UF Women’s Swimming and Diving: Gators Fall Short on Road Versus Georgia in Season Opener

Ashley McCool started off her senior season with a victory in the 1-meter and a runner-up bid on the 3-meter springboard on Friday morning.
Photo By: Courtney Culbreath

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

No. 10 Florida suffers its first loss of the season by a final score of 184-116 on Friday morning.

 For the first time since the fifth and final day of the 2020 Southeastern Conference Championships on Feb. 22, Florida women’s swimming and diving took to the water in SEC action on Friday morning. The No. 10 Gators fell to the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs by a final score of 184-116 at Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga.

Florida was led in the water by freshman Lain Shahboz, who would earn her first collegiate victory in the 100 back with a time of 54.86. In the 200 back, she would go on to finish in second place, touching in 1:59.84.

Vanessa Pearl opened up her junior campaign with a pair of B-cuts in the 100 (1:01.76) and 200 breast (2:13.36), while going on to post her best finish of the day with a runner-up bid in the 200 IM with a swim of 2:01.49.

Gators divers picked up right where they left off last season, sweeping both the 1 and 3-meter events. On the 3-meter springboard, Florida would take the top three spots, led by Elizabeth Perez’s winning tally of 343.13. Ashley McCool (318.75) and Emma Whitner (293.48) would secure the second and third spots, respectively.

McCool would come back and post a 1-meter victory with her top mark of 291.90, with Perez right behind her for a runner-up finish (274.24). Whitner would add a tally of 247.65, good for fifth.

 Gator Splashes

  *   In her first time in the Orange and Blue, Katie Mack posted a pair of second-place finishes in sprint events. In the 50 free, she would touch in 22.87, just 0.7 seconds behind the top time. In the 100 free, the Raleigh, N.C. native would finish with an effort of 50.24.
  *   Tylor Mathieu started off her sophomore campaign with a pair of top-three distance finishes. In the first individual event of the meet, Mathieu would register a 1,000 free time of 10:03.08, good for second-place. In her final event of the meet, Mathieu posted a third-place 500 free nod with an effort of 4:53.45.
  *   Joining Pearl with a B-cut in the season opener was freshman Cecilia Porter, who finished behind .08 seconds behind Pearl to meet the B standard in the 100 breast. In the 200 breast, Porter would also finish in fourth-place behind Pearl (2:19.13).
  *   In their collegiate debuts, Madison Kolessar and Kenady Beil each earned third-place finishes in their respective events. In the 1,000 free, Kolessar rounded out the top-three behind Mathieu, while Beil finished in third behind a pair of Bulldogs in the 100 fly.
  *   Katheleen Golding posted a pair of third-place finishes in the first action of her second collegiate season. She started with the third-fastest time in the 200 free (1:49.82) , while finishing behind Pearl (2:02.18) in the final individual event of the morning, the 200 IM
  *   The 100 back’s top finishers were rounded out by a three-way tie, with Celi Guzman, Annette Schultz, and Portia Brown from Georgia all hitting the wall at 55.99. Schultz also finished in third place behind Shahboz in the 200 back with a swim of 2:00.30.

Relay Magic

The 200 medley relay combined for a second-place finish to start off the meet with a swim of 1:39.97. The relay consisted of Shahboz, Porter, Beil, and Mack – marking the first event of their Gators’ career.

Rosie Zavaros, Pearl, Guzman, and Gabby Hillis notched a fourth-place finish with a time of 1:42.84 in the first event of the season.

To close out the meet, the 400-free relay of Mack, Hillis, Shahboz, and Golding touched in second place with a combined effort of 3:24.50. UF’s second relay of Nikki Miller, Taylor Ault, Schultz, and Bettina Boszormenyi would finish in fourth with their swim of 3:26.56.

Series History

Today’s loss snaps a two-meet win streak versus the Bulldogs and marks the first loss in a total of four season openers against the conference rival.

Overall, Georgia now leads the all-time series with a mark of 19-15.


Head coach Jeff Poppell- “I am very proud of how our women competed this morning. With 12 newcomers, it’s a different team from last year and one that we’re learning more and more about each day. Having the opportunity to compete against Georgia in the first meet of the season serves as a great barometer as to where we are presently and the significant amount of work that still needs to be done between now and the championship portion of our season. I would like to thank the SEC, our UF athletic administration, and support staff, as well as our UF Health professionals for their hard work and efforts over the past eight months in helping making this return to competition possible today.”

Head diving coach Bryan Gillooly- “The women did a great job today. Obviously, the circumstances over the past several months have been challenging, but I think we have learned a lot and have a new appreciation for things. Our goal today was to get here safely and compete. I told them to check their expectations at the door and just do their best. The fact that they dove so well was really a bonus. Now, we just need to get home safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing Miami next week.”

Looking ahead

The Gators will get right back into the water, looking to bounce back in their home opener against in-state rival Miami on Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ann Marie Rogers Swimming and Diving Pool. The general public will not be permitted to attend the meet.

The remaining 2020 slate consists of the Toyota US Open in Sarasota from Nov. 12-14, the Auburn Invitational on Nov. 18-20 and the Miami Diving Invitational on Dec. 2-4.