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UF Men’s Swimming & Diving: Florida Heads Home with Auburn Fall Invite Win

Bobby Finke, the American record holder in the 1,650 free, notched an A-cut in the event on Friday evening.
Photo By: Courtney Culbreath

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY RYAN SOSIC

The Gators return to Gainesville with 521-426 victory after three days of competition with the Auburn Tigers

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 After three days of competing at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center, the University of Florida men’s swimming and diving team produced a 521-426 victory over the Auburn Tigers to conclude fall swimming competition.

The Gators were able to hold on to their Auburn Fall Invitational lead thanks to an accumulation of four event victories, three in which Florida finished with the top-three times. In total, Florida notched at least one B-cut in every event throughout Friday’s finals, adding up to an overall tally of eight for the session.

Robert Finke raced out to a huge 1,650 victory to help Florida begin their sixth session in Auburn in the correct manner. The American record holder in the event blasted a mile swim of 14:34.27, earning an automatic NCAA Championship qualification by meeting the A-standard in the event. Brennan Gravley, John VanDeusen, and Caleb Kravitz all took the next three spots behind Finke in B-cut fashion.

Eric Friese, Kevin Vargas, and Kieran Smith all took home individual wins with new lifetime-best swims in their respective events.

Friese garnered Florida’s second victory of the night with his new top swim of 42.88 to take the 100 freestyle. Adam Chaney finished behind him in a mark of 43.22 to claim a B-cut, wrapping up a successful performance in his first collegiate invite, while Trey Freeman finished in third to claim Florida’s second sweep of the night.

The Gators came back and won the next event, thanks to Vargas’ new 200 breast personal-best, as the sophomore posted a time of 1:55.90. His previous best of 1:56.62 was set in the same building last year at SEC’s.

Kieran Smith wrapped up his time in Auburn with his second personal-best of the Invitational in the 200 fly, winning the championship final in a time of 1:43.22. He shaved a full second off his previous best of 1:44.24. Dillon Hillis (1:45.71) and Jace Crawford (1:46.35) finished with B-cuts to help Florida hold the top three efforts.

Leonardo Garcia added a UF win in the platform dive, posting the top score of 361.43, a zone qualification mark. Anton Svirskyi also competed, finishing in seventh.

Florida owned the top two 400 free relays to conclude Friday competition, highlighted by the fastest combined time of 2:51.48 by the team of Freeman, Friese, Chaney, and Smith, who anchored with a split of 42.23.

Finishing in second place with a time of 2:37.28 were Jorge Depassier, Will Davis, Isaac Davis, and Alfonso Mestre.

Gator Splashes

  *   Amro Al-Wir earned a B-cut with his second-place nod behind Vargas, finishing with a swim of 1:57.63 in the 200 breast. Mateusz Dubas (1:58.34) and Dylan Brisco (2:01.34) joined the pair with fourth- and sixth-place finishes.
  *   Florida’s final B-cut of the night was claimed by Finke with his 200 back tally of 1:44.00, good for second.
  *   Isaac Davis matched his 100 free prelim time of 44.53 to finish behind Florida’s top trio in the event. Will Davis (44.66) and Depassier (44.68) both improved on their swims, good for seventh and eighth place.
  *   Posting a third-place finish in the 200 back was Miguel Cancel in a swim of 1:45.41 after an improvement of .51 seconds. Trevor McGovern and Ethan McCloud qualified for the championship heat as well, finishing in the final two spots.
  *   Four more Gators opened up the meet in the distance event, as Advait Page posted the next best swim of 15:26.99, just missing the B-standard time. Tyler Watson (15:30.06), Brendan Peacock (15:41.85), and Wesley Hyde (15:48.79) finished in 10th through 12th place.
  *   Cancel (fifth) and Mestre (seventh) joined Smith in the 200 fly. Mestre posted his third personal-best of the week after improving on his prelim swim by over a second.
  *   A pair of Florida swimmers competed in a consolation final as Mitchell Meyer posted a seventh-place tally of 45.41, .20 faster than his morning effort, and Watson claimed the top spot in the 200 fly in his swim of 1:48.74.

 Quotables

Head coach Anthony Nesty – “”I am very pleased with the Auburn performances this week. Our men have endured a treacherous fall and have proven themselves quite resilient despite it. They have remained committed to our team goals and continue to make great strides in their training up to this point in the season. We will strive to remain positive and prepare for upcoming challenging seasonal training.  We have work still to do. I do wish to greatly thank Auburn for hosting us this week.  We sincerely appreciated all of the efforts they made to make this invitational possible. Many thanks to our loyal support staff and Administration. We are all indebted to them for their abundant attention to our sport and their willingness to assist in every way possible.”

Associate head coach Steve Jungbluth – “We produced many good performances throughout the meet, and not many disappointing ones. In general, a couple of things stood out to me the most. We’ve had some guys taking their training to a new level over the past several months. They finally got to see some positive feedback in their results, and now they can see more clearly what their ceiling of potential can be if they continue on the right track. Also, we had many guys racing tough ‘doubles’ (two events in one session) and even some triples if you include the relays.  That makes for a very painful day. Not many athletes want to know what that kind of discomfort feels like. Our guys did not shy away from it, rather, they took pride in those tough line-ups.”

Head diving coach Bryan Gillooly – “This meet was Leo Garcia and Anton Svirskyi’s first away meet as Gators so again, difficult circumstances… Overall, they did really well. Leo battled it out to get first- and second-place finishes. I thought we had a rough first day. Auburn is very good, and very deep. We got some great experience over the last three days. We were able to use their platform, which was a great experience for our men. Additionally, we were able to learn some new dives as well, which we needed. Overall, it was a great experience and that’s what coming to the University of Florida is all about.”

What’s Next

The Auburn Fall Invitational concluded the fall portion of swimming competition on Florida’s schedule. The divers will now head to Coral Gables to compete in a three-day diving tournament hosted by the Miami Hurricanes on Dec. 2-4 in the last event of 2020.

After a month-long break, the Gators will get back into the water in a SEC showdown with Texas A&M on Jan. 9, 2021 in their first and only home meet at the Ann Marie Rogers Swimming and Diving Pool. Florida will then conclude the 2020-21 regular season campaign right back in Auburn in a dual meet with the Tigers on Jan. 23.