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UF Men’s Swimming & Diving: Finke and Smith Pace Florida on Day One of U.S. Open

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY RYAN SOSIC

Six Gators took to the water on Thursday evening to begin the three-day event.

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Robert Finke and Kieran Smith posted top-three overall finishes in the 800 free to pace the University of Florida men’s swimming and diving team on the first day of the 2020 Toyota U.S. Open in Sarasota.

Finke led the way in the only race of the night, winning the Sarasota region with a swim of 7:53.05, the fastest time by an American this year and an Olympic trial cut. Overall, the 1,650 free American record-holder’s swim was the second-fastest time of any competitors across the nation’s nine venues.

Smith posted a new personal-best swim to earn a second-place Sarasota and third-place overall finish. As well as being an Olympic trial cut, the 500 free American record-holder’s effort of 8:00.05 set a new long-course meters (LCM) career-best by .15; his previous best was set on July 11, 2019 at the Speedo Champions Series in Gainesville.

Alfonso Mestre would wrap up Florida’s top three finishers in Sarasota, settling in behind his teammates in third place with a new personal-best LCM tally of 8:00.49. The fourth-place overall finish also secured the sophomore an Olympic trial cut.

Brennan Gravley, finishing in fifth at Sarasota and 19th overall, notched the final Olympic trial cut on the day, touching in 8:11.95. Advait Page’s tally of 8:12.41 slotted him behind Gravley in sixth-place and 19th overall.

Transfer Nicholas Hernandez-Tome was the final Florida competitor on the first day with his effort of 8:18.15. Hernandez-Tome, who will be able to compete at the beginning of the 2021-22 season after coming to Gainesville from Alabama, posted a seventh-place regional finish (31st overall).

The men will be right back in the water tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. with the 400 free. The 200 IM and 50 free will also be on the docket for the morning session. The evening portion will begin with the 400 IM at 5:00 p.m., followed by the 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast and 100 back. USA Swimming will provide a streaming link on their website for the afternoon session.

Gator Medals
Silver- Finke (800 free)
Bronze- Smith (800 free)

Olympic Trial Cuts
Finke- 800 free
Gravley- 800 free
Mestre- 800 free
Smith- 800 free