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UF Men’s Swimming & Diving: Gators Excel Throughout Second Day of U.S. Open

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY RYAN SOSIC

Florida posted four top-three U.S. Open swims, six Sarasota site top times and 11 Olympic trial cuts on Friday.

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Florida men’s swimmers excelled throughout the second and third sessions on Friday at the 2020 Toyota U.S. Open at the Selby Aquatic Center in Sarasota, Fla.

Overall, the Gators posted the top time in six of eight Friday events at the Sarasota site, as well as notching 11 U.S. Olympic trial cut efforts.

Kieran Smith started off the morning session with a U.S. Open event title with a swim of 3:48.78 in the 400 free, the 18th-fastest time in the world this year. The reigning Southeastern Conference Swimmer of the Year went on to post the top time and a trial cut in the 200 free (1:47.29), his final event of the day.

In the 200 IM, Gator Great Ryan Lochte posted the top time in Sarasota with an effort of 2:01.05. Lochte, the World record holder in the event, posted the third-fastest effort throughout the nine sites and also notched a trial cut.

Trey Freeman started off his day with a trial cut in the 400 free with a second-place site and fourth-place overall finish behind Smith with an effort of 3:51.10. In the evening, he secured another trial cut with his runner-up bid tally of 1:49.66 in the 200 free.

Robert Finke continued his strong performance in Sarasota by winning a Gator-filled 400 IM slate with the top time of 4:18.08 in the first event of the evening. Finke’s swim secured him a trial cut.

After setting a personal-best in the 800 free on the first day of competition, Alfonso Mestre set two more on Friday, first in the 400 free after hitting the wall in 3:51.93. His time slotted him behind Freeman in both the region and the entire field and was almost five full seconds faster than his previous best set at Speedo Championship series in Gainesville last July. He followed up that performance with a 200 free mark of 1:51.36, besting his previous top swim by a full second.

Morning Session

400 free
Finke (3:53.30) and Mitch D’Arrigo (3:53.30) followed behind Smith, Freeman, and Mestre in fourth and fifth regionally, as well as seventh and eighth overall. These top-five times notched every swimmer an Olympic trial cut.

Rounding out UF finishers were Brennan Gravley with an effort of 4:00.18, good for ninth in Sarasota, and Advait Page behind him in 10th in a time of 4:02.10.

200 IM
Kevin Vargas finished behind Lochte with a 3rd-place regional finish (17th overall) in an effort of 2:40.20. Florida’s next best finisher was alum Grant Sanders, who finished in 4th in Sarasota and 23rd overall.

Miguel Cancel, Clark Beach, and Mateusz Dubas all posted top-10 Sarasota swims, while Dillon Hillis finished in 12th with a swim of 2:10.92 to round out Florida’s competitors

50 Free
Enzo Martinez-Scarpe posted the top effort in the sprint event, taking the Sarasota site with a time of 22.62. His effort was good for fourth overall.

All-American Eric Friese set a new personal-best for the event, touching in 22.89. He shaved .22 seconds off his top effort set at the German Open in 2018 for a second-place nod in Sarasota.

The final two finishers were former Gators. 19-time All-American Brett Fraser rounded out the top three swims in Sarasota, hitting the wall in 23.27 (37th overall). The fourth and final competitor was Sanders, who registered an effort of 25.38.

Evening Session

400 IM
Vargas tallied his best swim of the weekend in the 400 IM. The 2020 SEC A-finalist hit the wall in 4:21.03, finishing in fourth-place overall (second Sarasota) and meeting the trial cut standard. 

Cancel rounded out the top three Sarasota finishers behind Finke and Vargas with an effort of 4:28.00. His effort slotted him 16th overall. 

In fifth, Gravley notched a new LCM lifetime best in the event, recording a time of 4:28.23 (tied for 17th overall). He notched a new personal best by a full second; his previous best was set at the TYR Pro Series in Indianapolis in May of 2018.

The final Florida finishers were Sanders (4:28.48), Dubas (4:36.25) and Page (4:39.72).

200 Free
The next best finisher behind the trio of Smith, Freeman, and Mestre was D’Arrigo with a swim of 1:51.26, good for sixth in Sarasota and 21st overall. Lochte notched an eighth-place (26th overall) nod with his effort of 1:52.05.

Nicholas Hernandez-Tome posted a 10th-place nod in his second event of the U.S. Open, while Jorge Depassier touched in a time of 1:55.25, good for an 11th-place finish in his first race in Sarasota. Sanders was the seventh Gator to take to the water in the event, finishing in 13th.

100 Breast
Freshman Amro Al-Wir led the Gators in the first breast event of the three-day competition, missing the top spot in Sarasota by just .01 seconds. His effort was good for 19th place overall. 

Hillis, who posted the second-fastest time in Florida history at SEC’s in February, notched Florida’s tenth U.S. Olympic trial cut on the day with his fourth-place effort of 1:03.13

After posting the top UF 50 free swim in the morning, Martinez-Scarpe finished off his night with a seventh-place Sarasota finish with a swim of 1:04.68.

Dubas (10th) and Sanders (13th), who owns the eighth-fastest 100 breast time in UF history, wrapped up Florida in the event. 

100 Back
Clark Beach ended Florida’s night with their final trial cut with his first-place site and 12th-place swim of 55.77. Lochte (57.79) and Ethan Beach (57.79) also took to the water to end the second day of competition.

Gator Medals (through three sessions)
Gold- Smith (400 free)
Silver- Finke (800 free)
Bronze- Smith (800 free), Lochte (200 IM)

U.S. Olympic Trial Cuts
Clark Beach- 100 back
D’Arrigo- 400 free
Finke- 800 free, 400 IM
Freeman- 400 free, 200 free
Gravley- 800 free
Lochte- 200 IM
Mestre- 800 free, 400 free
Smith- 800 free, 400 free, 200 free
Vargas- 400 IM
Hillis- 100 breast