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UF Swimming & Diving: Kieran Smith Is The First Gator To Qualify For The U.S. Olympic Swim Team

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY BRIDGETTE UNDERWOOD

13 Gators will be representing Florida on day three of the Olympic Trials

As day two of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials comes to an end, Kieran Smith is the first Gator to qualify for the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team.

Finals

Bobby Finke started off the first night of finals at the Olympic Trials with a fourth-place finish in the 400 IM. Finke shaved off two seconds of his prelims time as he went a blistering 4:11.44.

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In the 100 fly semi’s Natalie Hinds finished fifth in the first semi’s heat of the 100 fly and tenth overall.

Kieran Smith swam a blistering 3:44.86 to win the 400 free finals. Smith never lost the lead as he achieved a personal best to qualify for his first Olympic Team. Smith is the first first-time Olympian at the trials this year. Behind Smith was Trey Freeman as he finished in sixth place and Mitch D’Arrigo in seventh.

“I just had to tell myself that I belong here and I do,” said Smith. “I think that 3:44.00 is pretty good for now, but I know I still need to do a bit more work and I know I can give more in the back half of the 400 free. For tomorrow, I feel confident and am ready for the 200 free.”

“Tonight was special and it was the perfect way to start the meet. Bobby Finke had a fantastic 400 IM to start the night off and fought hard in the final,” said Head Coach Anthony Nesty. “Trey Freeman also had a great 400 Free tonight and was tenacious in his pursuit of an Olympic berth. Kieran undoubtedly highlighted the Gators with that impeccable swim tonight. He is a student of the sport and it truly showed tonight. We are all extremely proud of Kieran and everyone on this team.  We still have a way to go for the rest of the meet, however we are confident we will all continue to focus our eyes on the ultimate prize. I am honored to coach this special group of young men and women.”

Prelims

Day two of the Olympic Trials kicked off with the men’s 400 IM. Kevin Vargas and Bobby Finke were the Gators that got the day off to a great start. Vargas was the first Gator in the pool as he raced to a fifth-place finish in the fourth heat.

Finke battled his way into a second-place finish with a time of 4:13.53, which was just .38 seconds off from his entry time in the 400 IM. With that finish he was able to grab a spot in the final as he placed fourth overall in the prelims.

In the 100 fly, Talia Bates was just .04 second off of her entry time with a 1:00.11 sixth place finish in heat three to place 38th overall. Former Gator Natalie Hinds swam her way into the semifinals of the 100 fly with a fifth place finish in heat seven of eight to finish tenth overall.

In the 400 free, three Gators, two current and one former, all made it in the final. Kieran Smith heads into the finals with the number one time of the prelims. Behind Smith was Trey Freeman, who also went sub-3:49.00 in the 400 free and picked up the fourth spot in the finals. Former Gator Mitch D’Arrigo snuck into the last and final spot in the finals with a 3:49.49 and a third-place finish in the last flight.

Tyler Watson was the first Gator to swim in the 400 free prelims, setting the tone for the rest. Watson placed third in his heat and 29th overall with a time of 3:55.37, which was .39 seconds faster than his entry time.

Kathleen Golding and Vanessa Pearl were the two Gators representing Florida in the 400 IM this morning. Golding went a blistering 4:47.94 to place third in her heat and 21st overall. Pearl, who was in a later heat, finished eighth in her heat and 41st overall.

Dillon Hillis was the final Gator to swim in the prelims on day two as he raced to a seventh-place finish in his heat and a 26th finish overall in the 100 breast.

Up Next

Day three of the trials will kick off tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET with the women’s 100 back and followed by the men’s 200 free, women’s 100 breast, men’s 100 back, and the women’s 400 free.

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