work on. We’ve got to get the ball down, we have to execute better on the mound and we’ve got to get better starts – we haven’t had a really good start all year long. We had our opportunities – when you have bases loaded and nobody out, somebody has to hit a fly ball.”
GYMNASTICS: The No. 1 Florida gymnastics team (7-1, 6-1 SEC) finished SEC regular-season action with a 196.975-196.075 win over No. 23 Kentucky Friday night. Sophomore Kytra Hunter, the defending NCAA event champion, equalled her collegiate-best of 9.975 for the fourth time of her career.
The Gators will have their regular-season finale againt No. 13 Minnesota Friday at 7 p.m., at the O'Connell Center.